Missouri Child Fatality Review Program
The Missouri Child Fatality Review Program (CFRP) is a county-based initiative that encourages an improved community understanding and response to child fatalities from all causes. The State CFRP panel is made up of members from child protection disciplines who have the opportunity to respond immediately to an identified risk or circumstance by means of further investigation, providing services and initiating prevention strategies.
Missouri’s CFRP has been a national model for child-death review in other states and is a true expression of child advocacy.
What is the purpose of the CFRP?
While many natural-cause child deaths may not be preventable, most injury and abuse-related deaths are. The purpose of the CFRP is to review child fatalities, learn from them, and identify strategies for preventing child fatalities. The data collected by the individual panels becomes part of a statewide database that identifies trends, patterns and spikes that may require a response beyond the community level. Information may also become part of national and international research efforts to identify strategies for preventing child fatalities.
Each CFRP panel and its members are advocates for the health and welfare of every child in their community; including the reasonable preservation of privacy for the child and family members. Specific case details discussed by the CFRP panel are never discussed outside of the panel’s review. CFRP panel reviews are not open to the public.
How are child fatalities reviewed?
Missouri state law (RSMo 210.192) requires that any child (ages 0- 17) who dies from any cause be reported to the coroner/medical examiner, who is required to follow specific procedures concerning child fatalities. This includes:
- A mandatory autopsy must be completed by a state-certified and designated child-death pathologist of all infant deaths, from one week to one year of age, that occurred suddenly and unexplained. This is conducted to assist, along with the investigation and child’s history in determining the cause of the fatality. Preliminary results may be available in a few days; however, the final report may take several weeks.
- In all other child deaths, the coroner/medical examiner is required to consult with a child-death pathologist regarding the circumstances of death. In some cases, an autopsy will be ordered.
- If the child fatality meets certain criteria, the circumstances surrounding the death will be reviewed by the county CFRP panel. Facts regarding the death are discussed by the professionals who serve on the panel. The represented agencies on the panel have the responsibility to contribute information that will lead to a more accurate determination of the cause of death, provide identified services to the family and/or community, and try to identify ways to prevent further deaths from occurring. All CFRP information is confidential.