Monday, September 15, 2008

Child Abuse Policy Division Update

The City Attorney's Director of Child Abuse Policy has been invited to join the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) review team as a permanent member.

The SCAN team, created by statute in the California Penal Code, is a multi-disciplinary panel of experts established by a hospital and consisting of health care professionals and representatives of law enforcement and child protective services. Essentially, the team is composed of community members actively engaged in the proper identification and documentation of child abuse cases. The team meets weekly at the hospital to review the child abuse and neglect cases processed by any of the UCLA hospitals during the proceeding week.

The UCLA team is led by UCLA Pediatric Medical Director and Professor Claudia Wang, MD and is made up of representatives from the UCLA Clinical Social Work department, pediatric nurses and doctors, Child Life development staff, Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), UCLA emergency room staff, University Police, LAPD and consulting physicians from Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and Orange County.

The SCAN team serves as a systematic way of examining the strengths and weaknesses of the hospital response to child abuse and neglect cases and drives policy, protocol and research agendas. In addition, the purpose of personnel disclosing child abuse reports to SCAN teams is to prevent child abusers from attempting to hide the pattern of abuse by taking a child to different hospitals for treatment.

In addition, the City Attorney's Child Abuse Policy Division has created and distributed child abuse screening cards for medical and health care personnel to use when child abuse and neglect cases present in a medical setting.

The 4 x 7 laminated cards were distributed to attendees of the City Attorney's Health Care Summit in May and have been given to pediatric doctors and nurses during training at the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA as well as the UCLA Emergency Room staff to aid in the identification and screening of child abuse and neglect cases.