Child Protection

Photo of children playing on swing

The Division of Child Protection, also known as the Center for Families, within our Department of Pediatrics, is focused on the problem of child abuse and neglect. We have activities in four areas: clinical, research, teaching, and advocacy.

Clinical

Our clinical work spans the range from prevention to forensic diagnosis to treatment.

  • The Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) project involves testing a model of enhanced pediatric primary care focused on identifying and addressing major psychosocial problems (depression, substance abuse, intimate partner violence) families may be facing. SEEK aims to strengthen families, support parents and, thereby, improve children's health, development and safety while preventing child abuse and neglect. Results thus far have been most encouraging.

  • Our UMMS Child Protection Team (CPT) provides 24/7 interdisciplinary consultation to staff when concerns of possible abuse or neglect arise. In addition, the CPT offers training and helps develop policies concerning child abuse and neglect.

  • Our Care Clinic, funded by the Maryland Department of Human Resources and the United Way provides treatment to abused and neglected children and their families free of charge. The Clinic also serves as a training site for mental health and medical clinicians.

  • The Maryland Child Abuse Medical Providers (CHAMP) program, funded by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is developing a statewide network of physicians and nurses, expert in the area of child maltreatment. CHAMP aims to ensure that all children in Maryland suspected of having been abused or neglected receive optimal medical assessment and care.

  • Our Child Advocacy Centers coordinate the evaluation of children suspected of having been sexually abused.

  • The Pediatric Emergency Department (PED) specializes in the evaluation and management of children and young adolescents who are suspected of having been sexually abused or assaulted.

Research

Our Research Division has a rich research program focused on several major issues.

  • The Prevention of Child Maltreatment. This is the SEEK project funded by the US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families, the CDC and the Doris Duke Foundation. It is a clinical research project, described above.

  • Understanding the Antecedents and Outcomes of Child Maltreatment. This project, LONGitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN), has been funded by the US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families, for almost 20 years. We collaborate with researchers in four other states. The study has yielded a wealth of information, building upon the knowledge base on child maltreatment.

  • Epidemiology of Abusive Abdominal Trauma in Young Children. This research project uses a national hospital discharge database to identify the frequency, risk factors, and outcomes for children hospitalized with abusive abdominal trauma. This research is supported by the National Institute on Child Health and Development of the NIH.

  • Epidemiology of Occult (Masked) Abdominal Trauma in Physically Abused Children. Children who are physically abused may have injuries that are clearly identified via history and physical exam. They may also have other injuries that don't show clear signs or symptoms, including injury to the abdominal organs. This research project will examine the frequency of and risk factors for occult abdominal trauma in children who come to the hospital with other child abuse-related injuries. This research is supported by the National Institute on Child Health and Development of the NIH.

Teaching

Our interdisciplinary faculty and staff are actively engaged in teaching on a wide variety of topics related to child maltreatment within the University of Maryland, the state of Maryland, and both nationally and internationally.

Advocacy

Our faculty and staff are active in advocating for improved laws, policies and programs concerning child maltreatment at the local, state, and national levels.

For more information, please contact:

Howard Dubowitz, MD, MS
Professor of Pediatrics
Head, Division of Child Protection
Phone: (410) 706-6144
E-mail: hdubowitz@peds.umaryland.edu

For More Information

This page was last updated: October 1, 2013

         
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