How are the Medical Services at PRC Different?
At the PRC, we provide specialized medical services by creating an individualized medical plan for each child referred to us. When a child is referred, they receive services from a specially-trained medical provider and a medical case coordinator. The PRC medical team is led by a board-certified Child Abuse Pediatrician.
What is a Child Abuse Pediatrician?
Child abuse pediatricians are doctors with special training, experience, and skills in evaluating children who may be victims of child physical abuse, child sexual abuse or neglect.
What Kind of Training Do Child Abuse Pediatricians Have?
- Graduation from college and medical school
- Three or four years of residency training in the medical care of children
- Additional training and experience in child abuse pediatrics
- Certification by the American Board of Pediatrics and may have additional certification in the subspecialty of child abuse pediatrics
Other kinds of health providers, such as family medicine or emergency physicians and nurse practitioners, may also have expertise in child abuse pediatrics.
Child abuse pediatricians, because of their special training and skills, are the doctors most able to help determine if and how a child was injured. When appropriate, child abuse pediatricians actively search for medical problems or other explanations for a child’s symptoms.
When Does a Child Abuse Pediatrician Get Involved in a Child’s Care?
Child abuse pediatricians are contacted by medical staff or investigative agencies when a child is a suspected victim of abuse or serious neglect. Child abuse pediatricians may also be asked to help by parents or a child’s primary care doctor. Not all hospitals and communities have a child abuse pediatrician locally. In certain cases, a child abuse pediatrician may evaluate a child’s records to provide an expert opinion if asked by a court, police, child protective services, or lawyers. These requests may occur well after a child’s injury.
What Happens When a Child Abuse Pediatrician Evaluates My Child?
Child abuse pediatricians gather medical history from parents and caregivers, talk to children, examine children, review blood tests, x-rays, and other tests, and may order and review additional tests. Child abuse pediatricians work within a multidisciplinary team of other physicians, hospital staff, child protective service workers, and law enforcement to gather information and make sure that all people involved understand the medical concerns about a child.
In addition, child abuse pediatricians carefully review all of the details about the child and why the concern for abuse exists. Child abuse pediatricians evaluate many cases each year, and often, the diagnosis is not abuse. Child abuse pediatricians often testify in court to help a judge and jury understand a child’s medical concerns and injuries and what they mean.
Important Things to Know:
- The PRC does not decide who has custody of a child or the safety of the child’s environment.
- The PRC does not arrest people or determine who is “guilty.”
- The PRC does not decide who is a good or better parent.
- The PRC does not perform forensic interviews of children.
The PRC is your partner in making sure your child is safe and healthy.
Tips for Parents
Contact your nearest children’s hospital to locate a child abuse pediatrician.
Call the Illinois Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-25-ABUSE
Call the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD
To find your local child protection agency: www.childhelp.org
To find your local Child Advocacy Center: nationalchildrensalliance.org