FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Child Death Review Committee has reviewed the deaths of two children whose families were known to the Department of Social Development. The committee’s recommendations were released today by Chief Coroner Gregory Forestell.

The committee reviews the deaths of children under the age of 19, including those who were in the legal care of the minister of Social Development, or whose families were in contact with the department within 12 months before the child's death.

A response to these recommendations from the Department of Social Development will be released within the 45-day time frame established in the terms of reference of the committee.

The committee made the following recommendation in the first case:

  • That appropriate legislative amendments be made to allow full access to mental health records of children subject to review by the committee.

The committee made the following recommendations in the second case:

  • That the Department of Social Development review their policy concerning the discharge follow-up of babies born to mothers who consumed drugs or were on methadone during the pregnancy and are being followed by the department.
  • That every effort should be made to conduct a home visit to the family of these babies upon discharge.

Work continues in the examination of the child death review process with the chief coroner, the committee chair, the child and youth advocate and senior officials from the Department of Justice and Public Safety and the Department of Social Development. The chief coroner has also asked the access to information and privacy commissioner to be a part of the review and provide her input. The objective is to balance the government’s commitment to transparency while respecting the privacy of the children and the impacted families.

The Child Death Review Committee advises the Office of the Chief Coroner. The committee is mandated to review the facts and circumstances related to the sudden and unexpected deaths of all children under 19 in New Brunswick. The committee conducts comprehensive reviews and uses this information to take action to prevent future deaths and improve the health, safety and well-being of all children in the province.