Children's Hospital Colorado
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Child Abuse and Neglect Services

Children's Hospital Colorado experts are committed to responding to, treating and preventing child abuse and neglect. Children's Colorado offers the only hospital-based multidisciplinary child abuse program in Colorado, and one of the oldest in the nation.

The Child Protection Team's mission is to offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary consultation, assessment, treatment and referral services for children and adolescents who may have been physically or sexually abused or neglected. Sensitive care is provided by dedicated clinicians to help the hospital and community identify, treat and console child abuse victims and their families. 

Child Protection Team

Children's Colorado experts are committed to responding to child abuse. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 720-777-6919. To report suspected abuse or neglect please call 1-844-CO-4-Kids.

Why choose Children's Hospital Colorado to evaluate your concerns about child abuse?

Children's Colorado treats more trauma victims of child abuse than any medical institution in the local multi-state region. Children are referred from concerned parents, physicians, hospitals, law enforcement and human service agencies throughout the region. Our staff physicians are among the first in the country, and the only ones in Colorado, to be board-certified in the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics.

With a comprehensive program of clinical care, education, research and advocacy, we proudly meet the Children's Hospital Association (CHA) designation criteria as a Child Abuse Center of Excellence, and we have one the first of its kind in the nation multidisciplinary rehabilitation clinic for abusive head trauma. Best practice family centered care is central to what we do and includes education about the behavioral and emotional impacts of child maltreatment.

Colorado played a pivotal role in bringing national attention to the problem of child abuse. Children's Colorado and our partner, The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, share in the legacy of Dr. C. Henry Kempe.

Dr. Kempe started one of the country’s first child protection teams in 1958 at University Hospital. He was chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine when he co-authored the landmark 1962 article The Battered Child Syndrome, which brought new recognition of the problem of child abuse. His vision led to mandated reporting laws and decades of local, national and international child advocacy.

The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect

Dr. Kempe also founded The Kempe Center, which has been recognized as a world leader in the fight against child abuse. Kempe has many program resources available, to identify and treat child abuse and to offer help to both families and professionals. These services are tailored to the individual needs of the children and families that we work with. For more information, call 303-864-5250 or visit The Kempe Center website.

Multidisciplinary child protection and advocacy

In 1977, Children's Colorado formed its very own active child advocacy team to comply with mandatory reporting laws and provide a coordinated approach to evaluation and treatment for children. This team later combined with the University of Colorado-based Kempe Center team during the affiliation of our pediatric programs.

Over time, our role has greatly expanded. Today, families, human services and law enforcement agencies, healthcare professionals and educators throughout the entire Rocky Mountain region turn to the only hospital-based multidisciplinary child protection team in Colorado for consultation and support.

Our goals
Child abuse services are a vital part of the hospital’s mission to improve the health of children. Our hospital and department goals are to:

  • Ensure the health and safety of every child and family that visits our hospital or our locations.
  • Help families if child abuse, neglect or domestic violence concerns are identified.
  • Provide the best practice care and treatment in the most sensitive manner.
  • Educate hospital staff, community healthcare providers and child welfare professionals on child abuse issues.
  • Advocate locally and nationally with our community partners for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Problems diagnosed and treated
We diagnose and help treat suspected or confirmed child abuse or neglect, including:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Failure to thrive
  • Maltreatment
  • Medical neglect
  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault (rape)
  • Factitious disorder by proxy
  • Shaken baby syndrome (abusive head trauma)

Services provided

  • Comprehensive medical evaluations in our weekly child protection team clinic.
  • Family and child evaluation for suspected maltreatment.
  • Family support, including education about the behavioral and emotional impact of child maltreatment.
  • Inpatient, outpatient and emergency department consultations
  • Expert testimony in juvenile and criminal courts.
  • Education and training for hospital and community providers on child abuse and neglect issues.
  • Coordination of care with your primary care physician.
  • Non-Accidental Brain Injury Clinic: a multidisciplinary clinic providing consultation and family-centered care and services for infants and young children diagnosed with non-accidental brain injury.
  • Coordination of care with the Emergency Department, Trauma Program and Clinical Social Work Department.

How to prepare for your clinic visit

A referral to our clinic may be understandably stressful to a parent or guardian. When an appointment is made, our team has a careful intake process to obtain information about the concern and referral. We also can discuss with you how to explain the clinic visit to your child.

Clinical social workers and therapeutic recreation/child life specialists are part of our clinic team and are available to help parents and child during your appointment. The visit is family- and child-centered, and we aim to answer your questions or concerns while making any appropriate referrals to further help you and your child.

How to report child abuse or neglect

Everyone in the community plays a role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. To report suspected abuse or neglect please call 1-844-CO-4-Kids. The state hotline serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to the counties which are responsible for responding to child abuse and neglect inquiries and reports. All hotline calls will be routed to the county where a child resides. The Colorado Department of Health and Human Services Division of Child Welfare website has additional helpful information.

To read about the signs of child abuse and neglect, please visit The Kempe Center.

Contact us

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 720-777-6919.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Nichole Wallace, MD

Nichole Wallace, MD

Child Abuse Pediatrics, Pediatrics

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Antonia Chiesa, MD

Antonia Chiesa, MD

Child Abuse Pediatrics, Pediatrics

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Coral Steffey, MD

Coral Steffey, MD


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Kathryn Wells, MD

Kathryn Wells, MD

Child Abuse Pediatrics

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