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RULE §37.410State Child Fatality Review Team Committee

(a) The committee. The State Child Fatality Review Team Committee (committee) is appointed under and governed by this section. The committee is established under Texas Family Code, §§264.501 - 264.515.

(b) Purpose. The purpose of the committee is to reduce the number of preventable deaths to children in the State of Texas.

(c) Tasks.

  (1) The committee develops an understanding of the causes and incidences of child death in Texas.

  (2) The committee identifies procedures within the agencies represented on the committee to reduce the number of preventable child deaths.

  (3) The committee promotes public awareness and makes recommendations to the Governor and Texas Legislature for changes in law, policy, and practice to reduce the number of preventable child deaths.

(d) Reports.

  (1) Not later than April 1 of each even-numbered year, the committee files a biennial written report with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and makes the report available to the public.

  (2) The report contains aggregate child fatality data collected by local child fatality review teams, recommendations to prevent child fatalities and injuries, and recommendations to DFPS based on input from the child safety review subcommittee.

(e) Composition.

  (1) The committee is composed of 25 members. Permanent members of the committee include:

    (A) a person appointed by and representing the State Registrar of Vital Statistics;

    (B) a person appointed by and representing the DFPS Commissioner;

    (C) a person appointed by and representing the DSHS Title V Director;

    (D) a person appointed by and representing the speaker of the house of representatives;

    (E) a person appointed by and representing the lieutenant governor; and

    (F) a person appointed by and representing the governor.

  (2) The permanent members of the committee who serve under paragraph (1) of this subsection, shall appoint the following committee members, who must be members of their local Child Fatality Review Team, unless the committee member is an appointed representative of a state agency:

    (A) a criminal prosecutor involved in prosecuting crimes against children;

    (B) a sheriff;

    (C) a justice of the peace;

    (D) a medical examiner;

    (E) a police chief;

    (F) a pediatrician experienced in diagnosing and treating child abuse and neglect;

    (G) a child educator;

    (H) a child mental health provider;

    (I) a public health professional;

    (J) a child protective services specialist;

    (K) a sudden infant death syndrome family service provider;

    (L) a neonatologist;

    (M) a child advocate;

    (N) a chief juvenile probation officer;

    (O) a child abuse prevention specialist;

    (P) a representative of the Texas Department of Public Safety;

    (Q) a representative of the Texas Department of Transportation;

    (R) an emergency medical services provider; and

    (S) a provider of services to, or an advocate for, victims of family violence.

(f) Terms of office. Except as necessary to stagger terms, the term of office for members that are appointed under subsection (e)(2) of this section is three years.

  (1) Members may apply to serve up to two terms. Terms do not have to be consecutive.

  (2) An appointment to a vacancy on the committee is made in the same manner as the original appointment.

(g) Officers. The committee selects from its members a chair and vice-chair.

  (1) The chair presides at all committee meetings at which he or she is in attendance and calls meetings of the committee.

  (2) The vice-chair presides at meetings if the chair is unable to attend.

(h) Meetings.

  (1) The committee meets quarterly.

  (2) Meeting arrangements are made by DSHS staff.

  (3) Except as provided by Texas Family Code, §264.504 (b), (c), and (d), the committee is a "governmental body" as defined in the Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 551. Meetings may be conducted in person, through teleconference call, or by means of other technology.

  (4) A simple majority of the appointed committee members constitutes a quorum for the purpose of transacting official business.

  (5) The committee is authorized to transact official business only when in a legally constituted meeting with quorum present.

  (6) The agenda for each committee meeting includes an item entitled public comment under which any person is allowed to address the committee on matters relating to business. The chair may establish procedures for public comment, including a time limit on each comment.

(i) Attendance. Members must attend committee meetings as scheduled.

  (1) A member must notify the chair or appropriate DSHS staff if he or she is unable to attend a scheduled meeting.

  (2) It is grounds for removal from the committee if a member cannot discharge the member's duties for which the member is appointed because of illness or disability or is absent from more than one committee meeting per year.

  (3) A member may give another member voting proxy upon his or her absence.

(j) Staff. Staff support for the committee is provided by DSHS.

(k) Procedures. The committee shall adopt bylaws to outline meeting and operating procedures.

(l) Statement by members.

  (1) HHSC, DSHS, and the committee are not bound in any way by any statement, recommendation, or action on the part of any committee member, except when a statement or action is in pursuit of specific instructions from HHSC, DSHS, or the committee.

  (2) The committee and its members may not participate in legislative activity in the name of the committee. Committee members are not prohibited from representing themselves or other entities in the legislative process.

  (3) A committee member may not accept or solicit any benefit that might reasonably tend to influence the member in the discharge of the member's official duties.

  (4) A committee member may not disclose confidential information acquired through his or her committee membership.

  (5) A committee member may not knowingly solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit for having exercised the member's official powers or duties in favor of another person.

  (6) A committee member who has a personal or private interest in a matter pending before the committee must publicly disclose the fact in a committee meeting and may not vote or otherwise participate in the matter. The phrase "personal or private interest" means the committee member has a direct pecuniary interest in the matter but does not include the committee member's engagement in a profession, trade, or occupation when the member's interest is the same as all others similarly engaged in the profession, trade, or occupation.

(m) Reimbursement for expenses. A member of the committee is not entitled to compensation for serving on the committee but is entitled to reimbursement for the member's travel expenses as provided for in the General Appropriations Act.

  (1) Reimbursement for a person serving on the committee is paid from funds appropriated by DSHS.

  (2) Reimbursement for other persons serving on the committee shall be paid from funds appropriated to DSHS.

Source Note: The provisions of this §37.410 adopted to be effective June 30, 2016, 41 TexReg 4644; amended to be effective April 22, 2019, 44 TexReg 2055

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