Training for Child Death Officials
Recommendations from the Child Fatality Task Force
North Carolina's Child Fatality Task Force has been producing invaluable information to the state that has resulted in new policies and laws regarding everything from child safety seats to bicycle helmets to child abuse and neglect.
Most recently, they have emphasized the need for two new bills to be introduced in 2011 regarding the investigation of child deaths. One of the bills will call for standardized investigative protocols and the other will establish a regional child death special investigator. For the past several years, one person from the state has had the job of training investigators all over North Carolina in following a standard protocol in child death cases. These trainings have been given with the hope that individual law enforcement agencies would incorporate the protocols into practice. Without further training - and some financially supportive "teeth" - this has been next to impossible. Our state's police and sheriff's departments are hard pressed as it is to handle all that is already on their overfilled plates. However, it is VITAL that these child death investigations be done as the Task Force is suggesting. Otherwise, we will continue to have "unexplained" child deaths that were actually caused by child abuse. It will be well worth our while to pay attention to the progress of these bills as they are developed and go through the General Assembly. I will be keeping my eye out for them and will let you know when the time is best to write to your legislators to help educate them on the need for passage of these bills.