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Child Protection

The Child Protection Service Unit provides expert medical assessments for children in cases of suspected physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and serious neglect.
About us

The Child Protection Service Unit (CPSU) evaluates the most complex and serious cases of child abuse from around the province. Most children are evaluated in the Child & Family Clinic, located on site at BC Children's Hospital. The CPSU team also provides consultation service for inpatients at BC Children's Hospital. 

The unit is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of professionals with expertise in child abuse issues, consisting of four pediatricians, three social workers, two secretaries, a nurse, three psychologists and a part-time psychiatrist. Clinic Tree Photo.png

Your visit

The purpose of the Child & Family Clinic appointment is to provide medical assessments in a positive, relaxed, child-centred environment. In addition, clinic staff assist parents, caregivers and other professionals in dealing with child abuse situations. 


‎Your appointment with the Child & Family Clinic will have been arranged for you by a social worker. We do not accept referrals directly from families.

When you come to the Child & Family Clinic, your child will be registered and you will meet the nurse who will review the appointment process. The clinic appointment consists of a meeting with caregivers to review the child's medical history and background information. The pediatrician will then complete a medical assessment of your child. Then there is a final meeting where medical findings are discussed with a parent or guardian. Plans or recommendations for follow-up and/or accessing community resources may be made. Clinic appointments are typically 1 to 2 hours long. 

A written medical report may be sent to the family physician and/or the referring agency with the consent of the parent or guardian. The CPSU staff may arrange any further referrals within the hospital or in the community. A social worker may provide parent/caregivers with crisis counselling and education about child abuse prevention. In the more serious cases, the child may be referred to the unit's mental health team for further assessment (see Mental Health tab). 

Child & Family Clinic social workers screen, triage and arrange clinic appointments and may request collateral information. 

For MCFD/DAA referrals, the social worker should attend the appointment with the child/family. 

CPSU staff are available for telephone consultation to MCFD/DAA social workers for questions related to child maltreatment.  ‎

Legal guardian consent is required for all medical examinations. 

Please bring child's PHN to clinic appointment. 

Appointments are typically 1 to 2 hours long. 

In cases where a child protection investigation is being conducted, the results are shared with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. A written medical report is subsequently sent to the family physician and/or referring agency with the consent of the parent or guardian. 

Child & Family Clinic social workers screen, triage and arrange clinic appointments. 

CPSU staff are available for telephone consultation to police officers. 


Mental health

The Child & Family Clinic's mental health team provides assessment and consultation services for children and youth impacted by abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence, and complex issues related to suspected maltreatment. In general, ongoing treatment is not available. In a few cases, a short-term treatment plan may be implemented when community resources are not available.

An appointment for a medical assessment in the Child & Family Clinic is required prior to referral to the mental health team.

CPSU mental health assessments typically include a comprehensive examination of the child's:

  • emotional
  • social and behavioural functioning
  • impact of abuse
  • family interactions and function

We will collect background information from:

  • previous assessments
  • reports from current and past caregivers
  • information from the child's school
  • medical records

Our psychologists may also complete a cognitive evaluation and make recommendations regarding development and education management (including addressing issues of educational neglect). Children with suspected psychiatric disorders may be referred to or discussed with a team psychiatrist.

The findings of the mental health assessment may be used to assist in case planning to meet the unique needs of the child. Case conferences with community professionals may be coordinated.


Children and youth with a mental health emergency are advised to go to their nearest Emergency Department. In Vancouver, children under 17 years of age should go to BC Children's Hospital Emergency Department, and children 17 years of age and above should go to Vancouver General Hospital Emergency Department.

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SOURCE: Child Protection ( )
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