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AB-1737 Child death investigations: review teams.(2015-2016)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1737


Introduced by Assembly Member McCarty

February 01, 2016


An act to amend Section 11174.32 of the Penal Code, relating to child death investigations.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1737, as introduced, McCarty. Child death investigations: review teams.
Existing law authorizes each county to establish an interagency child death review team to assist local agencies in identifying and reviewing suspicious child deaths and facilitating communication among persons who perform autopsies and the various persons and agencies involved in child abuse or neglect cases. Existing law also authorizes each county to develop a protocol to be used as a guideline by persons performing autopsies on children to assist coroners and other persons who perform autopsies in the identification of child abuse or neglect, in the determination of whether child abuse or neglect contributed to death or whether child abuse or neglect had occurred prior to but was not the actual cause of death, and in the proper written reporting procedures for child abuse or neglect, including the designation of the cause and mode of death.
This bill would make the provisions described above mandatory for each county. By increasing the duties of counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 11174.32 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

11174.32.
 (a) Each county may shall establish an interagency child death review team to assist local agencies in identifying and reviewing suspicious child deaths and facilitating communication among persons who perform autopsies and the various persons and agencies involved in child abuse or neglect cases. Interagency child death review teams have been used successfully to ensure that incidents of child abuse or neglect are recognized and other siblings and nonoffending family members receive the appropriate services in cases where a child has expired.
(b) Each county may shall develop a protocol that may be used as a guideline by persons performing autopsies on children to assist coroners and other persons who perform autopsies in the identification of child abuse or neglect, in the determination of whether child abuse or neglect contributed to death or whether child abuse or neglect had occurred prior to but was not the actual cause of death, and in the proper written reporting procedures for child abuse or neglect, including the designation of the cause and mode of death.
(c) In developing an interagency child death review team and an autopsy protocol, each county, working in consultation with local members of the California State Coroner’s Association and county child abuse prevention coordinating councils, may solicit suggestions and final comments from persons, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) Experts in the field of forensic pathology.
(2) Pediatricians with expertise in child abuse.
(3) Coroners and medical examiners.
(4) Criminologists.
(5) District attorneys.
(6) Child protective services staff.
(7) Law enforcement personnel.
(8) Representatives of local agencies which are involved with child abuse or neglect reporting.
(9) County health department staff who deals with children’s health issues.
(10) Local professional associations of persons described in paragraphs (1) to (9), inclusive.
(d) Records exempt from disclosure to third parties pursuant to state or federal law shall remain exempt from disclosure when they are in the possession of a child death review team.
(e) (1) No less than once each year, each child death review team shall make available to the public findings, conclusions conclusions, and recommendations of the team, including aggregate statistical data on the incidences and causes of child deaths.
(2) In its report, the child death review team shall withhold the last name of the child that is subject to a review or the name of the deceased child’s siblings unless the name has been publicly disclosed or is required to be disclosed by state law, federal law, or court order.

SEC. 2.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.