Child Protection Program

The Child Protection Program (CPP) at Boston Children's Hospital was established in 1970 by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who shared a commitment to improve the health and well being of children by addressing the issues of family violence, child maltreatment and neglect.


CPP's overarching mission since the time of its inception has been simply to assure that children who are suspected of having been abused or neglected, receive appropriate care and protection.

CPP houses three distinct programs which operate in collaboration to respond to incidents of family violence, suspected child abuse and neglect by providing a range of services including:

1. Evaluation of children referred to the hospital for suspected abuse or neglect and referrals to appropriate services at Children's Hospital and elsewhere.

2. Psycho-educational and clinical services to parents

3. Expert consultation to clinical staff regarding protective issues that may emerge in the treatment of their patients

4. Case coordination with the Department of Children and Families and other agencies

5. The provision of expert testimony in child protection cases

6. Advocacy services to survivors of domestic violence and their children 

7. Training for hospital staff

8. Community outreach, prevention and advocacy

The Child Protection Program's three program areas include:

  • The Child Protection Clinical Services (CPCS) Program:  an outpatient child protection program.
  • The Child Protection Team (CPT) : a team of Boston Children's consultants available 24 hours to consult on child abuse and neglect.
  • The AWAKE (Advocacy for Women and Kids in Emergencies) Project: a domestic violence program for women and their children.

Who we are

The CPP team includes members from the departments of General Pediatrics, Social Work, Nursing, and Psychiatry, and the Office of General Counsel at Boston Children's.

Our team also includes a nurse at Boston Children's who functions as a liaison with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Each member of the CPP plays an important role in our mission to enhance child safety and provide care for Children's patients who may have been abused or neglected.

We also work to increase awareness, knowledge and prevention of child abuse at Boston Children's and within the local community.

Commitment to Safety at Boston Children's Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospital has a deep and abiding commitment to ensuring the safety of all children in our care.  In fact, providing safe and appropriate care in a safe and protective environment is the absolute paramount priority of everyone at Boston Children's.

We have a number of programs and services in place whose mission is to ensure that every member of the Boston Children’s community is knowledgeable about and vigilant in their role in ensuring the safety of our patients.


Mandated Reporting at Boston Children's Hospital

All Boston Children’s clinicians are trained on “51As.”  Under state law, (Massachusetts General Laws  Chapter 119, Section 51A)  all clinicians are “mandated reporters.”  The law states that “(a) A mandated reporter who, in his professional capacity, has reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from: (i) abuse inflicted upon him which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare, including sexual abuse; (ii) neglect, including malnutrition; (iii) physical dependence upon an addictive drug at birth, shall immediately communicate with the department orally and, within 48 hours, shall file a written report with the department detailing the suspected abuse or neglect; or (iv) being a sexually exploited child; or (v) being a human trafficking victim as defined by section 20M of chapter 233.”

The law goes on to say “If a mandated reporter is a member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution, school or facility, the mandated reporter may instead notify the person or designated agent in charge of such institution, school or facility who shall become responsible for notifying the department in the manner required by this section.”  In Boston Children’s case, that designated agent is the Child Protection Team member on call, who is available to staff and families 24 hours a day.

When a concern for child maltreatment is identified, clinicians are strongly encouraged to consult with the CPT consultant on call. Child protection consultants are available 24 hours a day and can be reached through the page operator.