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Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel 2017 Annual Report [Kentucky]


The Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel, hereinafter “the Panel”, was created for the purpose of conducting comprehensive reviews of child fatalities and near fatalities suspected to be the result of abuse or neglect. Kentucky Revised Statutes 620.055(1) established the multidisciplinary panel of twenty professionals from the medical, social service, mental health, legal, and law enforcement fields as well as other professionals who work on behalf of Kentucky’s children. The Panel reviews cases referred from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Community Based Services. The Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) conducts their own investigation into the fatality or near fatality and determines whether to substantiate abuse or neglect. The Panel conducts its external review of all these cases regardless of whether the DCBS substantiated abuse or neglect. The Panel may also review cases referred from other sources if the fatality or near fatality is suspected to be a result of abuse or neglect perpetrated by a parent, guardian or other person exercising custodial control or supervision. As a part of this external review, relevant information may be requested from a variety of sources and may include autopsy reports, medical records, law enforcement records, and records held by any Family, Circuit or District Court. The purpose of these retrospective reviews is to become aware of systemic deficits and to make recommendations for improvements to prevent child fatalities and near fatalities due to abuse and neglect. This annual report is to be published and submitted to the Governor, the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the director of the Legislative Research Commission for distribution to the Health and Welfare Committee and the Judiciary Committee by December 1 of each year as specified in KRS 620.055(10). Throughout 2017, the Panel met eight (8) times including an extended multi-day session in April and a twoday session in November. Cases reviewed were from state fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016). The Panel reviewed 150 cases comprised of 59 fatalities and 91 near fatalities. Of the 59 fatalities, 13 of the cases were reported to DCBS as near fatalities that ultimately resulted in a fatality. Three (3) of those cases were referred to the Panel from the Department for Public Health. In addition to the recommendations for 2017, this report provides an update of the progress made on the recommendations in the 2016 Annual Report. For a greater understanding of the Panel’s work, all interested citizens are encouraged to read this report and to visit the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s website ( for prior years’ reports and case summaries.