Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health

Child Abuse, Referral and Evaluation (CARE) Clinic

What is the CARE Clinic?

The Child Abuse, Referral and Evaluation (CARE) Clinic is the outpatient clinical service of Safe Place, providing medical evaluations of children and adolescents for possible sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect. The CARE Clinic is staffed by a team of physicians, social workers and mental health clinicians.

What the CARE Clinic does

What the CARE Clinic does not do

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Appointment with the CARE Clinic

There are two ways to schedule an appointment with the CARE Clinic:

During your call, you will be asked to provide the following information:

What to bring to your appointment

What to expect during your appointment with the CARE Clinic

When you arrive at the CARE Clinic you will have a chance to speak with the doctor(s) and the social worker alone in order to review the reason you were referred to us and the concerns you have about what may have happened to your child. This may be based on what you have heard, seen or been told by either your child or someone else. We have this discussion without your child present so that we can speak more freely. We will also review your child’s medical information at this time.

Depending on your child’s specific circumstances and his or her age, we may want to briefly speak with him or her alone in order to learn about what may have happened, and to address any concerns your child may have about his or her safety or body. We will also make sure your child understands that he or she will have a physical exam and what it will entail. You can be present for the exam, unless you have an older child or adolescent who has indicated that he or she prefers to be alone for the examination.

After the exam, we will review the outcome and significance of the physical examination and all of the other information gathered during your child’s visit. We will discuss if there are any other medical tests or exams to complete, such as lab testing, X-rays or follow-up exams. We will also talk about what other steps need to be taken, such as reports to be made or referrals to other services.

Depending on the reason for your child’s visit, a Safe Place Treatment and Support clinician may speak with you and your child to assist with specific treatment referrals.

What is the exam like?

A parent/guardian can be in the room with his/her child if the child is young and/or prefers your presence during the exam. A complete, head-to-toe physical examination is performed.

When examining females, the doctor will shine a light/camera instrument called a colposcope at the genital area. We look at the vaginal opening, and may take some photos to document your child’s exam in her private medical record. We do not routinely place anything inside the vagina. Examination of the anus is also completed during this part of the examination. 

When examining males, the doctor will examine the penis as well as both testicles to be sure both are present in the scrotum and are normal. Examination of the anus is also completed during this part of the examination. If the examination warrants further documentation, we may take some photos to document your child’s exam in his private medical record.

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How to prepare your child for your visit to the CARE Clinic

Before coming to the CARE Clinic, you should let your child know that you will be taking him/her to the doctor for a medical check-up. You can assist your child by stating that this is a check-up similar to a regular check-up with his/her primary care provider except that this will also include some additional attention to the private areas of the body.

There is no pain associated with the medical check-up, and no shots are given in the clinic. However, your doctor may recommend further urine or blood testing after your child's visit, which can be completed in the CHOP Wood Building lab or other lab of your choice. Your doctor will discuss this with you and your child.

We request that you do not ask your child any further questions about the incident; however, listen if he/she chooses to talk and let us know what your child shared with you about the incident and any worries your child has.

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Investigative agencies and other services

If there is an investigation about possible abuse of your child, we will ask you to sign medical information release forms, which give us permission to update the investigators about your child’s appointment in the CARE Clinic. If we need to make a report to the authorities, such as Children and Youth Services or the police, in order to begin an investigation, we will inform you.

If there is anyone else that you believe needs to have information about what happened during the CARE Clinic visit, please tell us so we can have you complete the forms required.

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Safe Place Treatment and Support Program

If you would like to talk about whether your child or you can be helped by some additional support, our team of mental health clinicians (psychologists and clinical social workers) are available to you during the CARE Clinic visit. This support could be in the form of a brief series of counseling sessions or a more structured therapeutic plan of action called “Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.” The clinician will describe these services to you, and, if this is what you would like, you will schedule a time to return to meet only with the clinician.

For questions or concerns after your visit to the CARE Clinic, please call Carol Hart, MSW at 215-590-2934.

Learn more about Safe Place Treatment and Support Program, including information on what to do and not do if your child discloses to you that she/he has experienced sexual abuse, and for a summary of common symptoms/problems after experiencing a traumatic event.

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Contact Us

Report Child Abuse or Neglect

  • PA: 1-800-932-0313
  • NJ: 1-877-652-2873
  • DE: 1-800-292-9582
  • If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 first.