Child Abuse SIG

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SIG Description

The Child Abuse Pediatrics SIG provides opportunity for members to meet annually at the PAS meetings. We address cutting edge topics that are relevant to child abuse pediatricians, primary care providers, and other professionals who serve children and adolescents experiencing child maltreatment, sexual assault, family violence, and out of home placement as a result of these traumatic experiences.


The Child Abuse Pediatrics SIG goals are to:

  • Provide a forum for APA members to discuss clinical, research and advocacy issues pertaining to child maltreatment and other forms of family violence.
  • Offer an opportunity to network with other professionals with similar interests
  • Introduce other child health professionals to the fields of child maltreatment and family violence.
  • Collaborate with members of other national pediatrics organizations to disseminate information about child abuse pediatrics and evidence based practices.

Links to other organizations

Annual Report

SIG Name: 
Child Abuse and Neglect


  • Kristine Campbell, University of Utah
  • Cynthia DeLago, Einstein Medical Center


  • James Anderst, Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Hiu-Fai Fong, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

SIG purpose/mission:
To provide a forum for child health professionals that supports innovation in prevention, advocacy, policy, research, and education related to the care of children at risk for or impacted by child abuse or neglect.

Current SIG goals:
To provide an annual workshop that inspires participants to walk away with new perspectives on a challenging issue in child abuse pediatrics today.

Annual summary:
The Child Abuse and Neglect Special Interest Group on Saturday, June 6th for our annual workshop at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Franciso. 

This year's workshop was titled "Child Abuse Prevention: What CAN We Do?"  We had fantastic speakers to present different perspectives on the role of child abuse pediatricians, educators, and trainees in child abuse prevention efforts.

  • Dr. Cindy DeLago (Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia) introduced the topic to the attendees by presenting the Haddon Matrix as a tool to help us identify critical moments, actors, and locations for child abuse prevention efforts.
  • Dr. Jim Anderst (Children's Mercy, University of Missouri) walked us through the short but incredibly impressive history of Promise 1000, a collaborative Home Visiting program that has "bloomed" in Kansas City.  Through thoughtful and persistent work, Jim and his team identified the potential for collaboration with existing but diverse home visitation programs in their area and have gradually united these groups under a single umbrella of funding, measurement, and accountability that benefits children, families, community partners, clinicians, and researchers in Kansas City.  We were all incredibly impressed.
  • Dr. Mary Moffatt (Children's Mercy, University of Missouri) explored opportunities for and challenges to child abuse prevention training in the context of the Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship curriculum.  She ran through a wide range of milestones, content specifications, and educational requirements related to child abuse prevention that have been identified for our trainees.  This seemed to be in sharp contrast with little shared experience from fellowship directors in development and implementation of these training experiences.  She reviewed the challenges to providing trainees strong experience with child abuse prevention, highlighting the longitudinal time commitment and the intense community collaboration that is often needed to achieve this goal.
  • Dr. Emily Brown (Seattle Children's Hospital--University of Washington) rounded out of session by presenting her own experience as a CAP fellow committed to child abuse prevention research during her fellowship experience.  Noting that prevention had been a strong motivator in her decision to enter a CAP fellowship, she described experiences with time, funding, and research training that had presented repeated barriers to her efforts.  While her story ends on a positive note, it also reminds us that this is a topic that is important to many of our trainees and needs our attention within that context.
  • Dr. Kris Campbell (Primary Children's Hospital--University of Utah) finished off by asking attendees to divide into groups based on focus (education vs community efforts) and discuss ideas, challenges, and successes with child abuse prevention that we've each experienced.

Other groups that work in your area of interest:
While we are not actively working with other SIGs, we see ample opportunity for collaborating around the annual PAS workshop if other groups are interested.

Final words
Thanks to all who participated in our PAS workshop.  If you have any suggestions for topics next year, please contact Jim Anderst ( and Hiu-Fai Fong (  They are taking the CAN SIG flag and marching on to 2018 in Toronto.

Please Join the APA Child Abuse and Neglect Special Interest Group for a 3 hour Workshop at this year’s PAS meeting on Sunday, May 6th from 8 AM to 11AM

Title: Caring for families affected by substance use: Ensuring child safety, health, and well being

In the current epidemic of substance use in the United States, pediatricians can play a critical role in addressing its negative impact on children and families by identifying substance-exposed children and facilitating appropriate health care and societal responses. Yet lack of standardization in pre- and postnatal drug screening and testing protocols and variability in mandated reporting requirements exist, contributing to disparities in identification of substance-exposed children by race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic status. Beyond identification, pediatricians and health care systems face challenges in comprehensively addressing the range of medical, developmental, psychosocial, and safety needs of substance-exposed children and their caregivers.

In this interactive workshop, experts in child abuse pediatrics, toxicology, and general pediatrics will use case-based scenarios and audience participation software to discuss key issues and challenges in the identification and care of substance-exposed children and their families including:

  • Benefits, limitations, and ethical considerations of current drug screening and testing protocols (universal vs. targeted approaches)
  • Utility of different drug testing methodologies
  • Interpretation of test results and communication with child protective services
  • Impact of in utero substance exposures including child developmental outcomes
  • Collaboration with child welfare agencies and adoption of family centered approaches to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of substance-exposed children and their caregivers
  • Barriers to optimal care and services delivery including limitations in existing health care and community based resources, funding challenges, and critical gaps in research

Opportunities for program development, research, and policy change will be highlighted throughout the workshop. For example, we will describe a novel, pediatric primary care based medical home for children and their parents receiving substance use treatment to improve maternal and infant health after delivery, decrease rates of substance relapse, and promote positive parenting. Attendees will leave with a broadened conceptualization of how pediatricians (as clinicians, researchers, and advocates) and health care systems may effectively address the needs of substance-exposed children and their caregivers within their communities.

Speaker List:

Kathryn Wells, MD, FAAP
University of Colorado
Children's Hospital Colorado and Denver Health

Jennifer A. Lowry, MD
Children's Mercy Kansas City
UMKC School of Medicine

David Schiff, MD, MSC
MassGeneral Hospital for Children
Harvard Medical School

Eileen Costello, MD
Boston Medical Center
Boston University School of Medicine

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Current SIG Co-Chairs:

James Anderst, MD
628 West 70th Terrace
Kansas City, MO 64113
Phone: (816) 234-3424

Hiu-fai Fong, MD
21 Autumn St, Room 230.2
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: (857) 218-3232

Current SIG Mentor:

Cindy Christian, MD
34th Street and civic Center Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 590-2058




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