Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment
In 2008 more than 120,535 children were reported as being abused or neglected in North Carolina. Of those 21,399 cases were either substantiated or found in need of services through the family or investigative assessment process.
If you know a child you suspect of child abuse please contact your local Department of Social Services immediately.
The Child Abuse Prevention & Treatement staff at Mission Children's Clinic provides medical evaluations for nearly 700 children each year who have allegedly been abused or neglected. In 2008, Mission's medical personnel confirmed 215 cases of sexual abuse alone. Mission's program is part of a statewide network of child abuse specialists and serves one of the largest areas - 20 counties.
Referral for evaluation is made by either the Department of Social Services (DSS), a law enforcement official, emergency department staff, or a physician.
Mission's physician and practitioners provide consultation to children, from birth to 21 years of age, for child abuse cases. Many of these cases are extremely complex, and include:
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Failure to thrive - children who are growing and developing poorly
- Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy - a disorder in which a parent intentionally causes the child to be sick
- Drug exposed children (methamphetamine, cocaine, etc.)
The program works closely with law enforcement officials, social services agencies, and child advocacy centers throughout Western North Carolina.
How the program works:
- The child is brought to the Reuter Outpatient Center with his/her caregiver and sometimes the person who made the referral.
- The child's medical history is obtained, followed by a specialized interview to gather details of the incident(s) that is performed at a comfortable pace set by the child.
- Using information from the interview, a comprehensive physical exam is performed and treatment is provided, if needed, in a compassionate manner that follows nationally established guidelines.
- A detailed report is written by the physicians and practitioners and sent to referring agency or physician.
- Professionals involved in the case use documentation provided by Mission's Child Maltreatment Evaluation team to make decisions about the child's safety, mental health, physical health, and to prosecute the alleged perpetrator.
Mission's Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment services is one of the eight recognized state regional programs that have been identified as providing advanced training for child abuse evaluations. These services are offered to medical providers, law enforcement officers and child protective service investigators. Staff also give educate various local and regional groups on related topics, including:
- Methamphetamine Endangered Children
- Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Medical Evaluation in Sexually Abused Children
- Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
- Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
- Recognizing Physically Abused Children
- Biochemical Markers of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children
- These lectures provide more than 350 educational hours to medical providers, attorneys, social workers, law enforcement officers and teachers annually.