Child Abuse Advocacy


I always become so frustrated with CPS in our state. We see so much abuse and neglect that we report and continuously receive back reports as unfounded. A few weeks ago, I had a particularly aggravating case. A child was brought in by his mother. He was 10 years old, withdrawn and did not make eye contact. He was barely able to move his dominant R arm and had poor neuros. As I triaged him, I finally, confronted the mother, gently, and asked her bluntly if she had a safe place to go home to. She started to cry. Then the whole story came out how the significant other often became drunk and beat up on the children and her. I brought her back to the ED and persuaded her to file charges, which she did, and obtained all the CPS info. After calling it in, I looked up the family info on the computer, just out of curiosity. There were 8 children in the family and all of them had been seen MANY times over the past 3 years with injuries that were beyond the usual childhood variety, except for 2 visits – a sore throat and bronchiolitis. The most serious was listed as syncope (on a 5 year old) and you know that just doesn’t ordinarily happen. For some reason, CPS called me back later that night for clarification on my report, and I casually mentioned to her that many of the other children had also been seen over the past few years for injuries. I did not mention names, nature of visits or anything else. I was afraid of HIPPA violation, and later contacted by QA dept to run it by them. I also checked the HIPPA regs, and found I was within their regulations, so I was clear. Anyway, in the end, I finally received notification that the case was unfounded. I just could not believe it! How can we make a better case to protect these kids?



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