By:  Zaffirini, Rosson                                S.B. No. 1485
                                 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
                                        AN ACT
    1-1  relating to the child fatality review team committee and child
    1-2  fatality review teams.
    1-4        SECTION 1.  Chapter 264, Family Code, as added by H.B. No.
    1-5  655, Acts of the 74th Legislature, Regular Session, 1995, is
    1-6  amended by adding Subchapter F to read as follows:
    1-7                 SUBCHAPTER F.  CHILD FATALITY REVIEW
    1-8        Sec. 264.501.  DEFINITIONS.  In this subchapter:
    1-9              (1)  "Bureau of vital statistics" means the bureau of
   1-10  vital statistics of the Texas Department of Health.
   1-11              (2)  "Child" means a person younger than 18 years of
   1-12  age.
   1-13              (3)  "Committee" means the child fatality review team
   1-14  committee.
   1-15              (4)  "Council" means the Children's Trust Fund of Texas
   1-16  Council.
   1-17              (5)  "Department" means the Department of Protective
   1-18  and Regulatory Services.
   1-19              (6)  "Health care provider" means any health care
   1-20  practitioner or facility that provides medical evaluation or
   1-21  treatment, including dental and mental health evaluation or
   1-22  treatment.
   1-23              (7)  "Meeting" means an in-person meeting or a meeting
   1-24  held by telephone or other electronic medium.
    2-1              (8)  "Preventable death" means a death that may have
    2-2  been prevented by reasonable medical, social, legal, psychological,
    2-3  or educational intervention.  The term includes the death of a
    2-4  child from:
    2-5                    (A)  intentional or unintentional injuries;
    2-6                    (B)  medical neglect;
    2-7                    (C)  lack of access to medical care;
    2-8                    (D)  neglect and reckless conduct, including
    2-9  failure to supervise and failure to seek medical care; and
   2-10                    (E)  premature birth associated with any factor
   2-11  described by Paragraphs (A) through (D).
   2-12              (9)  "Review" means a reexamination of information
   2-13  regarding a deceased child from relevant agencies, professionals,
   2-14  and health care providers.
   2-15              (10)  "Review team" means a child fatality review team
   2-16  established under this subchapter.
   2-17              (11)  "Unexpected death" includes a death of a child
   2-18  that, before investigation:
   2-19                    (A)  appears to have occurred without
   2-20  anticipation or forewarning; and
   2-21                    (B)  was caused by trauma, suspicious or obscure
   2-22  circumstances, sudden infant death syndrome, abuse or neglect, or
   2-23  an unknown cause.
   2-24        Sec. 264.502.  COMMITTEE.  (a)  The child fatality review
   2-25  team committee is composed of:
   2-26              (1)  a person appointed by and representing the state
   2-27  registrar for the bureau of vital statistics;
    3-1              (2)  a person appointed by and representing the
    3-2  director of protective services for families and children of the
    3-3  department;
    3-4              (3)  a person appointed by and representing the
    3-5  director of the bureau of epidemiology of the Texas Department of
    3-6  Health;
    3-7              (4)  a person appointed by and representing the
    3-8  executive director of the council; and
    3-9              (5)  individuals selected under Subsection (b).
   3-10        (b)  The members of the committee who serve under Subsections
   3-11  (a)(1) through (4) shall select the following additional committee
   3-12  members:
   3-13              (1)  a criminal prosecutor involved in prosecuting
   3-14  crimes against children;
   3-15              (2)  a sheriff;
   3-16              (3)  a justice of the peace;
   3-17              (4)  a medical examiner;
   3-18              (5)  a police chief;
   3-19              (6)  a pediatrician experienced in diagnosing and
   3-20  treating child abuse and neglect;
   3-21              (7)  a child educator;
   3-22              (8)  a child mental health provider;
   3-23              (9)  a public health professional;
   3-24              (10)  a child protective services specialist;
   3-25              (11)  a sudden infant death syndrome family service
   3-26  provider;
   3-27              (12)  a neonatologist;
    4-1              (13)  a child advocate; and
    4-2              (14)  a chief juvenile probation officer.
    4-3        (c)  Members of the committee selected under Subsection (b)
    4-4  serve two-year terms that expire on February 1 of each
    4-5  even-numbered year.
    4-6        (d)  Members selected under Subsection (b) must reflect the
    4-7  geographical, cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of the state.
    4-8        (e)  An appointment to a vacancy on the committee shall be
    4-9  made in the same manner as the original appointment.
   4-10        (f)  Members of the committee shall select a presiding
   4-11  officer from the members of the committee.
