Our Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Center’s mission is to provide comprehensive services to children and their families through a multidisciplinary, child-friendly program, and to meet the physical and emotional needs of children suspected of being abused or neglected.
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Center’s vision is to be the premier provider in Central California for diagnostic physical abuse assessments, foster care medical clearance examinations, and pediatric sexual assault evaluations including children who have been victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Additionally, the Center’s providers regularly testify in both dependency and criminal courts throughout the area. The Center is recognized in Central California and the state as a leader in advocacy, injury prevention, clinical research and academic training.
According to “Child Maltreatment 2013,” an estimated 3.5 million referrals involving the alleged maltreatment of about 6.4 million children were made to Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies during 2013. In California, an estimated 483,000 suspected child maltreatment reports were completed, of which about 90,000 reports came from our service area.
Our Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Center is composed of the clinic, which operates five days a week and sees over 1,000 children each year. The team is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day for emergency coverage. The Center includes an inpatient component that evaluates about 100 children yearly in the pediatric emergency department, acute-care floors and the pediatric intensive care unit. These children are evaluated for suspected physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. The staff includes a board-certified child abuse pediatrician, nurse practitioners specialized in child maltreatment, forensic nurses, social workers, a center coordinator and support staff.
There is ongoing collaboration with external community partners, and other Hospital services including subspecialty clinics, patient and family services, interpreter services, radiology, diagnostic clinical laboratories, child life services and pastoral care.
The Center works closely with law enforcement, CPS and district attorneys’ offices in their investigative efforts of child maltreatment. Collaborative efforts include case consultation and monthly SCAN (Suspect Child Abuse and Neglect) meetings facilitated by our Child Advocacy Clinic in an effort to track, monitor and advocate for the health and safety of at-risk children throughout the area. The SCAN team comprises multidisciplinary members that include physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, law enforcement, CPS, attorneys, public health and other individuals and groups when indicated.
For prevention education, the Center collaborates with internal and external partners to provide education to parents, caregivers, healthcare personnel, teachers and mandated reporters of suspected child maltreatment. These partners include our Trauma Department’s Injury Prevention Team, Safe Kids, Child Abuse Prevention Councils of California, Comprehensive Youth Services, CPS, Exceptional Parents Unlimited, Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART), and county public health departments. Additionally, the Center provides both interventive and anticipatory guidance to our patients and families at the Hospital.
Through the diligent efforts, a generous endowment of $5 million was presented to the Center to ensure the program’s growth and longevity. The Center continues to expand, adding more staff as the need arises. Future enhancements will include another board-certified pediatrician, and additional nurse practitioners, social workers and therapists.