April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, but 12 months out of the year a dedicated group of Kaiser Permanente physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other team members throughout Northern California are focused on caring and advocating for children who are suspected of being abused. Kaiser Permanente’s 55 Child Abuse Services and Prevention (CASP) champions and their team members meet monthly to improve the program and lead efforts at their local medical centers to educate clinicians about how to best respond to and follow up on cases of suspected abuse.
The program is making a difference. “Since the program was rolled out across the region in 2016, we have seen an increase in the awareness, recognition, and response to suspected child abuse,” said CASP program manager Judy Gee.
Some CASP champions also serve on countywide Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) committees, which review suspected cases alongside Child Protective Services, law enforcement, and other health care providers in a multidisciplinary team setting.
“These SCAN committees are an important opportunity for us to be involved in the follow-up of our cases and to make sure that everyone has the same information to be able to appropriately advocate for the child,” said Michele Evans, MD, CASP regional medical director and a Kaiser Permanente Roseville pediatrician.
Atul Khanna, MD, a CASP champion and pediatrician at the Kaiser Permanente medical center in Tracy who sits on the San Joaquin County SCAN committee, said Kaiser Permanente’s work in the community and at local medical centers can make a world of difference for children and their families.
“If we can help health care providers become more comfortable with screening and reporting child abuse and neglect, we not only protect the child, but we have a chance to provide the family with support and services that can truly be life changing,” Dr. Khanna said.
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