   4-12        (g)  The presiding officer of the committee shall call the
   4-13  meetings of the committee, which shall be held at least quarterly.
   4-14        (h)  A member of the committee is not entitled to
   4-15  compensation for serving on the committee but is entitled to
   4-16  reimbursement for the member's travel expenses as provided in the
   4-17  General Appropriations Act.  Reimbursement under this subsection
   4-18  for a person serving on the committee under Subsection (a)(1) or
   4-19  (3) shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Texas Department
   4-20  of Health.  Reimbursement for other persons serving on the
   4-21  committee shall be paid equally from funds appropriated to the
   4-22  department and funds appropriated to the council.
   4-23        Sec. 264.503.    PURPOSE AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEE AND
   4-24  SPECIFIED STATE AGENCIES.  (a)  The purpose of the committee is to:
   4-25              (1)  develop an understanding of the causes and
   4-26  incidence of child deaths in this state;
   4-27              (2)  identify procedures within the agencies
    5-1  represented on the committee to reduce the number of preventable
    5-2  child deaths; and
    5-3              (3)  promote public awareness and make recommendations
    5-4  to the governor and the legislature for changes in law, policy, and
    5-5  practice to reduce the number of preventable child deaths.
    5-6        (b)  To ensure that  the committee achieves its purpose, the
    5-7  department, the council, and the Texas Department of Health shall
    5-8  perform the duties specified by this section.
    5-9        (c)  The department shall:
   5-10              (1)  recognize the creation and participation of review
   5-11  teams;
   5-12              (2)  promote and coordinate training to assist the
   5-13  review teams in carrying out their duties;
   5-14              (3)  assist the committee in developing model protocols
   5-15  for:
   5-16                    (A)  the reporting and investigating of child
   5-17  fatalities for law enforcement agencies, child protective services,
   5-18  justices of the peace and medical examiners, and other
   5-19  professionals involved in the investigations of child deaths;
   5-20                    (B)  the collection of data regarding child
   5-21  deaths; and
   5-22                    (C)  the operation of the review teams; and
   5-23              (4)  develop and implement procedures necessary for the
   5-24  operation of the committee.
   5-25        (d)  The council shall promote education of the public
   5-26  regarding the incidence and causes of child deaths, the public role
   5-27  in preventing child deaths, and specific steps the public can
    6-1  undertake to prevent child deaths.  The committee shall enlist the
    6-2  support and assistance of civic, philanthropic, and public service
    6-3  organizations in the performance of the duties imposed under this
    6-4  subsection.
    6-5        (e)  The Texas Department of Health shall:
    6-6              (1)  collect data under this subchapter and coordinate
    6-7  the collection of data under this subchapter with other data
    6-8  collection activities; and
    6-9              (2)  perform annual statistical studies of the
   6-10  incidence and causes of child fatalities using the data collected
   6-11  under this subchapter.
   6-12        (f)  The committee shall issue annual reports on the
   6-13  committee's activities, including findings and recommendations
   6-14  relating to each purpose and duty of the committee described by
   6-15  this section.  Not later than December 1 of each even-numbered
   6-16  year, the committee shall publish the report and submit a copy of
   6-17  the report to the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the
   6-18  house of representatives.
   6-19        Sec. 264.504.  MEETINGS OF COMMITTEE.  (a)  Except as
   6-20  provided by Subsections (b), (c), and (d), meetings of the
   6-21  committee are subject to the open meetings law, Chapter 551,
   6-22  Government Code, as if the committee were a governmental body under
   6-23  that chapter.
   6-24        (b)  Any portion of a meeting of the committee during which
   6-25  the committee discusses an individual child's death is closed to
   6-26  the public and is not subject to the open meetings law, Chapter
   6-27  551, Government Code.
    7-1        (c)  Information identifying a deceased child, a member of
    7-2  the child's family, a guardian or caretaker of the child, or an
    7-3  alleged or suspected perpetrator of abuse or neglect of the child
    7-4  may not be disclosed during a public meeting.
    7-5        (d)  Information regarding the involvement of a state or
    7-6  local agency with the deceased child or another person described by
    7-7  Subsection (c) may not be disclosed during a public meeting.
    7-8        (e)  The committee may conduct an open or closed meeting by
    7-9  telephone conference call or other electronic medium.  A meeting
   7-10  held under this subsection is subject to the notice requirements
   7-11  applicable to other meetings.  The notice of the meeting must
   7-12  specify as the location of the meeting the location where meetings
   7-13  of the committee are usually held.  Each part of the meeting by
   7-14  telephone conference call that is required to be open to the public
   7-15  shall be audible to the public at the location specified in the
   7-16  notice of the meeting as the location of the meeting and shall be
   7-17  tape-recorded.  The tape recording shall be made available to the
   7-18  public.
