The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children provides medical examinations for children and teenagers who have symptoms or behaviors that may cause concern of physical or sexual child abuse.
Here is what to expect when visiting the the center:
- When you arrive for your child’s appointment, you will be asked to complete a medical history for your child and provide insurance information.
- Before your child’s medical exam, members of our team will meet with you to answer any questions you might have and explain the medical exam to you.
- As you are meeting with the team, your child will meet with a child life specialist and patient care tech who will check your child’s height, weight, blood pressure and temperature. Your child will be allowed to explore the medical exam room and the equipment used and will be given choices of things to do during the exam.
- Your child’s medical exam will be done by a doctor or a nurse practitioner who will take a close look at your child’s whole body, including his eyes, ears, mouth, stomach and genital area. Your child’s exam will be a lot like when he goes to the pediatrician or clinic for a well checkup.
Will any special tools be used?
One tool that may be used is a colposope. The colposcope works kind of like a microscope and allows the medical provider to see a magnified view of the patient’s genital area. The colposcope does not touch your child but shines a light on the area being magnified. If needed, the medical provider will use special cotton swabs to wipe the area and collect specimens for cultures. These cultures can then be sent to the lab to test for infection. In some cases these swabs may be used to collect evidence for the crime lab.
What happens after the medical examination for suspected child abuse?
The medical provider will talk with you about the results of the exam. Your child may also be included, depending on his age. A follow-up visit will be scheduled if needed. It is important to keep all follow-up visits.
The medical provider and social worker might share educational materials with you and your child or refer you for additional treatment or support. If a report must be made to Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) or law enforcement personnel, the social worker will discuss this with you.
How do I prepare for the forensic medical evaluation?
There is really nothing that you need to do to prepare for your child's medical exam. However, if sexual abuse occurred within the past 72 hours, it is recommended that you do not bathe your child or brush his teeth until after the medical exam.
What do I tell my child?
You may share information in this brochure with your child so he will know what to expect during the appointment. Children are likely to be more relaxed and cooperative when they know what to expect.