Oklahoma Children's Hospital generally sees two kinds
of cases of suspected child abuse and neglect: those we identify when
children come to our facility for medical treatment and those referred
specifically to us by other agencies. In either case, it is unlikely
that Child Welfare, law enforecement, medical staff, and mental health
staff are all involved in the initial investigative interviews.
However, the medical staff and Child Protection Team staff work with
Child Welfare and law enforcement to coordinate interviews and
investigations, minimizing duplicate interviews by sharing information
among parties working to investigate suspected child maltreatment.
cases where children present to our hospital because of serious injury
or other medical problems, the Child Protection Team workers and medical
staff will do an independent assessment and medical evaluation to
determine if Child Welfare and law enforcement need to be contacted. A
referral is made to Child Welfare at the time that the CHO-25 is
completed by the staff member who suspects maltreatment. Typically,
Child Welfare contacts law enforcement. However, to ensure the safety
of the child, or at the request of Child Welfare, the Child Protection
Team Staff will contact law enforcement. Any interviews conducted at the
hospital by Child Welfare and/or law enforcement are coordinated
through the Child Protection Team.
Cases referred specifically to
our team for evaluation or consultations are typically referred by
Child Welfare or Law Enforcement. These agencies have their own joint
investigation protocols to coordinate investigative efforts. Thus,
initial investigations by these parties have already been conducted and
we rely on their interviews and investigation to facilitate the
particular evaluation we are asked to provide.
Protection Team workers assist the investigators by finding a location
in which interviews may be privately conducted. The CPT workers also
observe and participate in interviews conducted by Child Welfare and law
enforcement as well as gathering the medical information necessary for
Information is shared with investigative
agencies as needed via fax, phone calls and face-to-face
interactions. The investigators are also invited and encouraged to
attend the Child Protection Team staffing when their particular case is
discussed. The Child Protection Team workers work closely with Child
Welfare and Law Enforcement to avoid unnecessary duplication of
interviews and for collaborative case planning.
working hours, children who require forensic interviews are interviewed
by the Child Protection Team workers who are trained in forensic
interviewing techniques. There is always a social worker on-call for
Children's Hospital, who can schedule a forensic interview the following
workday if needed.