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IU Child Protection Program at Riley Hospital: Screening, Providing Support for Child Abuse Victims

Blog IU Child Protection Program at Riley Hospital: Screening, Providing Support for Child Abuse Victims

If the length of the program’s title gives any indication to the value it brings the state, then the “IU Child Protection Program at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health (IUCPP)” is appropriately long. IUCPP provides service to children, families and professionals dealing with issues of child maltreatment. Through a variety of impactful programs and offerings, IUCPP improves the care, evaluation and coordination of services to children who are suspected victims of child abuse or neglect. 

Founded in 1985, IUCPP continues to be relied upon by health care providers, children, families and many others across Indiana for their expertise in issues of child abuse and neglect. IUCPP’s services include:

  • Comprehensive medical evaluations for suspected child abuse and neglect victims
  • Crisis counseling services for families
  • Community leadership in education, communication and coordination of services

Prior to IUCPP, no mechanisms existed to objectively identify medical issues when determining whether or not a child was maltreated. For the past 30 years, the program has continued improving and expanding, serving thousands of Indiana children and families each year.

Funded almost entirely through grants, IUCPP is the only program of its kind in the state, and serves as a model for similar programs across the country. IUCPP team members participate in thousands of cases per year, providing accurate analysis based on decades of experience and expertise related to childhood injuries. This includes not only identifying child maltreatment, but also determining the absence of maltreatment.

“Our best days are when we’re able to accurately diagnose that child abuse is not the source of the issue,” said Dr. Roberta Hibbard, Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Section of Child Protection Programs. “In those instances, the cause may be an unidentified medical issue or other issue that we can then accurately treat.”

Along with these services, IUCPP is actively involved in educating law enforcement, health care professionals, judges, attorneys and others that interact with cases of child abuse and neglect through the efforts below:

  • Multidisciplinary continuing education programs: IUCPP developed programs aimed to advance the medical role in child protection. These programs have reached more than 1,700 professionals in the past three years alone, developing a network of community pediatricians to assist the Department of Child Services (DCS) in their local communities.
  •  “Docs InCASE” (Doctors in Indiana –Child Abuse Screening and Education): A group of 18 pediatricians who serve on local child protection and child fatality review teams and provide local community consultation for child abuse-related issues.
  • The Liaison Child Abuse Forum: Founded and directed by IUCPP, this forum brings together Marion County DCS, law enforcement, prosecutors, and public school system representatives on a monthly basis to solve community problems in the identification, evaluation and handling of child abuse cases.

In addition to the programs administered by IUCPP, team members are also involved in many community initiatives and often serve in leadership roles. Initiatives include the Marion County Child Protection Team, Marion County Child Fatality Review Team, Indiana State Child Fatality Review Team, and Children’s Justice Act Task Force. 

IUCPP at Riley Hospital for Children was recently named as a finalist for the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2016 Health Care Heroes Awards in the Community Achievement in Health Care category.  The awards recognize individuals and organizations in central Indiana that show excellence in health care each year.  Winners will be announced on Friday, March 4.

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