Child Death

Information for families

The death of a child is always tragic. This page explains the role of Child Death Review Processes as they take place within North Yorkshire and York. It explains how you may be involved, if you choose to do so later.

What is a review and why is it needed?

Government guidance requires every Local Safeguarding Children Board to review the death of every child (up to the age of 18 years), in the area. This is because the government believes that it may help other children and families in the future.

How does a Review happen?

A group of professionals, the Child Death Overview Panel, meets regularly to discuss every child resident in North Yorkshire and York that has died. This is so that we can learn more about the circumstances and manner of child deaths and make sure that anything that can help prevent future deaths of children can be done. Sadly many deaths are not preventable, but we do need to consider all deaths to get an overall understanding.

There are similar review groups that meet throughout England so that we can see the complete picture and lessons can be learned both locally and nationally.

Who will be involved?

Representatives from all the different organisations that may have contact with children, such as doctors and other health professionals, social care and education professionals and the police will contribute to the review. They are known as a Child Death Overview Panel.

What information will be discussed in the process?

Information about each child and the circumstances of their death must be collected from records help by hospitals, local health services, schools, police, children’s services or other agencies whose staff knew the child. This information is then summarised into a short anonymised report for the panel.

The Child Death Overview Panel must consider the report to be clear what caused the child’s death and what support and treatment was offered to the child and their family up to the death; and also what support was offered after that time. The names of the child and any family members are removed from the report so that the panel members focus on general issues.

The panel can make recommendations to improve how things are done for children and their families. These recommendations will be shared with the local health trusts, children’s services and the police, as well as specialist agencies such as the fire service or traffic authorities, as appropriate.

What does this mean for you?

As part of this process the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) has been informed of your child’s death. Our first concern is that you and your family are offered any support we are able to give you. We also want to ensure that you know we are required to do a review and that the circumstances of your child’s death to be included at a future meeting of a Child Death Overview Panel.

It may take several months as we cannot do this until all other enquiries are completed such as the work of the pathologist and coroner, or any legal processes.

How you can contribute to the review

It is not possible for parents or family representatives to attend the Panel meetings. This is because information presented is anonymous and confidential. The panel looks at general issues rather than specifics.

However your views and opinions will be considered if this is your wish. You may either:

  • write to the Panel and your letter will be shared with members, or
  • ask any professional involved with you or your family recently to forward your views in their report.

We would ask that you inform us – either now or later – if you would like your views presenting to the panel. We can be contacted at the address at the back of this leaflet. If you do wish to be involved, we will acknowledge your interest and then contact you to find out how you would like your views presenting to the panel.

All the information we gather will be treated with the deepest respect and in strictest confidence. We promise that none of our findings, recommendations or reports will name your child or family.

The Child Death Overview Panel can be contacted via the CDOP Co-ordinator at:

North Yorkshire LSCB
Room SB114
South Block
County Hall
Northallerton
DL7 8AE

Phone: 01609 797167

E mail: cdop@northyorks.gov.uk

Further information about the role of CDOP can be found on the North Yorkshire LSCB website (www.safeguardingchildren.co.uk) and the City of York LSCB website (www.yor-ok.org.uk/saferchildrenyork); Government guidance is contained in Chapter 5, Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015.

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