AN ACT ESTABLISHING A STATE OFFICE OF CHILD FATALITY PREVENTION WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, DIVISION OF PUBLIC HEALTH, TO SERVE AS THE LEAD AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSEEING COORDINATION OF STATE-LEVEL SUPPORT FUNCTIONS FOR THE ENTIRE NORTH CAROLINA CHILD FATALITY PREVENTION SYSTEM, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR THAT PURPOSE; DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO DEVELOP A TRANSITION PLAN FOR (I) CONSOLIDATING TEAMS THAT REVIEW CHILD FATALITIES AND (II) CREATING A CENTRALIZED DATA AND INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR THE STATEWIDE CHILD FATALITY PREVENTION SYSTEM; FORMALIZING THE NORTH CAROLINA CHILD FATALITY TASK FORCE COMMITTEE STRUCTURE AND CLARIFYING ITS FUNCTIONS; AND MAKING CONFORMING CHANGES TO CHILD FATALITY PREVENTION SYSTEM-RELATED STATUTES.
Includes whereas clauses.
Adds new Part 4C, State Office of Child Fatality Prevention (State Office), under Article 3 of GS Chapter 143B, providing as follows. Establishes the State Office of Child Fatality Prevention within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health (Division), with the purpose of overseeing the coordination of State-level support functions for the entire North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention System in a way that maximizes efficiency and effectiveness and expands system capacity. Requires DHHS to determine the most appropriate placement for and configuration of staff, subject to the specified limitations. Sets out eight powers and duties including coordinating the work of the statewide Child Fatality Prevention System, convening and facilitating a multidisciplinary Fatality Review and Data Group to advise the State Office on the submission of information and reports to the specified entities, to create and implement processes for evaluating the ability of the Child Fatality Prevention System to achieve outcomes sought to be accomplished by the system, and to report to the Child Fatality Task Force (Task Force).
Appropriates $150,000 in recurring funds for 2019-20 and $300,000 in recurring funds for 2020-21 from the General Fund to the Division to establish and operate the State Office. Effective July 1, 2019.
Sets out the General Assembly’s intent. Requires DHHS, by March 4, 2020, in consultation with those with knowledge about child fatality review and prevention, to develop and submit to the specified NCGA committee a proposal for restructuring the statewide Child Fatality Prevention System. Requires the plan to include, at a minimum, recommendations for accomplishing five specified goals including reducing the number and types of child death review teams by combining the functions of the specified entities into a single local team with different procedures and required participants for different categories of child fatality reviews, with attention given to the specified issues; discontinuing the practice of using Community Child Protection Teams as citizen review panels to fulfill the requirements of the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and using child death review teams to review active cases involving children and families involved with local departments of social services child protective services; and creating a multi-sector, multidisciplinary Fatality Review and Data Group to periodically review aggregate data and recommendations from child death review teams and child death data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in order to advise State Office staff on relevant, appropriate information and reports that should be submitted to the Task Force, distributed among child death review teams, submitted directly to relevant organizations, or a combination thereof.
Requires DHHS, by December 1, 2019, to execute any contractual agreements and interagency data-sharing agreements necessary for participation by child death review teams in the National Child Death Review Case Reporting System. Requires local Child Fatality Prevention Teams to use the Reporting System once those agreements are in place and policies and protocols have been adopted.
Amends GS 7B-1400 by amending the General Assembly’s stated intent to provide that it is the General Assembly’s intent, through Article 14 (North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention System), to establish a statewide multidisciplinary, multiagency child fatality prevention system; removes references to the State Team and the Local Teams. Provides that the purpose of the system is to assess the records of child deaths in the state from birth to age 18, and with respect to these cases, study data and prevention strategies related to child abuse, neglect, and death, and to use multidisciplinary team reviews of deaths in order to achieve specified objectives. Amends those objectives to now include: (1) understating the direct and contributing causes (was, cause in general) of childhood deaths, and (2) identifying, and aiding in facilitating the implementation of, evidence-driven strategies to prevent child death and promote child well-being.
