U.S. child death review programs: Assessing progress toward a standard review process

Jenelle R. Shanley, Elizabeth C. Risch, Barbara L. Bonner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Child death review (CDR) programs examine the circumstances of children's deaths to gain information on how and why children die for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, and protection of children. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the 50 states and District of Columbia CDR programs, with specific focus on the use of standardized procedures and best-practice recommendations. This included assessment of which deaths are reviewed, the model of review, team membership, and standardization of data collection and reporting. Methods: Data were collected through semistructured phone interviews with representatives of the 50 states and District of Columbia CDR programs and online sources. Data collection and analyses were conducted in 2009. Results: Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have active CDR programs at the state and/or local level, and the majority use a national data collection system. However, results revealed numerous inconsistencies across programs in policies, procedures, and data collection. Conclusions: This study reflects the minimal progress that has been made in the CDR process in the U.S. since the last systematic review of the programs in 2001. The study documents substantial discrepancies among the U.S. CDR programs, affecting the consistency of data obtained by individual states and, ultimately, prevention efforts at the national level. Information from this review can inform CDR programs as they develop and refine procedures and guide future research on the effectiveness and limitations of variations in procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-528
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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