The Division of Child Abuse Pediatrics was established in 2006 after the American Board of Pediatrics formally recognized child abuse as a subspecialty. As one of the nation’s first divisions dedicated to child abuse, the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is at the forefront of research and education in this emerging field.
Faculty members work closely with Child Protective Services (CPS), law enforcement, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Emergency Room nurses, University Health System, and Center for Miracles to facilitate appropriate assessment of suspected abuse and neglect. Current members of the Division include 3 board certified child abuse pediatricians, a pediatric nurse practitioner, with expertise in failure to thrive and a sexual assault nurse examiner. The Division of Child Abuse is the first in Texas and among the first in the country to establish a Child Abuse Fellowship. More than 2000 children each year are evaluated through 3 programs: Center for Miracles, the Forensic Assessment Center Network, and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Forensic Nurse Examiners (SANEs/FNE) program. FNEs are specially trained nurses in the Children's Emergency Room who conduct examinations on suspected abuse victims. This facility also provides follow up examinations and care for children and adolescents who are initially hospitalized or evaluated in the Emergency Room.
At Center for Miracles, physicians examine and interview suspected victims of physical abuse and neglect and their siblings. Through the Forensic Assessment Center Network, these faculty members and child abuse fellows consult with CPS social workers and testify in court as medical experts. Another state-funded initiative, MEDCAREs, supports the Division in training and mentoring other emerging child abuse centers throughout the state, and in providing expertise and consultation to other medical and nursing professionals.