Gov. Beshear creates panel to review abuse and death cases through executive order

07/16/2012 03:45 PM

Gov. Steve Beshear used an executive order to create an external panel to review child death and near death cases after a legislative proposal for such a panel failed in this spring’s General Assembly.

The Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel will have 17 members to review the circumstances of children who die — as well as near fatalities — that are determined to be the result of child abuse or neglect, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“The death of any child for any reason is devastating to families and communities. But when a child dies or is critically injured because of abuse or neglect, we must carefully review the practices of all government entities involved to make sure that our system performed as it was supposed to – and if not, that review allows us to take disciplinary action,” Beshear said in a press release.

The Governor’s office says the panel will be attached to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet for staff and administrative purposes. Its members will include law enforcement and social service workers, as well as representatives of all three branches of state government.

The group will meet quarterly to determine how child death or near death cases happened, and recommend changes to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

“The Cabinet welcomes a review of these cases by this professional panel and looks forward to the recommendations it will make that can guide improvements in our investigative process. Those recommendations will also be useful to to all agencies and stakeholders involved with these tragedies,” said CHFS Secretary Audrey Haynes in the press release.

Members of the panel will include:

• The co-chairs of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare Committee of the Kentucky General Assembly — Republican Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville and Democratic Rep. Tom Burch of Louisville, who will serve as an ex-officio non-voting members;
• The commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services, who will serve as an ex officio non-voting member;
• A judge participating in the Model Court Program to be appointed by the Kentucky Chief Justice, who will serve as an ex officio non-voting member;
• A pediatrician from the University of Kentucky’s Department of Pediatrics’ Medical Home Clinic that provides health care services to children served by the Commission on Children with Special Health Care Needs to be selected by the chair of the Board of Commissioners of the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs;
• A board-certified child abuse pediatrician from the University of Louisville’s Forensic Medicine program to be selected by Dean of the University of Louisville School of Medicine;
• The State Medical Examiner or designee;
• A court-appointed special advocate (CASA) program director to be selected by the Attorney General from a list of three names provided by the Kentucky CASA Association;


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