Health District Releases Child Death Review Recommendations
Benton-Franklin Health District PRESS RELEASE:
Kennewick, WA – The Benton-Franklin Health District has released recommendations created at a Child Death Review conducted in December. The review focused on five cases from 2013 and 2014 in which six children died from suicide and/or firearms.
“Child Death Review is a multidisciplinary process to help us better understand why children in our community die and identify how we can prevent similar tragedies in the future,” said Kathleen Clary-Cooke, Co-Coordinator for Child Death Review at the Benton-Franklin Health District. Local health jurisdictions are encouraged under state law to conduct reviews in conjunction with officials from schools, law enforcement, health care, mental health, criminal justice, and social service to identify and address preventable causes of child deaths.
“The goal is not to assign blame,” says Clary-Cooke, “but to compile information from each of the team members and determine commonalities and risk factors to the extent possible. With that information, the Child Death Review Team creates recommendations for our community in hopes of preventing other deaths.” The specific cases and information provided in the review are confidential.
Recommendations from the Suicide/Firearm review include conducting community education on safe gun storage through a campaign with local retailers, working with schools and education partners to provide suicide prevention education and postvention support, and improving the availability of mental health services for youth in our community.
Several of the recommendations have been implemented or are in progress including an upcoming event to provide free firearm lock boxes and trigger locks at a local retailer as well as creating a formalized postvention crisis team to assist schools after a death occurs.
The Health District plans to hold Child Death Reviews semi-annually with the next review planned for early summer.