Terms of Reference
To review the facts and circumstances related to the sudden and unexpected deaths of all children under 19 years of age in New Brunswick. To conduct comprehensive reviews of all child deaths in New Brunswick in an effort to understand how and why children die and using this information to take action to prevent future deaths and improve the health, safety and well-being of all children in New Brunswick.
To achieve this purpose the Chief Coroner has established a permanent Child Death Review Committee. Cases will be reviewed on an individual basis through the provision of or access to special expertise.
The Minister of Social Development, shall, immediately upon being notified of a death of a child in his care or having received services in the previous 12 months, notify the Chief Coroner in writing that a death has occurred and that a Regional Review into the Death of a Child has been initiated.
The Chairperson shall have discretion as to whether or not a child who has died of natural causes will be subject to a full review.
- To review the manner and cause of death.
- To comment upon relevant protocols, policies and procedures, standards and legislation as to whether they were followed and as to their adequacy.
- To comment upon linkages and coordination of services with relevant parties as to whether they were sufficient and adequate.
- To make recommendations that would lead to improvements in order to prevent future deaths or improve services to children.
- To submit a written report within 45 days of official notification from the Minister. The report shall include information as detailed in Appendix A. The Minister may extend the 45-day time period upon the request of the Committee Chairperson.
The membership of the Committee shall be as follows:
- A retired judge of the Provincial or Family Court of New Brunswick appointed by the Attorney General and/or the person appointed as Chief Coroner for the Province of New Brunswick. This person shall be the Chairperson.
- A Police Officer.
- A Pediatrician.
- A University Social Work professor appointed by the Director of the Social Work Department of a New Brunswick University.
- A representative from Office of the Chief Coroner of New Brunswick.
- A representative from First Nations
Other individuals/professionals may be invited by the Committee to the Committee’s meetings as necessary.
In order to ensure continuation of the functionality of the Child Death Review Committee, the members of the Committee in agreement with the Chairperson shall select from amongst its members a Vice Chairperson to serve as Chair when the Chairperson is not able to preside at a meeting of the Committee.
The Committee shall have access to all written documentation, including protocols, policies, procedures, standards, legislation and case records that relate to the child in question which are under the control of the Minister of Social Development.
After a review of the written documentation, the Committee may interview any individual who has knowledge or information relevant to the death of the child.
The review must not interfere with any police investigation or Coroner’s inquiry, but the review could operate concurrently.
The Committee provides advice only to the Minister of Social Development and will make recommendations through the Chair to the Minister.
Committee members who may have had previous involvement with the child or family will not participate as committee members.
Committee minutes, reports and correspondence will be governed by the Right to Information Act and the Family Services Act.
Members shall treat all discussions and information regarding individual cases in a confidential manner.
The Committee has no authority to make findings or to make recommendations regarding the conduct of individual employees which could relate to discipline of employees or their status as employees.
Committee members, individuals or professionals the Committee may call upon, will be reimbursed for expenses incurred to attend meetings, that is, travel and accommodation costs and, as required, standard professional fees. Financial resources will be provided for secretarial or other related expenses.
The Terms of Reference may only be amended by the Minister of Social Development. The Committee may make recommendations for amendments to the Minister.
Following receipt of the Committee’s report, within 30 days, the Minister shall make public the recommendations that relate to the following:
- Relevant protocols, policies, procedures, standards and legislation;
- Linkages and coordination of services with relevant stakeholders; and
- Improvements to services for children.
Within 45 days of making the above recommendations public, the Minister will make public his/her response to the recommendations.
The Minister shall also inform relevant authorities or other government departments of recommendations that are within their jurisdiction.
- Critical Issue
- Documents reviewed
- Personal interview
- Significant case history
- Sequence of events
- Critical issues
- Policy/Case practice
- Other factors for consideration