Initial Medical Examination
For children being placed into out-of-home care, a comprehensive medical exam is conducted within 10 days of placement for children ages 0-3 or at high risk, and within 30 days for all other children. This exam is meant to assess a child’s health needs and develop a plan for addressing any identified issues. The exam includes:
- Health/developmental history
- Physical exam
- Measurements (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.)
- Nutritional assessment
- Vision & hearing screening
- Dental screening
- Lab tests
- Health education
- Age-appropriate brief mental health screening
The forensic evaluation is a medical exam for the assessment of suspected child physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. It is requested by DCFS or law enforcement in cases where a medical exam may be helpful in assessing whether or not abuse or neglect has occurred and the extent of any injuries; it is not requested in all cases. The exam is conducted in a child-sensitive manner by a medical provider with specialized training. It may include:
- Obtaining medical history from the parent/caregiver and child (if verbal) about the child and the events related to the alleged abuse or neglect;
- A full physical examination, similar to a well-child check-up;
- In some cases, X-rays, other diagnostic imaging, or laboratory tests are conducted.
- Collection of evidence, including photo documentation, as needed.
- Clinical care and initiation of treatment for any injuries or effects of neglect or abuse, as needed.
A forensic interview may also be conducted at the request of DCFS or law enforcement by a Child Interview Specialist at the Medical Hub who is trained to speak with children in a way that is not suggestive or leading. The aim is to gather accurate information from the child and minimize the number of times he or she must be interviewed. This may be done in addition to a medical exam or without a medical exam, depending on case circumstances.
Ongoing Medical Care
The Medical Hub Clinics may serve as the “medical home” for DCFS-involved children who receive ongoing care with a medical provider at the Hub who is their primary care provider. Medical home services include:
- Well-child visits at recommended intervals to address preventive health needs, keep immunizations up to date, track developmental progress, manage ongoing health conditions, and address parent/caregiver concerns;
- Sick visits for assessment and treatment of illness or injuries;
- Care coordination for the child’s health-related needs, including referrals and follow-up for specialty care and communication with the child’s DCFS social worker and/or Public Health Nurse.
- Child and family-centered care that is sensitive to the effect of trauma on families and children
- Medical clearance/screening for children on the way to a new out-of-home placement
- Follow up exams for children seen at home by a DCFS Public Health Nurse
- Follow-up treatment as needed
- Second medical opinion availability
- Referrals to specialty care as needed
- After hours services at LAC+USC Hub
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