Child Protection Medicine

Reports of child abuse occur every 10 seconds in the U.S. At Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, we serve children who experience any form of child abuse. In a safe space, the Child Protection Medicine practice offers medical exams, evaluation and treatment for kids when there is a suspicion of abuse.

We serve vulnerable children in a child-friendly environment. As a member of the National Children’s Advocacy Center, our highly trained, experienced team follows a proven care model for responding to abuse allegations.

Experiencing abuse is extremely traumatic. During our investigation, we strive to help your child feel safe and secure when telling their story. And we bring all agency partners together in a shared space, so your child only needs to tell it one time. Our goal is to promote justice through this coordinated response while helping your child begin to heal.

What to do if child abuse is suspected

If you suspect abuse, call the PA Childline at 800-932-0313. You can also call Child Protection Medicine at 484-633-0935 with questions about the program.

Child Protection Medicine services

Child Protection Medicine is a division of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) Department of Pediatrics. A board-certified child abuse pediatrician leads the program, which has two branches:

Child Protection Team

This hospital-based team offers immediate health services for your child. They:

  • Take a complete medical history
  • Perform a thorough medical examination, including photographic documentation of injuries
  • Carefully document all of the information shared by the child or their family members
  • Order laboratory tests and imaging scans, like X-rays
  • Involve other specialists as needed
  • Informing Children and Youth Services of any reasonable suspicion of abuse

The team works closely with the emergency department and, when needed, involves other LVHN specialists, which could include:

The John Van Brakle Child Advocacy Center

Children and their families receive support and care not only from our child abuse physician but from:

  • Two child nurse practitioners with expertise in child maltreatment
  • A licensed clinical social worker

Our community-based program brings together child-welfare partners including:

  • Lehigh County Children and Youth
  • Allentown Police Department
  • Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office
  • Lehigh County Child Abuse Prevention Network, a victim’s advocacy organization

A member from each organization partners to:

  • Conduct forensic interviews
  • Investigate, manage and prosecute child abuse cases

Who does the Child Advocacy Center serve?

We serve the Lehigh Valley’s most vulnerable children, under age 18, when there is:

  • Obvious or suspected neglect
  • A suspicion of physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • Evidence of failure to thrive
  • Maltreatment-related injury or illness

Follow-up care for child abuse

Depending on the extent of maltreatment your child experienced, they may need ongoing medical care and the support of behavioral health providers. These services can help your child cope and regain their ability to trust.

‘No-Hit Zone’ promotes child advocacy

Every LVHN facility, including Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, is designated a ‘No-Hit-Zone.’ We recognize that hitting another human being harms their physical, emotional and mental health. Instead, we encourage parents, families and educators to address conflict without violence.

The ‘No-Hit Zone’ designation fosters a safe healthcare environment where:

  • No adult will hit a child
  • No adult will hit another adult
  • No child will hit an adult
  • No child will hit another child

Hospitals and health centers across the United States are becoming ‘No-Hit Zones.’ LVHN is proud to use our strong position within the community to join this movement and advocate for better treatment of children.

Need emergency care?

LVHN has the region’s only Children’s ER, at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest.

Learn more about the Children's ER