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Home > News Room > Niagara County to establish child fatality review team with Memorial Medical Center

Niagara County to establish child fatality review team with Memorial Medical Center

The Niagara County Department of Social Services has been awarded a $49,850 grant by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to develop a state-approved, countywide Child Fatality/Serious Injury Review Team.

The team will include representatives of agencies involved in the investigation, prosecution, intervention and prevention of sudden, unexpected child deaths or serious physical injuries. 

Social Services Commissioner Anthony J. Restaino said Niagara County has had an informal child fatality review team for more than a decade as a result of grant funding received in 1998.

“We are fortunate to have such a strong, interdisciplinary team with representatives from law enforcement, social services, the district attorney’s office, human service providers, first responders and the medical community,” Restaino said.  “This grant will allow us to improve the team’s effectiveness, expand the scope of services it provides and enhance public awareness.”

The one-year grant will provide funding for team training and equipment, a part-time team coordinator and a part-time pediatric nurse practitioner.  The county will contract with the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.  Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Laura Kelemen, LCSW-R, will serve as team leader.

“This coordinated effort will improve our ability to investigate the causes of unexpected child deaths and provide safety and services to surviving siblings and other family members,” Kelemen said. “Our overriding goal is to understand the tragedy of child death in order to prevent future fatalities.”

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