Retired Franklin Circuit judge will chair child fatality panel

State Journal Staff Report Published:

Retired Franklin Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden will chair the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel, a 17-member board that will review child fatalities and near deaths as a result of child abuse or neglect.

Gov. Steve Beshear, who created the board by executive order in July, announced appointments to the panel Wednesday.

“In those instances when a child dies or is critically injured because of abuse or neglect, we must carefully examine the practices of the government entities whose job it is to prevent such tragedies,” Beshear said in a statement. “What we learn will help us implement new policies if needed.”

The panel will be attached to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet for staff and administrative purposes, according to a news release.

The board will hold quarterly meetings to review records, case files or other information regarding child fatalities or near fatalities and then analyze medical, psychological and legal circumstances that may have contributed to the death or near death of a child, the release says.

It will also recommend improvements to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Department for Community Based Services and any other public or private agencies involved with the family.

An annual report of case reviews, findings and recommendations will be published and sent to Beshear, the CHFS secretary, state Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton and the General Assembly. The report will be available on the CHFS and JPSC websites.

“The child fatality and near fatality review panel’s work will help guide state leaders in improving the critical social safety net for our most vulnerable children,” Attorney General Jack Conway said in a statement. “I am confident each of the appointees I have selected to serve will endeavor to add his or her professional perspective to this important effort.”

Others appointed to the panel include:

>Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee, will serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member.

>Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, will serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member.

>Teresa James, commissioner of Department for Community Based Services, will serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member.

>Family Court Judge Brent Hall, of Elizabethtown, will serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member,

>Dr. Carmel Wallace, of Lexington, represents physicians for the University of Kentucky’s Department of Pediatrics’ Medical Home Clinic.

>Dr. Melissa Currie, of Louisville, represents a board-certified child abuse pediatrician from the University of Louisville’s Forensic Medicine program.

>Dr. Tracey Corey, of Louisville, is state medical examiner.

>Andrea Goin, of Evansville, Ind., is the Henderson County Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Director for The Children's Advocacy Center of Green River District.

>Kevin Calhoon, of Frankfort, represents peace officers with experience investigating child abuse and neglect fatalities and near fatalities.

>Joel T. Griffith, of Dry Ridge, represents Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky Inc.

>Jenny Pitts Oldham, of Elizabethtown, is the Hardin County Attorney and represents local prosecutors.

>Sharon Currens, of Frankfort, is the executive director of the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association.

>Dr. Ruth Shepherd, of Frankfort, is the acting chair of the State Child Fatality Review Team.

>Robert Walker, of Lexington, represents practicing social work clinicians.

>Carmella Yates, of Lexington, represents practicing addiction counselors.

>Maxine Reid, of Barbourville, represents Family Resource and Youth Service Centers.

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