Community Health and Benefit

Child Abuse and Neglect

Every day at Seattle Children's we witness the devastating impacts of child abuse and neglect. On an average day at Seattle Children’s, three patients are assessed for concerns about possible child abuse and neglect. Not all of these assessments result in a referral to Child Protective Services or law enforcement.

The physical and behavioral indicators for child abuse and neglect can sometimes be signs of other problems that our staff can often help parents resolve.

Seattle Children's recognizes the many challenges parents face. Caring for children requires an endless amount of learning, love, and patience on a parent's part, let alone meeting the very real demands of today's world – such as work, child care and housing.

Seattle Children's advocates that parents receive all the basic supports they need to provide their children with a healthy environment, in addition to receiving resources on positive parenting and healthy child development.

Seattle Children's primary goals in this area are:

  • Ensuring the health and safety of every child that comes to Seattle Children's
  • Assisting families in getting help if child abuse and/or neglect are issues
  • Educating staff and the greater community about child abuse and neglect
  • Promoting the prevention of child abuse and neglect

Seattle Children’s Safe Child and Adolescent Network (SCAN)

The Seattle Children’s Safe Child and Adolescent Network (SCAN) provides clinical services regarding child abuse and neglect. These services include:

  • Abuse and neglect consultation and triage to Seattle Children's staff and community healthcare providers
  • Coordination of the SCAN Team with other multidisciplinary experts to identify and intervene in concerns of child maltreatment and interpersonal violence when necessary
  • Training for Seattle Children's staff and community providers on child abuse and neglect
  • Child maltreatment research
  • Ongoing educational opportunities on issues of child abuse and neglect

Please note that the SCAN Team is unable to provide direct consultation to patient families.

If you want to support the Seattle Children's Safe Child and Adolescent Network, you can make a donation

Protection, Advocacy and Outreach Program

Seattle Children’s Protection, Advocacy and Outreach Program promotes safe and healthy children and families through positive parent education; provider training; development of community partnerships and collaboration; systemic policy advocacy; research; and public awareness media campaigns.

Our child abuse prevention initiatives include:

  • Period of PURPLE Crying
    • Seattle Children's is leading a statewide effort to prevent abusive head trauma cases (formerly known as shaken baby syndrome). Watch the video PURPLE Education Keeps Infants Safe From Abuse to learn more about the widespread effort to implement the Period of PURPLE Crying program – a video-based parent education program that helps new parents learn how to safely care for their baby during periods of extended crying and other highly stressful times.
  • Positive Parenting
    • We promote positive parenting skills through a public awareness campaign and learning opportunities, especially during the month of April. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to focus on how positive parenting promotes healthy and safe families and communities.

Also part of the Protection, Advocacy and Outreach program is the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP), a collaboration between medical providers, social workers and attorneys to address the unmet legal needs and improve the health of vulnerable patients and families. For more information, please call the program at 206-987-5942, send an email or visit the MLP website.

For more information about the Protection, Advocacy and Outreach Program, please call 206-987-3400.