   7-19        (f)  This section does not prohibit the committee from
   7-20  requesting the attendance at a closed meeting of a person who is
   7-21  not a member of the committee and who has information regarding a
   7-22  deceased child.
   7-23        Sec. 264.505.  ESTABLISHMENT OF REVIEW TEAM.  (a)  A
   7-24  multidisciplinary and multiagency child fatality review team may be
   7-25  established for a county to review child deaths in that county.  A
   7-26  review team for a county with a population of less than 50,000 may
   7-27  join with an adjacent county or counties to establish a combined
    8-1  review team.
    8-2        (b)  Any person who may be a member of a review team under
    8-3  Subsection (c) may initiate the establishment of a review team and
    8-4  call the first organizational meeting of the team.
    8-5        (c)  A review team may include:
    8-6              (1)  a criminal prosecutor involved in prosecuting
    8-7  crimes against children;
    8-8              (2)  a sheriff;
    8-9              (3)  a justice of the peace or medical examiner;
   8-10              (4)  a police chief;
   8-11              (5)  a pediatrician experienced in diagnosing and
   8-12  treating child abuse and neglect;
   8-13              (6)  a child educator;
   8-14              (7)  a child mental health provider;
   8-15              (8)  a public health professional;
   8-16              (9)  a child protective services specialist;
   8-17              (10)  a sudden infant death syndrome family service
   8-18  provider;
   8-19              (11)  a neonatologist;
   8-20              (12)  a child advocate; and
   8-21              (13)  a chief juvenile probation officer.
   8-22        (d)  Members of a review team may select additional team
   8-23  members according to community resources and needs.
   8-24        (e)  A review team shall select a presiding officer from its
   8-25  members.
   8-26        Sec. 264.506.  PURPOSE AND DUTIES OF REVIEW TEAM.  (a)  The
   8-27  purpose of a review team is to decrease the incidence of
    9-1  preventable child deaths by:
    9-2              (1)  providing assistance, direction, and coordination
    9-3  to investigations of child deaths;
    9-4              (2)  promoting cooperation, communication, and
    9-5  coordination among agencies involved in responding to child
    9-6  fatalities;
    9-7              (3)  developing an understanding of the causes and
    9-8  incidence of child deaths in the county or counties in which the
    9-9  review team is located;
   9-10              (4)  recommending changes to agencies, through the
   9-11  agency's representative member, that will reduce the number of
   9-12  preventable child deaths; and
   9-13              (5)  advising the committee on changes to law, policy,
   9-14  or practice that will assist the team and the agencies represented
   9-15  on the team in fulfilling their duties.
   9-16        (b)  To achieve its purpose, a review team shall:
   9-17              (1)  adapt and implement, according to local needs and
   9-18  resources, the model protocols developed by the department and the
   9-19  committee;
   9-20              (2)  meet on a regular basis to review child fatality
   9-21  cases and recommend methods to improve coordination of services and
   9-22  investigations between agencies that are represented on the team;
   9-23              (3)  collect and maintain data as required by the
   9-24  committee; and
   9-25              (4)  submit to the bureau of vital statistics data
   9-26  reports on deaths reviewed as specified by the committee.
   9-27        (c)  A review team shall initiate prevention measures as
   10-1  indicated by the review team's findings.
   10-2        Sec. 264.507.  DUTIES OF PRESIDING OFFICER.  The presiding
   10-3  officer of a review team shall:
   10-4              (1)  send notices to the review team members of a
   10-5  meeting to review a child fatality;
   10-6              (2)  provide a list to the review team members of each
   10-7  child fatality to be reviewed at the meeting;
   10-8              (3)  submit data reports to the bureau of vital
   10-9  statistics not later than the 30th day after the date on which the
  10-10  review took place; and
  10-11              (4)  ensure that the review team operates according to
  10-12  the protocols developed by the department and the committee, as
  10-13  adapted by the review team.
  10-14        Sec. 264.508.  REVIEW PROCEDURE.  (a)  The review team of the
  10-15  county in which the injury, illness, or event that was the cause of
  10-16  the death of the child occurred, as stated on the child's death
  10-17  certificate, shall review the death.
  10-18        (b)  On receipt of the list of child fatalities under Section
  10-19  264.507, each review team member shall review the member's records
  10-20  and the records of the member's agency for information regarding
  10-21  each listed child.
