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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

Child Fatality Review team recently re-established here
Houston County Courier


Courtesy/Diana Smith RN Department of State Health Services Public Health Nurse Crockett Field Office The death of a child is a tragic event not just the family but for the whole community. Many people spend a lifetime asking “why?” when a child dies in a way that could have been prevented. Understanding why children die is the first step in a child fatality review, a community-based process of collecting, analyzing and acting upon child death information that is practiced in 206 Texas counties and across the nation. Targeted prevention is the second step. By collecting information and reviewing the circumstances involved in child deaths, risks specific to the community are identified. This gives insight into where education and resources need to be directed to make the community a safer place for children. How big of a problem is child death in Houston and Trinity counties? The statistics might not appear great, but if you ask a parent, neighbor, or teacher who cherished a child that has died, the costs are enormous. Between 2000 and 2010, 31 children died in Houston County, eight in 2000. During the same period, 24 children died in Trinity County. For a review to be successful, key players involved in the safety, health and protection of children are asked to be part of the multi-disciplinary CFRT. In a child fatality review, team members are from disciplines identified by the Texas Family Code to serve on a team. They come together to share, collect and process information on local child deaths. The goal of this review is understandingwhat risks exist, what deaths were preventable and how to prevent future deaths. Ideally the following entities should be represented from each county, as well as ad hoc members when need ed: Criminal prosecutor of child abuse, Child Protective Services professional, sheriff, neonatologist, justice of the peace or medical examiner, child advocate, police chiefs of all jurisdictions, chief juvenile probation officer, pediatrician familiar with child abuse, child abuse prevention specialist, child educator, EMS, child mental health provider, domestic violence service provider, public health professional, TxDOT traffic safety specialist, Dept. of Public Safety representative and SIDS service provider. In rural areas, such as Houston and Trinity counties, officials often do not have access to those specific disciplines.. The Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT) that serves Houston and Trinity Counties was re-established on June 28. There were 17 team members present from both counties. The appointed chairperson is Reggie Olive, local coordinator, Diana Smith, RN; and data entry, Lesia Rounsavall. State CFRT Coordinator Susan Rodriguez delivered a presentation on this public health activity at the June meeting. The second meeting of the CRFT was held Wednesday, Aug. 22. Confidentiality statements and an interagen cy agreement were signed by all members, as well as the adoption of the Houston/Trinity County CFRT mission/Vision Statement: “The Houston/Trinity County Child Fatality Review Team believes that the death of a child is a community responsibility. As such the CFRT will conduct a comprehensive and multidisciplinary review to better understand how children die. The findings of the CFRT will be utilized to take action to prevent other deaths and improve the health, safety, and well-being of our children.”


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