Sunday, October 9, 2011

AP: Idaho Only State Lagging to Develop Permanent Panel on Infant Deaths

Posted By on Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 10:17 AM

The Associated Press reports that Idaho will soon become the only state in the nation without a formal, regular panel to review child and infant deaths.

The state of Arkansas last week formed its first regular panel to examine infant deaths. Volunteers from social service agencies, law enforcement and health care will serve on teams to evaluate the fatalities.

Arkansas becomes the 49th state to develop the permanent program, according to the AP, with only Idaho now lagging.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced in late 2010 that it would launch a formal investigation into the case of Robert Manwill, whose 2009 abuse and murder led to a Treasure Valley-wide call to action. In December 2010, Health and Welfare Director Richard Armstrong told BW that the panel needed to wait until the trial that convicted Manwill's mother and her boyfriend was completed.

"Because this is a criminal trial, there will be other facts coming out, so we're going to wait until then for the outside review," said Armstrong. "Because there's no other way for us to get access to some of those criminal files. We have no choice. For us to convene a panel prior to the trial could jeopardize the legal proceedings."

Indeed an investigative panel has met four times since Aug. 3 and is expected to make recommendations to Idaho's child welfare system.

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