Child Abuse Resource and Education (CARE) Program

Our CARE (Child Abuse Resource and Education) Program exists specifically to ensure that the kids we see in our clinical settings are safe, healthy and not in abusive situations.

The CARE Program serves as the clinical consult service for child abuse at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. The CARE team provides medical and psychosocial assessments of children in whom abuse and/or neglect is suspected. The team evaluates for a broad spectrum of child maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, medical child abuse and various types of neglect. The team’s goals are to ensure that children are safe and healthy and that child maltreatment is identified and managed appropriately.

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The CARE program interfaces with multiple clinical specialists (psychology, radiology and other pediatric subspecialties) as well as non-medical community partners such as the legal system, law enforcement and Child Protective Services to provide comprehensive care of children who may be abused or neglected.

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Reporting Child Abuse

According to Texas law, if you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, it must be reported to DFPS. Reporting is confidential and immune from civil or criminal liability if done in good faith. A person who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable. Texas Family Code 261.101 states that professionals are required to report. A professional, for purposes of the reporting laws, is an individual who is licensed or certified by the State or who is an employee of a facility licensed, certified or operated by the State and who, in the normal course of official duties or duties for which a license or certification is required, has direct contact with children. Professionals include:

  • Teachers or daycare employees
  • Nurses, doctors or employees of a clinic or healthcare facility that provides reproductive services
  • Juvenile probation officers or juvenile detention or correctional officers

If there is cause to believe that a child has been or may be abused or neglected, a report must be made as further detailed in the procedures below:

  • A professional must report in the manner set forth below if he or she has cause to believe a child:
  • has been abused or neglected;
  • may be abused or neglected; or
  • is the victim of the offense of indecency with a child (see definition of “abuse” below).

The professional must report within 48 hours of the hour the professional first suspects the abuse or neglect. By law, a professional may not delegate the duty to report to another person, but duplicative reports are not required.

  • Any person (other than a professional) must report in the manner set forth below if he or she has cause to believe that the physical or mental health or welfare of any child (patient or non-patient) has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect. The report must be made immediately.
  • Any professional or other person must make a report if he or she has cause to believe that an adult was the victim of abuse or neglect as a child, and the professional or other person determines in good faith that the disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of another child, an elderly person, or a person with a disability.

Reports must be made to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) /Child Protective Services (CPS). Reporting by phone is preferred, as the response is generally more timely. Reports may also be made at the CPS website: www.txabusehotline.org (sign in to get a password and follow directions)

Child Protective Services: 1-800-252-5400

Not Sure If It's Abuse?

Learn how to spot the signs of child maltreatment.
Signs & Symptoms of Abuse

If you are a CPS case worker and need to make an initial referral/consultation to the Dell Children’s CARE Team please click here.