Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp 773–778 | Cite as

Every child, every time: hospital-wide child abuse screening increases awareness and state reporting

  • Lauren Dudas
  • Gwenda Petrohoy
  • Debra Esernio-Jenssen
  • Cheryl Lansenderfer
  • Joseph Stirparo
  • Michele Dunstan
  • Marybeth BrowneEmail author
Original Article



A review of our child abuse evaluation system demonstrated a lack of standardization leading to low reporting levels. The purpose of this quality improvement initiative was to develop a standard child abuse screening tool; an education program increasing awareness to child abuse; and to measure the impact of the screening tool in reporting.


A screening tool was developed and implemented for all trauma patients < 15 years of age; staff was educated; and a child protection team (CPT) was established. Within 9 months, screening was extended to all patients admitted to the children’s hospital. Screening compliance, number of child abuse reporting forms (CY-47) filed, and consultations to the CPT were monitored.


Initially, there was an average screening compliance of 56%. After making the program hospital-wide, the compliance rate increased to an average of 96%; and the average number of CPT consults increased from 2 to 10 per month. Over this study period, the average number of CY-47s filed increased from 6.1 to 7.3 per month.


Hospital-wide use of an objective screening tool, frequent re-education, and the support of an experienced child protection team led to improved child abuse screening compliance and more consistent suspected-abuse reporting rates.


Child abuse Universal screening Quality improvement Non-accidental trauma (NAT) 


Compliance with ethical standards

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General and Trauma Surgery, Department of SurgeryLehigh Valley Health NetworkAllentownUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric Surgical Specialties, Department of Surgery, Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s HospitalLehigh Valley Health NetworkAllentownUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Section of Child Protection Medicine, Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s HospitalLehigh Valley Health NetworkAllentownUSA

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