LANSING —Reforms designed to strengthen the laws concerning the review of child death cases was approved by the Michigan Senate Thursday, said Sen. Goeff Hansen, a strong supporter of the legislative package.
“We must remain diligent regarding the supervision of children that are in state care, and our standards must remain extremely high,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “When a child dies while in state care, everyone must work together to determine what happened, and preventative procedures must be started promptly.”
Hansen said the legislation will allow for a cohesive, yet transparent approach to data related to a child’s death.
“By approving these reform measures, we are protecting privacy and improving collaboration between all three branches of government,” he said.
Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Maura Corrigan has worked with the Senate for several years to improve collaboration between state agencies on child death reviews, including during her tenure as a Michigan Supreme Court justice.
The legislation would make certain information available to a court that has jurisdiction in a suspected child abuse or neglect case, in the event of a child’s death.
Other bills in the package would:
- Require DHS to establish and maintain a publicly accessible central registry, containing non-identifying statistical information regarding children’s deaths;
- Add a court representative to the child death review teams; and
- Require DHS to immediately notify the court with jurisdiction, the children’s ombudsman and the Legislature when a child under court jurisdiction dies.
Senate Bills 226-229 now head to the House for consideration.