April marks National Child Abuse Awareness Month, an annual observance dedicated to raising public awareness on the critical impact that traumatic abuse and neglect have on the healthy development of youth in our nation. This month, blue ribbons and pinwheels are very sad reminders of a widespread reality we wish didn’t exist.
Child abuse and neglect are all too common. In response to this ever-growing social issue, Child Abuse Pediatrics (CAP) at Texas Children’s Hospital employs one of the largest child protection teams in the country. CAP is a multidisciplinary service that strives to provide the highest quality of care and support to the most vulnerable children in our community through prevention, patient care and outreach.
This team is composed of more than 25 providers and staff including board-certified child abuse pediatricians, social workers, nurses, fellows, nurse practitioners, sexual assault nurse examiners, a medical assistant and a registrar. Each day, the child protection team works in tandem with Texas Children’s staff and specialists across the hospital to heal abused and neglected children and address their long-term health, well-being and safety.
CAP enforces a standardized, organized approach to comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and care for suspected cases. The CAP team conducts over 1,500 evaluations each year and provides multiple services for these cases; including an inpatient/outpatient consult service, outpatient child protective health clinic and outpatient sexual abuse clinic through the Harris County Children’s Assessment Center.
We all wish the services provided by our CAP team weren’t needed, but we’re incredibly grateful for this team’s tireless work. On behalf of the 40,000 confirmed victims of child abuse in Harris County and the 290,000 confirmed victims in Texas each year, we want to thank the CAP team and all of the dedicated employees who vigilantly support this program. Thank you for providing exceptional medical care and evaluations to our children, and most importantly, thank you for listening to those who need to be heard the most.
If you’re interested in learning more about Child Abuse Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital, click here.