The Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s conducts evaluations of child abuse. Our aim is to minimize stress for your child during their care. The trained experts in our accredited center work with your child to ease their anxiety during interviews and physical exams.
Importantly, staff members at the Mayerson Center are mandated reporters of child abuse. They’ll make a report to the police and / or protective services if they find evidence of abuse.
For your child, knowing what to expect before the visit may also help reduce their anxiety.
Making an Appointment at the Mayerson Center
Parents or others who suspect a child has been abused should contact their child’s physician or the local child protection agency right away. In Hamilton County, Ohio, the 24-hour child protection hotline is 513-241-KIDS.
Urgent or emergency calls should be made to your child’s physician.
Your child may need to be seen by our staff at the Mayerson Center the same day, within a few days or a few weeks. When you contact the Mayerson Center, we will determine the timing and location of the visit based on your child’s needs. The timing depends on your child’s symptoms and how recent the abuse occurred.
Same-Day Evaluation for Sexual Abuse
Your child should be seen immediately (same day) if:
- Abuse occurred within the past 72-96 hours. Your child should not bathe or change clothing before the exam to increase the chance of recovering forensic material. The chance of recovering forensic material decreases with passing time.
- Your child is in pain, bleeding or having physical symptoms.
Evaluation Within a Few Days for Sexual Abuse
- Your child is having less severe symptoms such as discharge, painful urination or itching.
- If your child doesn’t have any of the above symptoms, they should be seen at the Mayerson Center within a few weeks.
Evaluations for Physical Abuse
- Your visit will be determined by your child’s age, timing and extent of injuries when you call the Mayerson Center.
- If your child has life threatening injuries call 911.
What to Expect at Your Appointment at the Mayerson Center
Arriving at Your Appointment
The Mayerson Center is located on the 5th floor of location D in the main building at Cincinnati Children’s Burnet Campus.
Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early to find parking, walk to the center and register your child for their appointment.
During Your Appointment
Your child may receive the following services:
- A forensic interview
- A medical exam
- Crisis intervention and support
- Counseling resources and other helpful information
You and your child will meet with some of our team members, including a hospital social worker, doctor and nurse. Please be aware that the length of your appointment is based on your child’s needs and the visit may last over 90 minutes.
You may also meet with a law enforcement officer and / or a children services case worker involved with your child’s case.
About the Forensic Interview
- A trained forensic interviewer will talk with your child. Parents are not in the room while the forensic interview takes place.
- The interviewer first talks with your child about general things to help them feel comfortable.
- The interviewer asks non-leading questions to learn more about what your child experienced.
- Children younger than three years of age are not forensically interviewed.
*All forensic interviews at the Mayerson Center are recorded.
About the Medical Examination
- We may recommend that your child see the nurse or doctor.
- Not every child needs to see the nurse or doctor.
- No child is forced to be examined.
- Because the Mayerson Center is a teaching facility, your child also may see doctors or nurses who are in training.
- You should ask to see the nurse or doctor if you have health or medical questions or other worries about your child.
- The nurse or doctor can complete a sensitive examination, order testing or make other referrals.
- You (the parent) or another supportive adult are encouraged to be with your child during the exam, if your child requests this support.