The Ohio Children’s Hospital Association (OCHA) is using grant money from Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office to fund a child abuse initiative in Ohio that will help detect abuse in young children.
In 2013, there were 80,472 reports investigated in relation to child abuse and neglect in Ohio, according to the Child Welfare League of America. But one of the primary issues is determining when babies under 6 months of age are being abused or neglected.
The Timely Recognition of Abusive Injuries (TRAIN) initiative, which has now spread to 19 hospitals across Ohio, was developed as a way to determine abuse in these children, who often cannot vocalize their injuries.
“It is our responsibility to protect children who are too young to understand their injuries or even to speak for themselves,” DeWine said in a press release from October. “By establishing evaluation techniques that identify early signs of child abuse, we hope to prevent more serious abuse in the future.”
The newly-implemented evaluation techniques include careful examination of the face, neck, genitals and limbs for bruising, fractures or other signs of abuse. If any of these injuries are present, the medical personnel must then report the abuse via the proper protocol outlined in the TRAIN program.
“We have two primary goals: We will increase the identification of young infants with injuries that may be due to physical abuse, and we will increase the percentage of young infants with injury who receive the recommended workup (X-rays, for example),” Jonathan Thackeray, collaborative leader for the OCHA, said.
Ohio’s involvement in combating abuse in children and adolescents is certainly not new. The state itself has taken steps in the past toward implementing more programs, with the hopes of diminishing child abuse not only within its borders, but also the nation as a whole.
“To our knowledge, Ohio is the first state to launch a statewide quality improvement collaborative focused specifically on the identification and response to child abuse,” Thackeray said. “Ohio has been a pioneer in this type of collaboration, starting other efforts that have now grown into international networks that are transforming healthcare — such as the Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety.”
Hospitals that have implemented the TRAIN program are scattered throughout the state, with four located in the Greater Cincinnati area, two near Cleveland and two surrounding Columbus.
“This initiative would not be possible without the commitment shown by the Attorney General,” Nick Lashutka, president of OCHA, said in a press release. “It is our hope that, through this cutting-edge research, we can help healthcare providers recognize the earliest signs of child abuse.”