Special Efforts Being Made in Idaho to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Idaho had gone for many years without a Child Death Review Board.  Through Executive Order, the Governor established development of a Board in 2012.  The team operates under direction from the Governor-appointed Task Force for Children at Risk. Review Team activities are funded and coordinated through the Department of Health and Welfare.  Although Idaho re-established its team before the Commission report, it has been able to sustain reviews under the Executive Order.  Idaho is a national example because of the interagency collaboration for the review process between child welfare and public health. Public health is able to access comprehensive information on their child fatalities, creates a full case abstract and the shares that information with the review team. The state’s 2016 recommendations include a number that are consistent with the Commission’s including: improving coroner and law enforcement death investigations of unexplained infant deaths; using national standards for classifying deaths, encouraging more child maltreatment prevention programs that focus on parent education, strong agency coordination, improved screening and home visitation; and improving the recognition of and reporting of physical abuse and neglect. [Recommendation 2.1]

Idaho’s Child and Family Services Program (CFS) modified its policy and standardized the internal child fatality review process. Reviews now include participation from partner agencies. Review summaries and recommendations are shared with the statewide child fatality review panel commissioned by the Governor’s Children at Risk Task Force (CARTF). One such review led to revisions in the Mountain Home AFB and CFS Memorandum of Understanding, leading to improved clarity and education.