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Governor Perdue Signs Legislation Bringing Greater Accountability To The Process Of Reviewing Suspicious Child Deaths in Georgia

Friday, May 30, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law today legislation that will bring more accountability to the process our state uses to review suspicious child deaths in hopes of eliminating tragic and preventable deaths in the future.

"The safety and protection of Georgia's children is a key element of a healthier and safer Georgia," said Governor Perdue. "By promoting stronger state and local review of suspicious child deaths, this legislation promises a more meaningful examination of those circumstances as it aims to help us achieve our goal of eliminating all preventable child deaths."

House Bill 479 designates the local district attorneys as the chairpersons of local child fatality review committees. The chairpersons will ensure that the local committees convene on a regular basis to address child deaths in their communities and fulfill their statutory obligation to identify how similar deaths can be prevented in the future.

Separately, the legislation also: (1) authorizes Superior Court judges to order the participation of required agencies on local panels to ensure that their knowledge or expertise is included in the review process; (2) authorizes the statewide Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel to obtain subpoenas to compel the production of documents or witnesses if the county child fatality review process warrants additional information and investigation; and (3) includes Georgia's Director of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addictive Diseases on the statewide panel to ensure that a complete review of mental health issues is included during the review process.