Speight, Quijano, McKnight Bill to Study Effects of Racial and Ethnic Disparities on Infant Mortality Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Shanique Speight, Annette Quijano and Angela McKnight to require the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board to study racial and ethnic disparities that contribute to infant mortality has been signed into law.

The law (A-3653) mandates the multidisciplinary board, which resides within the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, but operates independently, and reviews child fatalities and near fatalities to identify their causes, relationship to governmental support systems and methods of prevention, to shine a light onto the roles that race and ethnicity play in infant mortality.

“Children are the future of this state, and of this country,” said Speight (D-Essex). “All children deserve to live out their lives, regardless of race or wealth, and this law will help us to better understand how race and ethnicity affect infant mortality.”

According to a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, mortality rates are significantly higher for black infants than white infants, with the rate being at least 50 percent lower for white infants compared to black infants.

“We owe it to the mothers and children of our communities to understand this disparity,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Ultimately, the more we understand why and how these tragedies happen, the more we can prevent them.”
“Knowledge is everything,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “We must study this crisis as much as we can in order to mitigate further tragedy.”