The Division of Child Advocacy provides consultative services for children receiving care at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, including forensic medical and social evaluations of children who may be victims of child abuse or neglect. This service - referred to as the CHP Child Protection Team - involves collaboration with other physicians on the medical staff, including specialists from trauma, neurosurgery, orthopedics, radiology, ophthalmology, emergency medicine, behavioral health, and pediatrics.
Faculty in the division routinely work with professionals from community-based child-protection agencies to support the judicial system in the protection of children. This includes providing objective medical information through consultative reports and legal testimony for the judicial system in family court and criminal court settings, professionals working with Child Protective Services (CPS), law enforcement agencies, and district attorney offices.
We also provide pediatric medical care to vulnerable children in the child protection system. This includes primary care, if needed, for children in foster care and kinship care; a temporary medical home for children in high-risk social situations, especially when CPS or police intervention is ongoing; identification of ongoing developmental and behavioral problems in children who have been identified as maltreated and/or neglected; and referrals for vulnerable children to appropriate support services in the community.
Services include assessment of children who are hospitalized in the inpatient units of UPMC Children’s, usually with concerns of physical abuse and/or neglect. The physicians on the Child Protection Team are available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for consultation.
Emergency Department Consultations
Services include on-site consultation in the UPMC Children's Emergency Department (ED) during workday hours when there are concerns of abuse or neglect. Alternatively, ED staff may handle the initial presentation of a case and request follow-up services, which can include a forensic interview and/or a scheduled visit in the Child Advocacy Center outpatient clinic. All cases of children seen in the ED with identified concerns of maltreatment receive next-day review, facilitating appropriate follow-up arrangements.
Outpatient Clinic Visits (ARCH Clinic)
Services include primary medical care for selected children who have open Child Protective Services (CPS) cases or who have been placed outside their homes by CPS. Episodic consultation services include assessments for abuse, hospital follow-up visits, and CPS-mandated physical examinations.
Services include oversight of the forensic interview process; consultations referred by child-protection agencies; facilitation of the multidisciplinary team’s response to concerns of abuse; and, when applicable, a specialized medical examination, including colposcopy for females.
Services include preparation of documents for legal issues, court testimony, preparation for court, and pretrial meetings.