@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Child Fatality Task Force on chopping block

Posted June 10, 2013
Updated June 11, 2013

— Republican budget-writers in both the House and Senate are proposing the elimination of the state's Child Fatality Task Force.

In existence since 1991, the 35-member task force, which operates under the Department of Health and Human Services, is an appointed panel of experts that range from pediatricians to researchers to child advocates to law enforcement. Ten lawmakers are also appointed to serve on the panel.

The task force regularly to study and make recommendations aimed at lowering North Carolina's infant mortality and children's intentional and unintentional death rates. It has been the driving force behind changes such as requiring child car seats and bicycle helmets.

"Since 1991, the child death rate has dropped by 46 percent," said Dr. Peter Morris, co-chairman of Child Fatality Task Force. "It would be a true loss to the state if the public policy initiatives we've suggested were no longer made in a systematic way."

Head HHS budget-writer Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, said the Child Fatality Task Force was "a temporary task force at one time" that had been extended by lawmakers.

"It makes recommendations on spending money and makes recommendations on how to create more regulation and have more of the nanny-type state here," Burr said. "I have concerns with that. Other members have concerns with that."

Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly Lawmaker says group's recommendations cost NC money

Task force members are all unpaid volunteers, but the panel still costs the state about $86,000 a year to operate.

Burr said the real savings to the state, however, would be eliminating the cost of the legislation the task force supports, which he estimates costs North Carolina millions of dollars a year.

Local task forces can continue to investigate child deaths at the local level, he said.

"It's simply removing a layer of that process here in Raleigh," he said. "We'll continue to focus on those issues."

Not all lawmakers agree with Burr, however.

"I don't think it will end up being cut. It serves a very useful function," said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake. "This task force helps us get accurate medical information on things that will actually impact children's lives."

21 Comments

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  • chip8 Jun 13, 2013

    A lifeless human body has net worth of about $5.00. Mostly from minerals. We are getting a good sense from this Republican led legislature of their value for the lives of their constituents. If you can't afford it do without... this includes health, education, racial justice and ultimately life itself. We should update our state motto to, "Inter Canem et Lupum." Translation,
    "between the dog and the wolf." Every man for himself with nowhere to turn.

  • lovelarvae Jun 12, 2013

    "Task force members are all unpaid volunteers, but the panel still costs the state about $86,000 a year to operate." -article

    Wow, that's a bargain to reduce the child death rate 46%. Once again the politicians are being penny wise and pound foolish. Not to mention revealing the lie of their so-called "pro-life" rhetoric.

  • lunarmodule Jun 12, 2013

    Prior to the task force' formation in 1991, there was no tracking of child fatalities in North Carolina. Hundreds of children died every year from abuse and preventable accidents. The task force is dedicated to reviewing these deaths and making recommendations to prevent them. These ideas don't just come out of thin air.

  • Grand Union Jun 12, 2013

    "I also have to agree with kornfan2448, we need more personal responsibility. I don't need a taskforce to tell me that I need to wear seat belts & bike helmets because we all know that before there was laws mandating it people did it voluntary. We also don't need laws to tell me not to drink & drive, pass stop school buses while load/unloading children and so on. All we need is personal responsibility & common sense. Get rid of all laws and organizations that look out for people health & welfare. All we need is personal responsibility."

    you are joking?......really, you have to be....no one could be that clueless. For example if it was not illegal for people to drive drunk do you really think number doing so would not increase and hence deaths caused by them?

  • JE_WC Jun 12, 2013

    jss27560 and kornfan2448, this is a group that works on policy to protect CHILDREN, not the all-knowing always responsible adults we have in this state.

    It would be wonderful if everybody did the right thing at all times, but they don't. And to get along and not maim each other we have laws. Seat belt laws increase belt use. 11% of people wore a belt in 1981. 85% did in 2010. And what happened there? Seat belt laws got put on the books. And I'm happy because I'm not paying for injuries sustained by other people for making bad choices in the form of higher taxes to pay for more first responders, or higher health or auto insurance.

    And until you can guarantee me no baby will die from being hit by a drunk driver or from not getting medical treatment because their parents can't afford it, I would appreciate you taking personal responsibility for taking a minute to think about how other people's choices have real consequences for children.

  • delta29alpha Jun 12, 2013

    Since they aren't being paid anyway perhaps they can continue as a non-profit organization.

  • jss27560 Jun 12, 2013

    I also have to agree with kornfan2448, we need more personal responsibility. I don't need a taskforce to tell me that I need to wear seat belts & bike helmets because we all know that before there was laws mandating it people did it voluntary. We also don't need laws to tell me not to drink & drive, pass stop school buses while load/unloading children and so on. All we need is personal responsibility & common sense. Get rid of all laws and organizations that look out for people health & welfare. All we need is personal responsibility.

  • kornfan2448 Jun 11, 2013

    "And for kornfan, yes we do need laws making people wear seat belts and put kids in car seats." miseem

    I didn't say there shouldn't be laws, but do we need a special "task force" to suggest them? Personally, I don't think so.

  • miseem Jun 11, 2013

    Pseudonym
    Do you really think that kids don't ride bikes because of those hot, sticky helmets? How about a day with the temps in the 60's. I don't see a lot of them out then either. And for kornfan, yes we do need laws making people wear seat belts and put kids in car seats. There should also be a law against letting small kids play in a 25 foot deep hole with no shoring that you are digging in your back yard, since common sense seems to be in short supply these days.

  • miseem Jun 11, 2013

    "It makes recommendations on spending money and makes recommendations on how to create more regulation and have more of the nanny-type state here," Burr said. "I have concerns with that. Other members have concerns with that."

    This wasn't in an earlier verson. Now we know why the House and Senate are wanting to cut it. Has nothing to do with the cost of the panel. They just don't like some of the recommendations. Burr "estimates" the regulations they have endorsed cost millions. In wonder what his estimate is on how many lives are saved, injuries averted, and medical costs not incurred due to these regulations. I would think that a drop of 46% in deaths would have a somewhat similar relationship to injuries and to medical costs saved.

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