Sexual Assault Forensic Examination – Child Abuse Resource and Education (SAFE-CARE)
What is SAFE-CARE?
SAFE-CARE is a state-funded program that develops and maintains a coordinated medical response to child abuse and neglect in Missouri. Through funding from the Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri KidsFirst and its partners accomplish the program’s mission through the following activities:
- Provide annual training for physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants on the forensic evaluation and comprehensive medical care of children who may have suffered physical or sexual abuse
- Provide mentorship, support, and ongoing education for a network of providers that take an active role in providing these services to children in their communities
- Empower multidisciplinary team members to better recognize and respond to child abuse and neglect through education on injury mechanics/plausibility, sentinel injuries, and other medical aspects of child abuse and neglect
Every maltreated child deserves access to quality medical care.
Direct Patient Care
The primary mission of the SAFE-CARE Network is to provide every abused child easy access to quality and compassionate medical care to ensure their own health and safety through proper diagnosis and treatment. This is typically performed as a scheduled visit to a SAFE-CARE provider at a child advocacy center or clinic in the child’s community. Some SAFE-CARE providers are available to respond to emergency departments or hospitals when medically necessary or provide expert consultation/review of medical records if direct care of the child is not possible. Connect with your local child advocacy center.
Commitment to Quality
The SAFE-CARE Network is committed to ensuring that all children have access to quality medical examinations by offering numerous training opportunities for SAFE-CARE providers, other medical providers, and non-medical professionals involved in the investigation and care of maltreated children. All SAFE-CARE providers maintain ongoing education & peer review/mentorship requirements, as SAFE-CARE providers must be the leading medical experts to recognize, respond, refer, report, and reduce the incidence of child maltreatment in the state of Missouri.
- New provider training is an annual, two-day conference that teaches medical providers how to diagnose and treat child physical and sexual abuse.
- Update training is designed to keep active SAFE-CARE providers up-to-date on new and advanced topics. Providers may choose to attend an annual, all-day update conference and/or may attend regularly scheduled webinars.
- Our mentorship program pairs new providers with Board Certified Child Abuse Pediatricians, facilitating easy access to expert consultation.
- Regular case review sessions encourage continuous improvement and fidelity to the program’s standard of care.
SAFE-CARE providers understand that their work does not end when a patient walks out of the room. The care of maltreated children requires close collaboration with other agencies and institutions responsible for the health and safety of children. This involves producing a meaningful report, communicating with multi-disciplinary team members, and testifying in court when necessary.
- Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services administers the funding for the SAFE-CARE program.
- The SAFE-CARE Advisory Council informs the program’s development, programming, and education. Advisory Council members include professionals from nursing, medicine, social work, and child advocacy centers.
- SAFE-CARE providers are physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners that have successfully completed SAFE-CARE training and have made a commitment to providing quality forensic evaluations to maltreated children in their communities. Providers encompass a wide range of experience: urban to rural, small private practice to large children’s hospitals. Each plays a valuable role in ensuring that Missouri’s children have access to the best possible care.
- The SAFE-CARE Medical Resource Centers located at Children’s Mercy Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital are the leading experts in the state in Child Abuse Pediatrics and set the standard of care for the SAFE-CARE program. Board Certified Child Abuse Pediatricians from the three centers provide all of our training and serve as mentors to new SAFE-CARE providers. They also provide consultation services to the Children’s Division and handle the most serious cases of child maltreatment.