Gelser Bill Changes Oregon’s Child Fatality Reviews

Oregon’s Department of Human Services has been mandated to act more decisively when a child dies – and it’s because of a bill sponsored by Corvallis Sen. Sara Gelser.

Senate Bill 832 took effect on October 1, and it requires DHS to assign a Critical Incident Response Team anytime there is “reasonable belief” a child’s death resulted from abuse or neglect. The prior standard meant a delay, as DHS would have to do an assessment before it could assign a team.

The new standard took effect October 1. Gelser’s bill also increases transparency, now requiring DHS to post details of incidents on its website.

Brendan Murphy is with the Oregon District Attorney’s Association, which supports the changes.

“Any opportunity to assess what occurred, that resulted in a child’s death is something that as prosecutors, we are supporting,” he tells KLCC.  “It’s just another opportunity to have oversight in review of a system that is designed to protect children.”

By Andy Thompson