Who We See

The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center 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.

In 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.

The Child 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 the investigation.

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.

During normal 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.