Child Fatality Prevention System

The North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention System (CFP System) was created by General Statue in 1991 and consists of a three-tier system: two types of local child fatality review teams in every county, the State Child Fatality Prevention Team, and the NC Child Fatality Task Force. The system’s structure and authority are derived from Article 14 of the NC Juvenile Code

Participants in the CFP System work to study and understand causes of childhood deaths, advance a communitywide approach to the prevention of child fatalities and child maltreatment, and identify gaps in systems designed to prevent child maltreatment and death. A primary purpose of the CFP System is to make and implement recommendations that will support the safe and healthy development of children and prevent future child deaths and maltreatment. Recommendations stemming from system groups are directed to various entities ranging from boards of county commissioners, local and state-level social services leaders, the governor, and the North Carolina General Assembly.  

State-level staff support for this system is in four different areas of NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS): 

  • Local Child Fatality Prevention Teams (CFPTs):  Division of Child and Family Well-Being 

  • Local Community Child Protection Teams (CCPTs): Division of Social Services 

  • State Child Fatality Prevention Team: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and Division of Public Health 

  • Child Fatality Task Force: Office of the Secretary  

North Carolina’s Child Fatality Prevention Three-Tier System Details 

The two types of local review teams in every county are: 

  1. Local Community Child Protection Teams External link (CCPTs) which review cases in which a fatality resulted from suspected abuse or neglect and there has been involvement with social services. 

  2. Local Child Fatality Prevention Teams (CFPTs) review all other child deaths not reviewed by CCPTs.  

In most counties, these two types of local teams meet in a merged capacity.

The State Child Fatality Prevention Team External link (State Team) reviews deaths of children attributed to child abuse or neglect or when the decedent (deceased) is reported as abused or neglected as well as some other deaths that are investigated by the statewide Medical Examiner System. 

The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force External link (Task Force) is a legislative study commission that examines and reports on child death data and makes policy recommendations to the governor and General Assembly. The Task Force does not conduct individual reviews of child deaths although its policy work, which has led to many legislative accomplishments, External link is informed by recommendations stemming from the  individual child death reviews. 

Note: There is also a State Child Fatality Review Team that reviews certain child maltreatment-related fatalities and utilizes members from local review teams. Reviews conducted by this team are coordinated through staff at the NC Division of Social Services. Statutory authority for this team is via G.S. 143B-150.20 External link which is different from the Article 14 authority for the rest of the system.

Local Child Fatality Prevention Teams 

Local Child Fatality Prevention Teams (CFPTs) were established in 1993 to review all “additional” child fatalities and make recommendations to state policy makers. The purpose of these reviews is to improve local and statewide systems to better protect children. CFPT recommendations are shared with local county commissioners, local boards of health, and the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team, which incorporates local information into recommendations made to the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.  

While a few counties still maintain separate CCPT and CFPT teams, in most counties the local CFPT and local CCPT have merged. Based on the state statute, 10 appointed members represent the same disciplines on each team.  

Local CFPTs review medical examiner reports, death transcripts, police reports, and other records for deceased county residents under age 18 whose fatalities are not due to abuse and neglect. Members discuss outcomes of services and circumstances surrounding the child’s death and make recommendations as needed.  

The purposes of the local CFPTs are to:  

  1. identify deficiencies in the delivery of services to children and families by public agencies; 

  2. make and carry out recommendations for changes that will prevent future child deaths; and 

  3. promote understanding of the causes of child deaths. 

Local CFPTs and state agencies use CFPT review findings to determine trends, target prevention strategies, identify family and community needs, and support community agencies in their services for children and families. Local team recommendations are forwarded to the state team in order to make recommendations to the task force. 

The goals of the local CFPTs are to: 

  1. Involve diverse agencies and disciplines- orient, inform, and involve professionals who serve children 

  2. Collect data- collect uniform, retrievable data on all child deaths 

  3. Share results- link child death patterns and trends with agencies and groups that can create and support strategies to prevent child deaths and identify system problems and make recommendations 

  4. Act to prevent child deaths- launch state and local action to prevent child deaths 

  5. Reduce the number and rate of child deaths 

Local CFPT Support Tools and Resources 


North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics 
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner External link 

CFPT Report Forms 

2-page CFPT fillable report form 
2-page CFPT fillable report form
Tracking Form for sub-committee reviews (CFPTs with more than 30 deaths per year)
Local CFPT Resource Page 
Local CFPT Procedural Manual 


Kerry Young, Local CFPT Program Coordinator 
Division of Child and Family Well-Being, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services 
Phone: 919-707-5623