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New York State Office of Children and Family Services Announces Formation of a Statewide Child Fatality Review Team

 The Team Seeks to Prevent Child Deaths by Identifying Trends, Causes and Most Effective Prevention Methods

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services today announced the kickoff of a statewide Child Fatality Review Team, comprised of multiple state agency and local professionals from multiple disciplines who are engaged in researching the causes of preventable child deaths and developing strategies to prevent such tragedies from occurring. OCFS established the statewide team to build upon the work of 19 county and regional CFRTs statewide.
“This dedicated team will work to prevent the heartbreaking tragedy of a child fatality caused by errors or from abuse and neglect,” said OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “The CFRT will dig deeply to identify the most effective means of prevention and best practices and will work collaboratively to establish them in statewide child welfare policy and practice.”
The statewide CFRT members will work to better understand why child fatalities occur and how to prevent them. When a child fatality occurs, local CFRTs examine the events leading up to the death, closely examine any case files to review child welfare practice and any preventive services that were in place or should have been employed. They seek to identify trends and patterns that demonstrate a need for intervention.
“New York State invests heavily in preventive services for families,” said OCFS Deputy Commissioner for Child Welfare and Community Services Lisa Ghartey Ogundimu. “This team will, for the first time, bring child fatality investigators from across the state together to identify systemic issues and make recommendations on policies, practices and programs that promote child health, safety and well-being.”
The statewide CFRT will promote communication within and between state and local agencies. It will meet quarterly and identify initiatives to promote locally and across the state to prevent child deaths.
Casey Family Programs has provided technical assistance and support for the development and creation of the statewide Child Fatality Review Team.
Members of the statewide CFRT are:
CFRT Member
Margaret Bissell
Director, Bureau of Protective Practices
NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)
Melaney Szklenka, BSW
Manager, Child and Family Safety Unit
Yvonne McNeil
NYC Regional Child and Family Services Specialist
Amelia Mindel
Program Manager, Child and Family Safety Unit
Barbara Guinn
Executive Deputy Commissioner
NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Kathleen DeCataldo, Esq.
Assistant Commissioner for Student Support Services
NYS Education Department
William Davis
First Assistant to State Fire Administrator
NYS Department of Homeland Security
Patricia Lincourt, LCSW
Associate Commissioner, Addiction Treatment and Recovery
NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)
Patricia Zuber-Wilson
Associate Commissioner, Division of Prevention and Problem Gambling Services
Donna Bradbury, MA, LMHC
Associate Commissioner, Division of Integrated Community Services for Children and Families
NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH)
Cathy Hoehn, LMHC
Suicide Prevention Project Manager
Bonnie Catlin, LCSW
Division of Integrated Community Services for Children and Families
Mariyn Kacica, MD
Family Health
NYS Department of Health (DOH)
Trista Borra
State Program Manager, Office for Justice Initiatives
NYS Unified Court System
Kristen Anne Conklin, Esq.
Executive Director
NYS Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children
Henry J. Abeel, Sr.
Senior Investigator, Special Victims Unit
NYS Police
Renée L. Rider
Executive Director
NYS Council on Children and Families
Michael Wood
Deputy Commissioner, Office of Public Safety
NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services
Elizabeth Cronin, Esq.
NYS Office of Victim Services
Alicia R. Pekarsky, MD, FAAP
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Upstate Medical University
Jennifer Manganello, PhD, MPH
University at Albany School of Public Health
Robin Schlaff
Westchester County Office for Women
Darlene Reda, Esq.
Deputy Director
Westchester County Office for Women
Sara Haller
Senior Medical Investigator
Rensselaer County
John Pease
Child Protective Coordinator
Erie County
Chris Larkin
CFRT Coordinator
McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center
Roslyn Norrell-Fleming
Director of Program Development, Division of Child Protection
Administration for Children’s Services
Sara VanStrydonck
Child Abuse Bureau Chief
Monroe County District Attorney’s Office