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Paediatric Death Review

June 20, 2010 permalink

An advanced copy of the Report of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and Deaths Under Five Committee (pdf) is available. This time about a third of the document relates to deaths in children's aid cases.

120 deaths in the CAS section are reviewed, of those only 19 were in CAS care, the other 101 were attributed to in-home-service, defined as families that had received services in the previous twelve months. The report points out that the 120 deaths were reviewed in 2009, but not all of them occurred in that year. Spread over 18,000 foster children, 19 deaths is a death rate of 105 per 100 thousand child years, too low to be credible according to statistical analysis. It is also difficult to believe that in-home-services and foster care are in the ratio of 101:19, since that would require having over 95 thousand in-home cases. They are just not that frequent. In the past these numbers have become the subject of public controversy that brought out new information about the deaths. Maybe that will happen this year again.

From page seven of the report, here is a late step in processing a death:

13. A review by the Paediatric Death Review Committee will be completed. The members include child welfare experts, coroners, homicide detectives, paediatricians, and pathologists, who create the reports of the Committee. The report may focus on the child welfare aspects of the death, the medical/paediatric aspects of the death, or both. Recommendations will be developed and sent to the RSC, the CAS, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The Committee is independent of both the Ministry and the CAS.

There is no stage at which the families of the deceased child have any chance to participate.