In Texas, anyone who has reasonable cause to believe that a child is being abused or neglected has a legal obligation to report it. ‘Reasonable cause’ does not require directly witnessing the abuse or neglect. Professional reporters are required to report within 48 hours of becoming aware of the concern. A professional reporter is anyone licensed or certified by the state or works for an agency or facility licensed or certified by the state and has contact with children as result of their normal duties. By law, professionals may not delegate their duty to report to another person such as a coworker or family member.
Our program collaborates directly with several pediatric specialty locations throughout Bexar County providing the professional expertise required to evaluate any suspected concern.
Center for Miracles
Located in an outpatient facility adjacent to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (CHofSA). Center for Miracles opened in May 2006. It is a collaborative program staffed by UT Health San Antonio faculty and fellows working with CHofSA social workers and medical assistants. This referral-only clinic evaluates children referred by child protective services, law enforcement, forensic interviewers, and physicians. Children with non-emergent injuries and conditions suspicious for physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect are evaluated in this clinic, as well as siblings of child abuse victims. In addition, follow-up skeletal surveys and examinations are provided for children with severe injuries.
Methodist Children’s Hospital
Located in the medical center, approximately 10 miles from downtown, Methodist Children’s Hospital opened in 1998 as the first hospital in South Texas built specifically for children’s care, which includes a seven-story patient tower with 96 private rooms, 40 private, ER treatment rooms, and a 94-bed, Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).Our division conducts inpatient consults and case consultations at this facility.
Located next to the medical school, approximately ten miles from downtown, University Hospital is home to the highest-designated pediatric trauma center and only pediatric burn program in South Texas. Our division conducts inpatient consults at this center and case consultations at this facility. Fellows spend one month during the first year of fellowship working with the trauma team.
Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Located downtown, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is the first and only freestanding children’s hospital in San Antonio, with newly renovated spaces including 220 inpatient beds for children of all ages and new mothers. Since 1997, specially trained pediatric nurses in the emergency department have examined and advocated for thousands of children who are suspected victims of sexual assault, abuse and neglect. The child abuse fellow work with extensively trained nurses who provide assessments of children and adolescents who are suspected victims of acute sexual assault, physical abuse or severe neglect.
FACN Consultations/Case Staffings
Our physicians participate in the Forensic Assessment Center Network (FACN). This is a joint project of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) and The University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston. FACN physicians provide written consultations for the cases they review. Additionally, we participate in face to face case staffings with TDFPS and other community agencies including law enforcement and local children’s advocacy centers.