by Melissa Ahrens, MSW Intern
On Monday, October 1, 2007, I attended a Child Fatality Task Force meeting at the legislative building in Raleigh. The task force is led by executive director, Selena Berrier and chaired by Tom Vitaglione. There is currently an opening for a co-chair position. The task force has three committees: Intentional Death Committee, Unintentional Death Committee and Perinatal Health Committee. There are several members of the task force and also several interested parties at the meeting, so it was very well attended.
The CFTF was very pleased to announce the lowest infant mortality rate in 2006 in North Carolina’s history, despite record numbers of babies being born; additionally, overall child deaths were at an all time low, at a rate of 73.2 per 100,000 children. The committees were all given a chance to report out on their statistics, and copies were provided to all those in attendance. These statistics demonstrate that the CFTF is effective at studying child death in our state, and that they have been able to use this information to assist with interventions to prevent child fatality.
The committees continue to work on issues such as endangerment/child abuse statutes, gun safety, safe sleep awareness and breastfeeding support and promotion. Additionally, they will be undertaking new research in child abuse underreporting and investigating other states which have a 1-800# for reporting suspected child abuse, and determining if this would be an appropriate course of action for North Carolina.
The next meeting is December 3, 2007 from 10:00am-12:00pm in room 1228 at the Legislative Building in Raleigh.