University of Iowa Children’s Hospital has a long tradition of providing services for suspected victims of child abuse and neglect.

The purpose of the child protection program is to assess victims of alleged physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and neglect. The mission of the program is to promote safety, protection, and well being of children through the coordination of assessment, education, patient support, and prevention services.

Child Assessment Clinic

The Child Assessment Clinic determines the needs of children and families when there is a suspicion or allegation of child abuse or neglect. The clinic accepts referrals from all professionals, families, and children. Children who have not been reported to the Department of Human Services or law enforcement can still be seen in the Child Assessment Clinic.

During a meeting at the Child Assessment Clinic, caretakers/custodians will be asked about the child’s medical history, the family’s medical history, as well as family social history. The child may also be interviewed in a neutral and child-friendly environment. Additionally, the child will receive a thorough physical examination, as well as body safety education. Guided by the allegation and/or physical exam findings, further tests may be ordered.

Based on the interview information, interactions with caretakers, physical examination findings, and test results, the team provides a summary of the findings, educational materials, and referral information for additional services as needed. The clinic team may contact the Iowa Department of Human Services and/or law enforcement if necessary.

Emergency Department Services

Often times, victims of sexual assault are seen in the emergency department. Children 13 years and younger, as well as those who have not shown signs of puberty, are seen by the child protection program team. Children 14 years and older who display the start of puberty are seen by the UI Children’s Hospital sexual assault response team nurses.

Children who are assessed in the emergency department and are found to have genital injuries are referred to the Child Assessment Clinic for continued monitoring. Additionally, the child and non-offending family members are referred to counseling services.

Inpatient and Outpatient Consultation Services

When a child is admitted to a UI Children’s Hospital unit or clinic for any reason and there is a concern of child abuse or neglect, the child protection team provides consultation services.

If the child protection program staff reaches a consensus that the child in question may be abused and/or neglected, a multidisciplinary team of child protection program staff, the child’s physicians, other UI Children’s Hospital staff (as needed), the Department of Human Services, and law enforcement will work together toward ensuring the child’s well being and safety.

Make a Referral to the UI Children’s Hospital Child Protection Program

Children who are suspected victims of child abuse and neglect may be referred to the Child Assessment Clinic at UI Children’s Hospital by contacting:

  • Haili Messer, Program Coordinator
    Child Protection Program
    University of Iowa Children’s Hospital
    Stead Family Department of Pediatrics
    100 Hawkins Drive—138 CDD
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242

To request Resmiye Oral, MD, to engage with your agency on an educational activity such as a symposium, conference, workshop, or course on child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, drug endangerment of children, bullying, adverse childhood experiences, or trauma informed care, please contact:

  • Resmiye Oral, MD
    Medical Director, Child Protection Program
    University of Iowa Children’s Hospital
    Stead Family Department of Pediatrics
    100 Hawkins Drive—146A CDD
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242