Child Fatality Prevention Team

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Prevention is often a key priority of public health activities. The Onslow County Health Department is involved in numerous efforts related to harm prevention for our youth population in the community in many ways. One of these initiatives include the Child Fatality Prevention Team (CFPT).

What do local CFPTs do?

Local Child Fatality Prevention Teams (CFPTs) review medical examiner reports, death transcripts, police reports and other records for deceased county residents under age 18 whose fatalities are not due to abuse and neglect. Members discuss outcomes of services and circumstances surrounding the child's death. 

Why do local CFPTs review child deaths?

The purposes of the local CFPT are to:

  • Identify deficiencies in the delivery of services to children and families by public agencies
  • Make and carry out recommendations for changes that will prevent future child deaths
  • Promote understanding of the causes of child deaths

Local CFPTs and state agencies use CFPT review findings to determine trends, target prevention strategies, identify family and community needs, and support community agencies in their services to children and families. Local team recommendations are forwarded to the State Team, who in turn makes recommendations to the Task Force.

Who serves on the local CFPT?

CFPT members are responsible for providing information from their agency records about each child's death. The CFPT will rely on members to provide perspective and insight from the vantage point of their agencies and experiences. Each local CFPT consists of appointed representatives of public agencies, non-public agencies, and the community, including:

  • County department of social services
  • Local law enforcement agency 
  • District attorney's office 
  • Local community action agency 
  • Local schools 
  • County board of social services 
  • Local mental health agency 
  • Guardians ad litem  
  • Local health care providers
  • Local department of public health
  • Emergency medical services
  • District court
  • County medical examiner
  • Local day care
  • Parents

The board of county commissioners may appoint a maximum of five additional members to represent county agencies or the community at large to serve on the local CFPT.

What do local CFPTs do with review findings?

Each year, local CFPTs report to county commissioners their suggestions to prevent future child deaths. Similar reports may also be given to the board of health or introduced at a public meeting. Local CFPTs may not share any single family's or child's information in this report.

Local CFPTs submit review findings and data to the statewide Team Coordinator. These reports do not include names or other family or child identifying information. The Child Fatality Task Force, NC Child Fatality Prevention Team and local CFPTs use this information to form policies and laws, increase public and professional knowledge, and prevent future child deaths.

What is the CCPT? How do CCPTs and CFPTs work together?

Community Child Protection Teams (CCPTs) were established in 1991 to review selected active cases of child abuse/neglect and cases in which a child died as result of suspected abuse/ neglect. The purpose of these reviews is to improve the Department of Social Services/Child Protective Services system and other community systems which protect children from abuse and neglect. CCPT recommendations are presented to the county commissioners, local boards of social services, and state-level policy makers.

In 1993, CFPTs were established to review all additional child fatalities and make recommendations to state policy makers. The purpose of these reviews is to improve local and statewide systems to protect children. CFPT recommendations are reported to the county commissioners and local boards of health. CFPT recommendations are shared with the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team who incorporates local information into recommendations made to the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.

In most counties, the local CFPT and local CCPT have merged.  Based on the state statute, the first 10 members represent the same discipline such as law enforcement, mental health professional or community action agency. The same appointed individual represents the same discipline on both Teams. A few counties still maintain separate teams: a CCPT reviewing only abuse and neglect cases and a CFPT reviewing all other cases.

For more information on the NC Child Fatality Prevention Team, visit their website here.