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AB-1098 Child death investigations: review teams.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/27/2017 10:00 AM
AB1098:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 26, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1098


Introduced by Assembly Members McCarty and Arambula

February 17, 2017


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


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1098, as amended, McCarty. Child death investigations: review teams.
(1) 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. instead require the autopsy-related protocol described above to be developed by the State Department of Public Health, and would authorize the department to consult with the Counties of Los Angeles and Sacramento in developing the protocol. The bill would additionally require the protocol described above to include data collection, confidentiality, and reporting provisions. The bill would require that data collection process to include specified information about a deceased child including, among other things, race, age, and cause of death. By increasing the duties of counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the department to provide access to the protocol free of charge to any county that requests a copy.
(2) Existing law requires each child death review team to, no less than once each year, make available to the public findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the team, including aggregate statistical data on the incidences and causes of child deaths.
This bill would instead require each child death review team to, no less than once every 3 years, make available to the public findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the team, including, but not limited to, aggregate statistical data on the incidences and causes of child deaths and recommendations to prevent future deaths.

(3)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 the statutory provisions noted above.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YESNO  

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 shall may 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 that have case-specific information involving 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) (1) Each county (A)  The State Department of Public Health 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.

(2)Sharing of best practices among child death review teams is authorized and encouraged to facilitate newly established teams. Child death review teams may also consult the National Center for Child Death Review, The Child Abuse Prevention Center, or both of those centers, for direction in establishing or improving a child death review team.

(B) The department may consult with the Counties of Los Angeles and Sacramento in developing the protocol.
(2) The department shall provide access to the protocol, free of charge, to any county that requests a copy.
(3) The protocol required by this subdivision shall include data collection, confidentiality, and reporting provisions.
(4) A child death review team shall implement a data collection process that includes, but is not limited to, all of the following information about a deceased child:
(A) Race.
(B) Gender.
(C) Cause of death.
(D) Age.
(c) In developing an interagency child death review team and an autopsy protocol, team, 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 deal 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) Written and oral information pertaining to the child’s death as requested by a child death review team may be disclosed to a child death review team established pursuant to this section. The team may make a request, in writing, for the information sought and any person with information of the kind described in paragraph (2) may rely on the request in determining whether information may be disclosed to the team.
(1) An individual or agency that has information governed by this subdivision shall not be required to disclose information. The intent of this subdivision is to allow the voluntary disclosure of information by the individual or agency that has the information.
(2) The following information may be disclosed pursuant to this subdivision:
(A) Notwithstanding Section 56.10 of the Civil Code, medical information, unless disclosure is prohibited by federal law.
(B) Notwithstanding Section 5328 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, mental health information.
(C) Notwithstanding Section 11167.5, information from child abuse reports and investigations, except the identity of the person making the report, which shall not be disclosed.
(D) State summary criminal history information, criminal offender record information, and local summary criminal history information, as defined in Sections 11105, 11075, and 13300, respectively.
(E) Notwithstanding Section 11163.2, information pertaining to reports by health practitioners of persons suffering from physical injuries inflicted by means of a firearm or of persons suffering physical injury where the injury is a result of assaultive or abusive conduct.
(F) Notwithstanding Section 10850 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, records of in-home supportive services, unless disclosure is prohibited by federal law.
(3) Written or oral information disclosed to a child death review team pursuant to this subdivision shall remain confidential, and shall not be subject to disclosure or discovery by a third party unless otherwise required by law.
(f) (1) No less than once every three years, each child death review team shall make available to the public findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the team, including, but not limited to, aggregate statistical data on the incidences and causes of child deaths and recommendations to prevent future 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.