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2001 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 6, No. 3
June 2001

Lessons Learned

Based on their reviews of many child fatalities, members of the State Child Fatality Review Team have these suggestions:

  • Encourage your agency to put a crisis management plan in place before a tragedy happens. This can make dealing with the media, conducting the CPS investigation, and supporting each other easier.

  • Work closely with the police, medical examiner, EMS, and other agencies looking into the fatality. Recognize the role DSS plays and what it has to contribute to efforts to understand the death.

  • Conduct your own investigation into safety of the surviving children. Do not rely solely on the conclusions reached by other agencies investigating the event, especially in cases of SIDS or layovers.

  • Balance the need to be sensitive to surviving family members with the need to get a full picture of whether there is risk to other children in the home.

  • Appreciate the importance of your assessment of risk to other children. Pay special attention to indications of domestic violence or alcohol/substance abuse.

  • Gather comprehensive school, medical, mental health, and substance abuse information during your assessment of the safety of surviving siblings.