We Are Advocates for Children and Families

Thirty-four thousand children - or about 100 a day - in Ohio alone are victims of abuse and neglect and because of underreporting, the actual number could be three times as high.

Hearing statistics like this is one thing but comprehending the effect child abuse has on an individual child is another. Most child abuse happens during a critical time of development, with statistics showing that more than half of abuse victims are under the age of five. Not only does the act result in immediate pain, fear, sadness, isolation, emotional instability and loss, but the effects of abuse can last a child's entire life. Child abuse is one of the most devastating traumatic events a person can endure and the emotional trauma remains long after the bruises have healed.

We help to keep children safe by identifying and preventing child abuse and we assist in the differential diagnosis of conditions that may appear to be child abuse but are mimics instead. We assess for and provide mental health services for children exposed to trauma and violence.

Our vision is to assure safe, healthy and nurturing families and communities where all children can achieve their full potential.

Our mission is to be the national leader and resource in the development and validation of best practices for the evaluation, treatment and prevention of child maltreatment.

How We Work

The Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is a premier program that has helped set the national standard for enhancing and strengthening evaluations of child abuse.  We conduct state-of-the-art diagnostic, treatment, prevention and training programs, as well as cutting-edge research in the field of child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, child neglect and parenting.

Our child abuse team is a trained and multidisciplinary group that investigates cases of suspected abuse.

Along with physicians, nurses and social workers, our team includes Cincinnati police and sheriff’s officers, Department of Job and Family Services workers and staff from the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office.  

Our Services

Patient Care. We deliver diagnostic and treatment services when there is a concern of possible child abuse. Each year we evaluate more than 2,000 children for whom abuse is suspected. This is an average of six to seven alleged or suspected abuse cases every day. We collaborate with many community partners in the investigation and treatment of victims within the advocacy center located at Cincinnati Children's.

Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention Clinic (CFTSI) is a short-term therapy, lasting four to six sessions for children who have experienced trauma. The main focus is on therapy to reduce symptoms of PTSD and improve communication between the child and caregiver. Initial sessions generally occur within a week of referral. To learn more about CFTSI and to schedule an appointment, call 513-636-7233

Consultation, Assessment and Prevention (CAP)  is a trauma-focused mental health expert consultation, assessment and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevention program for children and families with concern about abuse and neglect. CAP team provides on-site, short-term PTSD prevention services to our families. In addition, we provide ongoing consultation and resources for families and community agencies with concerns about normal and abnormal responses to trauma, and assist families in accessing local evidence-based trauma therapy. 

Mental Health Treatment Services. Psychologists within the Mayerson Center and the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology provide outpatient therapy to children and adolescents who have experienced abuse or other kinds of trauma. They work with children and their families to address common reactions to trauma, which may include behavioral difficulties, depressed or angry mood, anxiety and fearfulness, concentration difficulties, and other changes in behavior. Therapy teaches children and families strategies to cope with their reactions to trauma to help them function better at home, at school, and in their relationships with others. To schedule an appointment with one of our psychologists, call Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at 513-636-8107

The Post-Injury Growth and Development Clinic (PIC) started in 2003 to follow the development, recovery and needs of infants and children who have been diagnosed with abusive head trauma.  A child abuse pediatrician, a nurse, a social worker and a developmental specialist evaluate every patient at each visit. The patient’s development is assessed using the Mullens Scales of Early Learning. Caregivers fill out forms to help better identify child behaviors and social functioning and the family’s strengths and needs that can be important to recovery.  Patients are evaluated within three months from injury and then every six to 12 months. We see patients on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.  Call Tracy Colliers, MSW, at 513-636-7463 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

We provide consultations for parents, investigators and attorneys.

We offer on-site and internet-based trainings for physicians, social workers, investigators and nurses.

The Advocacy Center in the Center for Safe and Healthy Children

In addition to a Cincinnati Children's Hospital Division, our Center is also a Child Advocacy Center (CAC). As a CAC, we are able to focus on better outcomes including minimizing stress for each child. In this collaborative environment that brings together medical staff and community investigators, each child is evaluated once rather than many times avoiding the need to tell their painful story repeatedly. Outcomes are improved by maximizing communication and cooperation between each group of service providers.