In the state of Missouri, all child deaths are investigated by a child fatality review panel.
However under current law, the meetings, reports and records from each case are kept confidential.
But House Bill 877 wants to change that.
Bill Fleishaker, an attorney in Joplin says, “The idea is that the data that is collected on child death studies be made available to the public for purposes of investigations into causes and prevention and things like that.”
And while the information is supposed to remain anonymous.
In some circumstances that may be difficult to do.
He says, “Some small rural counties have one child death in two or three years, so if you see the data released county by county it’s very easy to identify that particular circumstance.”
The main purpose of the bill is to use sensitive information to understand trends or implement preventative efforts, but there may be a need to be some stipulations to who can access this information.
“So once you remove the cloak of confidentiality, you open it up to all sorts of evils. And even though there to be used for specif purposes, legitimite purposes, you’re going to create problems if you don’t have more restrictions on the bill,” Fleishaker says.
The bill still needs to be voted on by the house committee on children and families.