  10-22        Sec. 264.509.  ACCESS TO INFORMATION.  (a)  A review team may
  10-23  request information and records regarding a deceased child as
  10-24  necessary to carry out the review team's purpose and duties.
  10-25  Records and information that may be requested under this section
  10-26  include:
  10-27              (1)  medical, dental, and mental health care
   11-1  information; and
   11-2              (2)  information and records maintained by any state or
   11-3  local government agency, including:
   11-4                    (A)  a birth certificate;
   11-5                    (B)  law enforcement investigative data;
   11-6                    (C)  medical examiner investigative data;
   11-7                    (D)  juvenile court records;
   11-8                    (E)  parole and probation information and
   11-9  records; and
  11-10                    (F)  child protective services information and
  11-11  records.
  11-12        (b)  On request of the presiding officer of a review team,
  11-13  the custodian of the relevant information and records relating to a
  11-14  deceased child shall provide those records to the review team.
  11-15        Sec. 264.510.  MEETING OF REVIEW TEAM.  (a)  A meeting of a
  11-16  review team is closed to the public and not subject to the open
  11-17  meetings law, Chapter 551, Government Code.
  11-18        (b)  This section does not prohibit a review team from
  11-19  requesting the attendance at a closed meeting of a person who is
  11-20  not a member of the review team and who has information regarding a
  11-21  deceased child.
  11-22        (c)  Except as necessary to carry out a review team's purpose
  11-23  and duties, members of a review team and persons attending a review
  11-24  team meeting may not disclose what occurred at the meeting.
  11-25        (d)  A member of a review team participating in the review of
  11-26  a child death is immune from civil or criminal liability arising
  11-27  from information presented in or opinions formed as a result of a
   12-1  meeting.
   12-2        Sec. 264.511.  USE OF INFORMATION AND RECORDS;
   12-3  CONFIDENTIALITY.  (a)  Information and records acquired by the
   12-4  committee or by a review team in the exercise of its purpose and
   12-5  duties under this subchapter are confidential and exempt from
   12-6  disclosure under the open records law, Chapter 552, Government
   12-7  Code, and may only be disclosed as necessary to carry out the
   12-8  committee's or review team's purpose and duties.
   12-9        (b)  A report of the committee or of a review team or a
  12-10  statistical compilation of data reports is a public record subject
  12-11  to the open records law, Chapter 552, Government Code, as if the
  12-12  committee or review team were a governmental body under that
  12-13  chapter, if the report or statistical compilation does not contain
  12-14  any information that would permit the identification of an
  12-15  individual.
  12-16        (c)  A member of a review team may not disclose any
  12-17  information that is confidential under this section.
  12-18        (d)  Information, documents, and records of the committee or
  12-19  of a review team that are confidential under this section are not
  12-20  subject to subpoena or discovery and may not be introduced into
  12-21  evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding, except that
  12-22  information, documents, and records otherwise available from other
  12-23  sources are not immune from subpoena, discovery, or introduction
  12-24  into evidence solely because they were presented during proceedings
  12-25  of the committee or a review team or are maintained by the
  12-26  committee or a review team.
  12-27        Sec. 264.512.  GOVERNMENTAL UNITS.  The committee and a
   13-1  review team are governmental units for purposes of Chapter 101,
   13-2  Civil Practice and Remedies Code.  A review team is a unit of local
   13-3  government under that chapter.
   13-4        SECTION 2.  (a)  The executive directors of the Children's
   13-5  Trust Fund of Texas Council and the Department of Protective and
   13-6  Regulatory Services shall jointly call a meeting of the individuals
   13-7  to serve on the child fatality review team committee under
   13-8  Subdivisions (1) through (4), Subsection (a), Section 264.502,
   13-9  Family Code, as added by this Act, to be held not later than
  13-10  October 1, 1995.  Those members of the committee shall select the
  13-11  members to serve under Subsection (b), Section 264.502, Family
  13-12  Code, as added by this Act, not later than December 1, 1995.
  13-13        (b)  The initial members of the committee are appointed to
  13-14  serve terms expiring February 1, 1996.
  13-15        (c)  The first meeting of the child fatality review team
  13-16  committee that includes members selected under Subsection (b),
  13-17  Section 264.502, Family Code, shall be held not later than
  13-18  January 1, 1996.
  13-19        SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect only if the 74th
  13-20  Legislature, at its regular session, enacts H.B. No. 655 and that
  13-21  bill becomes law.  If that legislation does not become law, this
  13-22  Act has no effect.
  13-23        SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1995.
  13-24        SECTION 5.  The importance of this legislation and the
  13-25  crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
  13-26  emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
  13-27  constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
   14-1  days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.