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Division of Child Protection / Center for Families

The Division of Child Protection, also known as the Center for Families, within our Department of Pediatrics, is focused on the problem of child abuse and neglect. We have activities in four main areas: clinical, research, teaching, and advocacy.

Clinical Programs

Our clinical work spans the range from prevention to forensic diagnosis to treatment.

  • The Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) project involves a model of enhanced pediatric primary care focused on identifying and addressing major psychosocial problems (eg, parental depression, substance abuse, intimate partner violence) families may be facing. SEEK aims to strengthen families, support parents and, thereby, improve children's health, development and safety – and, prevent child abuse and neglect. Results thus far have been most encouraging.
  • Our UMMC Child Protection Team (CPT) provides 24/7 interdisciplinary consultation to UMMS staff when concerns of possible abuse or neglect arise. In addition, the CPT offers training and helps develop policies for UMMC concerning child abuse and neglect.
  • Our Care Clinic, funded by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, provides free mental health treatment to abused and neglected children and their families, as well as those involved in intimate partner (or domestic) violence. Services offered include therapy (individual, family, and group), psychiatric evaluations and check-ups, case management, and other supportive services. The Clinic also serves as a training site for mental health and medical clinicians.
  • The Maryland Child Abuse Medical Professionals (CHAMP) program, funded by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is a statewide network of physicians and nurses, expert in the field of child maltreatment. CHAMP aims to ensure that all children in Maryland suspected of having been abused or neglected receive optimal medical consultation and care.
  • We collaborate with Child Advocacy Centers, where we conduct medical evaluations and provide consultation for children suspected of having been abused or neglected.
  • The UMH Pediatric Emergency Department (PED) specializes in the evaluation and management of children who are suspected of having been sexually abused or assaulted.


Our research focuses on several major issues related to child maltreatment.

  • The Prevention of Child Maltreatment.
    The SEEK project has been funded by the US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families, the CDC and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. It is a clinical research project, described above.
  • Understanding the Antecedents and Outcomes of Child Maltreatment.
    This project, LONGitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN), has been funded by the US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families, for over 20 years. We collaborate with researchers in four other states and aim to enhance our understanding of the antecedents and outcomes of child maltreatment, as well what influences these. The study has yielded a wealth of information.
  • Epidemiology of Abusive Abdominal Trauma in Young Children.
    This research project uses a national hospital discharge database to identify the frequency, risk factors, and outcomes for children hospitalized with abusive abdominal trauma. This research is supported by the National Institute on Child Health and Development of the NIH.
  • Epidemiology of Occult (Masked) Abdominal Trauma in Physically Abused Children.
    Children who are physically abused may have injuries that are clearly identified via history and physical exam. They may also have other injuries that don't show clear signs or symptoms, including injury to the abdominal organs. This research project examines the frequency of and risk factors for occult abdominal trauma in children who come to the hospital with other child abuse-related injuries. This research is supported by the National Institute on Child Health and Development of the NIH.


Our interdisciplinary faculty and staff are actively engaged in teaching on a wide variety of topics related to child maltreatment within the University of Maryland, the state of Maryland, nationally and internationally. As mentioned above, the Care Clinic serves as a training site for clinical and counseling psychology students as well as other medical professionals.


Our faculty and staff are active in advocating for improved laws, policies and programs concerning child maltreatment at the local, state, and national levels.

Division Faculty and Staff

Howard Dubowitz, MD, MS
(Pediatrician & Division Head)  

Forrest Closson, MD

Wendy Lane, MD, MPH

Charles Shubin, MD
(Pediatrician, Mercy Medical Center) 

*Lenice Price

(Community Outreach Worker I, Care Clinic) 

Randy Chang, PsyD
(Licensed Psychologist) 

Jackie Blair, LCMFT
(Care Clinic Therapist) 

Christina Von Waldner, MS
(Program Specialist) 

Gary Klein, MD

April Rectanus, MA, LCPC
(Care Clinic Director) 

Sara Brehm
(Outreach Worker)  

Contact Information

Division of Child Protection / Center for Families
520 W Lombard St, 1st Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
410-706-4869 (referrals to Care Clinic)
410-706-5176 (referrals to Child Protection Team) (referrals to Child Protection Team)
410-706-3017 (fax to the Division of Child Protection)

Directions/Parking Information for Center for Families  

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