Center for Child Protection
Every year, nearly 20,000 cases of suspected child abuse are reported in Alameda County. Hundreds of those children receive care at the UCSF Center for Child Protection in Oakland, which offers comprehensive medical services to victims of physical or sexual abuse. Our staff also sees hundreds of children from other Bay Area counties and throughout the northern and central regions of California every year.
Our center was established in 1984 to foster a strong collaborative relationship between the medical and legal systems that ensures abused children receive the care they need. We work with children of all ages, from infants to adolescents. Our team of doctors, nurse practitioners and social workers is specially trained to evaluate children and provide physical and mental health care when abuse is suspected. Our team provides forensic medical assessments and works closely with families, law enforcement and child protective services.
The center is led by a pediatrician who is fellowship-trained and board-certified in child abuse pediatrics. He is one of only a handful of doctors in Northern California with those credentials and one of only three Bay Area pediatricians with this specialty. The Children's Hospital Association named us a center of excellence in recognition of our expertise, the many services we offer and our role as the designated provider of pediatric forensic evaluations for Alameda County.
Our medical services include medical consultations in the hospital; forensic medical examinations in the emergency department and clinics; consultations to law enforcement, child welfare agencies and doctors in the community; and expert witness testimony. We operate a special around-the-clock team of doctors and advanced practice practitioners – the SAFE team – to conduct medical evaluations in acute cases (when an alleged sexual assault took place within the previous 72 hours). In non-acute cases (when an alleged assault occurred more than 72 hours previously), we provide forensic examinations in our clinic, at the request of law enforcement and by appointment only. We also accept referrals from community doctors when children need gynecological exams.
In addition to medical care immediately following abuse, our team provides an array of mental health and educational services for children affected by abuse and for their families. These include:
- Crisis assessment and intervention. The center's social workers serve as first responders in alleged child abuse cases in the emergency room, responding to the immediate physical, psychological, emotional and legal needs of children and non-offending family members.
- Clinical case management. Our social workers work with patients and families to ensure they comply with post-forensic medical care. We provide support and guidance for navigating the criminal justice process and connecting with relevant community resources.
- Psychotherapy services. We provide short- and long-term therapy for victims under 18 and non-offending family members, using strategies specifically designed to address trauma and its impact over time.
- Camp Creating Confident People. This children's program combines the typical summer camp experience with group talk therapy for kids with trauma related to abuse or other violence.
- Parenting After Trauma group workshops. These aim to provide support and guidance to parents of children affected by abuse.
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UCSF Department of Psychiatry Research