(April 30) – A bill that will help prevent child fatalities by reforming the fatality review processes passed the House Public Health & Human Services Committee today by a vote of eight to five.
SB13-255, sponsored in the House by Reps. Jenise May (D-Aurora) and Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), makes numerous changes to the current child fatality review system by requiring local public health agencies to establish local or regional child fatality prevention review teams. The local review teams are required to review fatalities of children up to the age of 17 and to operate under the supervision of the Department of Public Health and Environment.
“Throughout this process, all stakeholders were heard,” Rep. Singer said. “We sat down and worked with a broad coalition to make sure we weren’t leaving any stone unturned. We must remember there are human faces behind all of these deaths. These are little kids who never had the chance, and this bill will help make sure those kids do have a chance moving forward.”
The bill will help prevent child fatalities through policy recommendations based on strengths and weaknesses found in systemic evaluations of child fatalities across the state.
“Every year, we hear of a tragic death in the child welfare system that could have been prevented,” Rep. May said. “Since 2003 we have seen child fatalities increase by 35 percent. Why? We have to do everything we can to get that number down. Even though we have made recent improvements in the system, this policy will improve the system and improve outcomes.”