State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_143B > GS_143B-150_20

Part4B. State Child Fatality Review Team.

§ 143B‑150.20.  State Child Fatality ReviewTeam; establishment; purpose; powers; duties; report by Division of SocialServices.

(a)        There is established in the Department of Health and HumanServices, Division of Social Services, a State Child Fatality Review Team toconduct in‑depth reviews of any child fatalities which have occurredinvolving children and families involved with local departments of socialservices child protective services in the 12 months preceding the fatality.Steps in this in‑depth review shall include interviews with anyindividuals determined to have pertinent information as well as examination ofany written materials containing pertinent information.

(b)        The purpose of these reviews shall be to implement a teamapproach to identifying factors which may have contributed to conditionsleading to the fatality and to develop recommendations for improvingcoordination between local and State entities which might have avoided thethreat of injury or fatality and to identify appropriate remedies. The Divisionof Social Services shall make public the findings and recommendations developedfor each fatality reviewed relating to improving coordination between local andState entities. These findings shall not be admissible as evidence in any civilor administrative proceedings against individuals or entities that participatein child fatality reviews conducted pursuant to this section. The State ChildFatality Review Team shall consult with the appropriate district attorney inaccordance with G.S. 7B‑2902(d) prior to the public release of thefindings and recommendations.

(c)        The State Child Fatality Review Team shall includerepresentatives of the local departments of social services and the Division ofSocial Services, a member of the local Community Child Protection Team, amember of the local child fatality prevention team, a representative from locallaw enforcement, a prevention specialist, and a medical professional.

(d)        The State Child Fatality Review Team shall have access toall medical records, hospital records, and records maintained by this State,any county, or any local agency as necessary to carry out the purposes of thissubsection, including police investigative data, medical examiner investigativedata, health records, mental health records, and social services records. TheState Child Fatality Review Team may receive a copy of any reviewed materialsnecessary to the conduct of the fatality review. Any member of the State ChildFatality Review Team may share, only in an official meeting of the State ChildFatality Review Team, any information available to that member that the StateChild Fatality Review Team needs to carry out its duties.

If the State Child Fatality Review Team does not receive informationrequested under this subsection within 30 days after making the request, theState Child Fatality Review Team may apply for an order compelling disclosure.The application shall state the factors supporting the need for an order compellingdisclosure. The State Child Fatality Review Team shall file the application inthe district court of the county where the investigation is being conducted,and the court shall have jurisdiction to issue any orders compellingdisclosure. Actions brought under this section shall be scheduled for immediatehearing, and subsequent proceedings in these actions shall be given priority bythe appellate courts.

(e)        Meetings of the State Child Fatality Review Team are notsubject to the provisions of Article 33C of Chapter 143 of the GeneralStatutes. However, the State Child Fatality Review Team may hold periodicpublic meetings to discuss, in a general manner not revealing confidentialinformation about children and families, the findings of their reviews and theirrecommendations for preventive actions. Minutes of all public meetings,excluding those of closed sessions, shall be kept in compliance with Article33C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. Any minutes or any otherinformation generated during any executive session shall be sealed from publicinspection.

(f)         All otherwise confidential information and records acquiredby the State Child Fatality Review Team, in the exercise of its duties areconfidential; are not subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in anyproceedings except pursuant to an order of the court; and may only be disclosedas necessary to carry out the purposes of the State Child Fatality Review Team.In addition, all otherwise confidential information and records created by theState Child Fatality Review Team in the exercise of its duties areconfidential; are not subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in anyproceedings; and may only be disclosed as necessary to carry out the purposesof the State Child Fatality Review Team. No member of the State Child FatalityReview Team, nor any person who attends a meeting of the State Child FatalityReview Team, may testify in any proceeding about what transpired at themeeting, about information presented at the meeting, or about opinions formedby the person as a result of the meetings. This subsection shall not, however,prohibit a person from testifying in a civil or criminal action about matterswithin that person's independent knowledge.

(g)        Each member of the State Child Fatality Review Team andinvited participant shall sign a statement indicating an understanding of andadherence to confidentiality requirements, including the possible civil orcriminal consequences of any breach of confidentiality.

(h)        The Division of Social Services, Department of Health andHuman Services, shall report to the members of the Senate AppropriationsCommittee on Human Resources, the House of Representatives AppropriationsSubcommittee on Health and Human Services, and the Fiscal Research Division onthe activities of the State Child Fatality Review Team includingrecommendations for changes in the statewide child protection system no laterthan October 1 of each year. (1998‑202, s.13(oo); 1998‑212, s. 12.22(e); 1999‑190, s. 4; 2000‑67, s.11.14(a); 2003‑304, s. 6.)