State Spotlight - Georgia
Last updated: June 2012
Georgia Child Fatality Review
Office of the Child Advocate
270 Washington St. Suite 8101
Atlanta, GA 30334
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Georgia’s Child Fatality Review Program (GCFR) was established in 1990 by statute (Section 19-15-1 et
seq.). GCFR is an independent program administered out of the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate.
The program is funded by Children’s Justice Act dollars, Centers for Disease Control SUIDI grant and
state general funds. OCA has six staff members who perform duties related to Child Fatality Review.
OCA staff members are cross-trained and four of the aforementioned staff members have child welfare
duties. Georgia is addressing the issue of child fatalities that also have a prior child welfare history. Local
teams have no paid staff.
Georgia has both state and local review teams which are mandated. GCFR
is a member of the
SE Coalition on Child Death Review.
The state team is called the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel
(GCFRP). The panel is comprised of 17 members, which meet quarterly to
oversee the county child fatality review process, report to the
governor annually on the incidence of child deaths and recommend
prevention measures based on the data.
Georgia has 159 local teams with seven mandated members that are directed to meet within 30 days of a child’s death. CFR policy also requires that a prevention advocate be a member of the local team. The county coroner alerts the district attorney, who initiates the review.
GCFR teams review all injury, SIDS, unexpected or unattended physical
deaths to children who are less than 18 years old.
The main purpose of Georgia’s CFR program is to prevent deaths. The mission of GCFR is to serve Georgia’s children by promoting more accurate identification and reporting of child fatalities, evaluating the prevalence and circumstances of both child abuse cases and child fatality investigations, and monitoring the implementation and impact of the statewide child injury prevention plan in order to prevent and reduce incidents of child abuse and fatalities in the state.
Standardized data reporting forms are completed for all reviews. State
vital statistics are used to serve as a form of quality assurance
making sure that all appropriate deaths are being captured for review. The
Division of Public Health aggregates and analyzes is the data used
for the annual report to the community. GACFR aggregates and analyzes the data used for the annual report.
An annual report is produced and distributed to the Governor, Lt.
Governor, Speaker of the House and members of the
In 2009, GACFR was selected as one of five recipients of the CDC’s SUIDI pilot project which focuses on improving infant death scene investigations and CFR reporting in a multi-disciplinary setting. Georgia’s CFR findings have influenced policy changes. Statewide changes have occurred in child protection policy in that all CAN reports of children less than one requires a fully undressed exam by the worker, the state crime lab has made child death autopsies a priority, changes have occurred in graduated drivers licensing and the Division of Family has protocol to review policies, procedures and operations. Many local community changes have occurred as a result of CFR including new traffic lights and a crosswalk connecting two busy malls. Local teams also have an increased understanding of team member’s roles, better communication and working relationships. Child death investigation teams also have been formed.
Georgia has several protocols in place include those relating to CFR meetings, confidentiality, HIPAA, child/infant death investigation, and child abuse procedures, which includes a section on the sexual exploitation of children. Additionally in 2010, the Governor’s task force on abuse in the school setting completed development on recommendations for changes to the child abuse protocol and the law, mandated reporting, protocols and changes in the Department of Education rules.
The Georgia CFR Program offers training throughout the state. Trainings are specifically geared to certain audiences including the CFR teams, Child Abuse Protocol members, DFCS staff, Law Enforcement and other first responders.