2010 Georgia Code
§ 19-15-4 - Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel

O.C.G.A. 19-15-4 (2010)
19-15-4. Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel

(a) There is created the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel as defined in paragraph (7) of Code Section 19-15-1.

(b) The Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children shall coordinate the work of the panel and shall provide such administrative and staff support to the panel as may be necessary to enable the panel to discharge its duties under this chapter. The panel shall be attached to the Office of Planning and Budget for administrative purposes, and its planning, policy, and budget functions shall be coordinated with those of the Office of the Child Advocate.

(c) The panel shall be composed as follows:

(1) One district attorney appointed by the Governor;

(2) One juvenile court judge appointed by the Governor;

(3) Two citizen members who shall be appointed by the Governor, who are not employed by or officers of the state or any political subdivision thereof and one of whom shall come from each of the following: (A) a state-wide child abuse prevention organization; and (B) a state-wide childhood injury prevention organization;

(4) One forensic pathologist appointed by the Governor;

(5) The chairperson of the Board of Human Services;

(6) The director of the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services;

(7) The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation;

(8) The chairperson of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council;

(9) A member of the Georgia Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;

(10) A member of the Georgia House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

(11) A local law enforcement official appointed by the Governor;

(12) A superior court judge appointed by the Governor;

(13) A coroner appointed by the Governor;

(14) The Child Advocate for the Protection of Children;

(15) The director of the Division of Public Health of the Department of Community Health; and

(16) The commissioner of behavioral health and developmental disabilities.

(d) The Governor shall appoint the chairperson of the panel.
(e)(1) All appointed members shall be appointed for terms of two years beginning on July 1 of the year appointed and shall serve until their respective successors are appointed and qualified.

(2) All ex officio members shall serve during the time such persons hold the offices or positions specified therein.

(3) Members of the General Assembly shall serve for terms of office concurrent with their terms of office as members of the General Assembly.

(4) Vacancies in the membership of the panel so appointed shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term of office.

(f) Members of the panel who are members of the General Assembly shall be compensated for service on the panel from legislative funds in the manner provided for service on interim study committees. Those members of the panel who are not state officials or employees shall receive from funds appropriated or otherwise available to the panel for their services on the panel the same daily expense and travel or mileage allowance authorized for members of the General Assembly for service on interim study committees. The members of the panel who are state officials or employees shall receive no additional compensation for their service on the panel but may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary travel expenses which shall be payable from the department or agency of which such member is an employee or officer.

(g) The panel shall meet quarterly to review the reports of local review committees and shall meet when requested to do so by the Governor.

(h) The purpose of the panel is to recommend measures to decrease the incidence of child death by undertaking all of the following duties:

(1) Identify factors which place a child at risk for death;

(2) Collect and share information among state agencies which provide services to children and families or investigate child deaths;

(3) Make suggestions and recommendations to appropriate participating agencies regarding improving coordination of services and investigations;

(4) Identify trends relevant to unexpected or unexplained child death;

(5) Investigate the relationship, if any, between child deaths and violence between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household;

(6) Review each report from local child fatality review committees. The chairperson may call a special meeting of the panel to review any report when the chairperson has concluded the report warrants expedited review and has been requested by the submitting local review committee to make such expedited review;

(7) Provide training and written materials to the local review committees to assist them in carrying out their duties. Such written materials shall include model protocols for the operation of the review committees;

(8) Develop a protocol for child fatality investigations and revise the protocol as needed;

(9) Monitor the operations of local review committees to determine training needs and service gaps. If the panel determines that changes to any statute, regulation, or policy is needed to decrease the risk of child death, it shall propose and recommend such changes in its annual report; and

(10) Develop and implement such procedures and policies as are necessary for its own operation.

(i) By January 1 of each calendar year, the panel shall submit a report to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Judiciary Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives regarding the prevalence and circumstances of child fatalities in the state; recommend measures to reduce such fatalities caused by other than natural causes; and address in the report the following issues:

(1) Whether the deaths could have been prevented;

(2) Whether the children were known to any state or local agency;

(3) The actions, if any, taken by any state or local agency or court;

(4) Whether agency or court intervention could have prevented their deaths;

(5) Whether policy, procedural, regulatory, or statutory changes are called for as a result of these findings; and

(6) Whether any referral should have been made to a law enforcement agency which was not made.

(j) The panel shall also establish procedures for the conduct of reviews by local review committees into deaths of children and may obtain the assistance of child protection professionals in establishing such procedures.

(k) The panel shall have the authority to obtain from any superior court judge of the county or circuit for which the matter is pending a subpoena to compel the production of documents or attendance of witnesses if the county multiagency child fatality review committee has not exercised its authority to subpoena the documents or witnesses as provided in paragraph (3) of subsection (k) of Code Section 19-15-3; provided, however, if a superior court judge has previously ruled that the records or witnesses are not necessary to the fatality review at issue, such finding shall be conclusive on the issuance of the subpoena.

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