State Spotlight - Minnesota

Last updated:  February 2014

Ruth Clinard
Child Mortality Review Consultant
Minnesota Department of Human Services
444 Lafayette Road North
PO Box 64943
St. Paul, MN 55155-0943
Phone: 651-431-4696
Fax: 651-431-7522

Mortality Statistics Program Description


Minnesota’s Child Mortality Review Program was established in 1989 by legislation. The program is federally funded by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Safety and Permanency Division has authority to conduct child death reviews under state statute. One state employee staffs the program.


Minnesota has both state and local teams.

State Panel: (Chairperson - Child Mortality Review Consultant)

The Minnesota Child Mortality Review Panel is comprised of 31 members and meets 6 times a year. The Child Mortality Review Panel examines up to ten cases at each meeting. The Panel makes recommendations to improve the state and local systems that protect children.

Local Teams: (Chairperson - county or tribal child protection supervisor)
There are 89 Local Child Mortality Review Teams including two American Indian tribal teams. The local review team conducts a comprehensive review of the facts of the case and makes recommendations to improve local practice and collaboration of the local agencies. Recommendations are also made for changes to state policies and laws.


The Minnesota Child Mortality Review Program reviews deaths and near fatal injuries resulting from maltreatment or suspected maltreatment; manner of death classified on the death certificate as homicide, suicide, accident or undetermined and the child was a member of a family that received social services within one year prior to the death; deaths and near-fatal injuries that occurred in a facility licensed by the Department of Human Services; and natural deaths classified as SIDS or Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. The team reviews cases of all of the above in which the age is less than 18 years old.


The purpose of the Minnesota Child Mortality Review program is quality assurance and prevention of future deaths or serious injury of children by making recommendations to improve the systems that protect children from maltreatment.


Standardized data reporting forms are completed for all state reviews. Minnesota Child Mortality Review has access to information from state vital statistics. Death certificate data is reviewed by the state consultant and sent to the county and tribal social service agencies to determine the deaths where the family previously received social services. Data from state reviews is entered into the National Center for Child Death Review Case Reporting System.

Annual Report

Minnesota prepares a multi-year report on child death and near-fatal injuries. The report is distributed to the Commissioner, Child Mortality Review Panel members, Department of Health and Human Services administrations and 89 local Child Mortality Review teams.

Prevention Initiatives

The Minnesota Child Mortality Review Panel has partnered with other agencies or organizations to promote infant or child safety messages. Recommendations for reviews have identified policy areas that required improvement through training, policy amendment or legislative changes. Data analysis has identified factors that increase risk of harm that have been incorporated into training for child protection workers. Local reviews have resulted in changes to local policy or practice and better collaboration between local agencies.


Minnesota Child Mortality Review has authority to conduct reviews through Minnesota Statutes section 256.01, subdivision 12. Additional guidelines for mortality reviews are described in the Minnesota Administrative Rule 9560.0232, Subpart 5.


Training is provided to local teams and panel members on an annual basis. Training is aimed at multi-disciplinary teams. Technical assistance is provided to counties regarding local reviews whenever needed.