Child Protection Team
The Child Protection Team (CPT) at Phoenix Children’s Hospital is a partner in the Childhelp Children’s Center of Arizona. The Child Protection Team is part of a larger group of law enforcement, prosecution, social service agencies, medical professionals, and mental health clinicians – all working to provide a safe, secure environment for victims of child maltreatment, including physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and drug exposure.
As a dedicated pediatric hospital and a level-one trauma center, Phoenix Children's sees a greater concentration of abuse victims than other area hospitals. As a result, its staff members have greater experience in recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect. On call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the team’s primary role is to provide medical exams and forensic interviews on a moment’s notice. They help investigators interpret medical records and testify in cases as to the medical condition and possible causes of the injury or condition.
Phoenix Children's has a sophisticated, nationally-endorsed system of policies and procedures in place to address possible abuse and neglect. Abuse and neglect are medical diagnoses, like any other, based upon clinical evidence and the opinions of medical experts. When any Phoenix Children's staff member has reasonable suspicion of possible abuse, the attending physicians consult the Child Protection Team (CPT) in the same way they would consult the cardiology team if they suspect the patient has a heart condition. Any provider who finds clinical evidence consistent with abuse or neglect is required by law to report it to the Department of Child Safety. These reports are based on the medical opinions of board-certified clinicians and backed by peer-reviewed, scientific literature.
Law enforcement, DCS and the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI) gather a wide variety of evidence, including the medical findings and expert opinions from Phoenix Children's. Those agencies then decide how to proceed. Phoenix Children's staff members do not determine whether state agencies pursue criminal charges or foster care placement; however, they may be consulted regarding the medical facts of the case.
Child Protection and Complex Care Coordination Team Process
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Child Abuse Education
The Child Protection team also participates in community education – speaking at conferences, providing training sessions and serving as a resource for others interested in peer review.
Phoenix Children’s is also committed to reducing the risk and incidents of child abuse in our community.
The role of Childhelp is to evaluate and provide services for child abuse victims and their families, and to assist in the prosecution of their abusers. The Child Protection Team provides forensic interviews and medical examinations. Other services offered at Childhelp include interviewing child victims and witnesses, interviewing non-offending family members, crisis intervention, referrals to community services, case review team meetings, and preparing children and their families for court. Specially trained professionals from most disciplines are available to respond on-site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Working in collaboration with contributing partners and agencies, Childhelp:
- Reduces the number of interviews a child victim must endure and the time victims and their families spend with the investigation by creating a one-stop investigative resource
- Reduces police and child protective services investigative time (i.e., conducting medical examinations at the center), enabling more efficient case processing and quicker prosecutions
- Increases communication between agencies for an improved understanding of their roles and needs
Through medical assessment and support, Childhelp and Phoenix Children’s Child Protection Team are working together - doing everything possible to restore safety and normalcy to the lives of the children and families affected by abuse.