Amends the definitions for use in the Article by adding and defining the terms Child Death Review Team, Child Fatality Prevention System, Medical Examiner Child Fatality Staff, and State Office, and by amending the term Team Coordinators to make the term plural and to define it as meaning any individual designated within the State Office to work as a Child Fatality Prevention Team Coordinator (was, defined as the Child Fatality Prevention Team Coordinator). Makes conforming changes throughout the Article to now refer to plural team coordinators.
Amends the membership of the Task Force by adding the Director of the Juvenile Justice Section, Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, Department of Public Safety, as an ex-officio member. Also allows a safe infant sleep counseling and education program representative to be appointed in lieu of a representative from a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome counseling and education program. Removes the provision making ex officio members nonvoting members. Adds that in making appointments or designating representatives, best efforts need to be made to select those with sufficient knowledge and experience to effectively contribute to the issues examined by the Task Force, and should also, to the extent possible, reflect the state’s geographical, political, gender, and racial diversity. Makes additional clarifying changes and technical changes.
Enacts new GS 7B-1402.1 setting out provisions for the Task Force’s organization and procedures. Requires the Task Force to carry out its duties through a Perinatal Health Committee, Unintentional Death Prevention Committee, and Intentional Death Prevention Committee, each tasked with addressing specified topics. Sets out additional provisions concerning membership on the committees and committee work. Specifies that committee recommendations do not become final until they are approved by a majority vote of the Task Force. Sets out the process for electing Task Force chairs or cochairs as well as committee cochairs. Establishes the membership of the Executive Committee tasked with discussing and advising the Task Force with respect to its business and administration, advising Task Force staff on issues between meetings, developing recommended policies and procedures for consideration by the full Task Force, and working to advance approved Task Force recommendations. Sets out provisions for hiring staff and sets out staff duties. Requires the Executive Committee to develop and revise policies and procedures for the Task Force’s operations, and sets out items that must be addressed by the policies and procedures. Makes meetings of the Task Force and its three committees subject to the public meeting requirements of GS Chapter 143, Article 33C; meetings of the Executive Committee, stakeholder groups, or work groups, however, are not subject to those requirements.
Amends the Task Force’s duties under GS 7B-1403 as follows. Requires the study of the incidences and causes of child deaths to also include evidence-driven strategies for preventing further child deaths, abuse, and neglect; removes the requirement to establish a profile of child deaths and expands upon the items that must be included in the study. Replaces the requirement of developing a system for multidisciplinary review of child deaths with advising the State Office with respect to the operation of an effective statewide system for such review as well as the implementation of evidence-driven strategies to prevent child deaths, abuse, and neglect. Expands upon the reports that are to be received and considered to include those from the State Office. Adds the duty of developing recommendations for changes in law, policy, rules, or the implementation of evidence-driven prevention strategies to be included in the annual report.
Amends the duties of the State Team under GS 7B-1405 by removing the duties of periodically assessing the operations of the multidisciplinary child fatality prevention system; making recommendations for changes as needed; and working with the Team Coordinator to develop guidelines for selecting child deaths to receive detailed, multidisciplinary death reviews by Local Teams. Makes additional clarifying and technical changes.
Amends GS 7B-1411 by making DHHS, instead of the Division, responsible for developing training materials for Local Teams.
Amends GS 7B-1412 by expanding upon the entities who are to receive the task Force’s annual report and adds to the items that are to be included in the report.
Amends GS 7B-1413 by adding that the State Office must have access to all medical records, hospital records, and records maintained by the State, a county, or any local agency as necessary to carry out the purpose of Part 4C.
Amends GS 7B-1414 by adding that, to the extent funds are available, the Task Force chairs must work with the DHHS Secretary to hire or designate staff or consultants to assist the Task Force and its committees. Makes conforming changes.
Amends GS 143B-150.20 by placing the State Child Fatality Review team within DHHS instead of under the Division. Makes conforming changes.
Effective December 1, 2019.