Center for Safe & Healthy Families

Diagnosis and Treatment of Child Abuse, Trauma, and Neglect

The Center for Safe and Healthy Families provides medical and mental health services to suspected victims of child abuse and neglect and their families. Our mission is to address child maltreatment through medical assessment, mental health treatment, education and research, guided by the Primary Children's Hospital philosophy of "The Child First and Always."

Our multidisciplinary team of child abuse pediatricians and nurse practitioners, child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers and therapists provide evaluation and management of abused and trauma-exposed children. 

Medical Services

Doctors and nurses at the Center for Safe and Healthy Families help to determine the cause of injuries and illnesses. Children who might have experienced physical or sexual abuse receive a specialized medical evaluation to determine the child's well-being as well as to document any injuries.

Mental Health Services

Therapy is provided to assist children who are experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms and other mental health problems related to child abuse including sexualized behavior and aggression. Psychiatric evaluation and follow-up services are also available for children who need them. Therapists specialize in evidence-based practices that are based on objective data and research. These therapies include: 

What Sets Us Apart

The Only Comprehensive Program in Utah 

Our program is the only comprehensive child abuse evaluation and treatment program in the state of the Utah. Because we are a Primary Children's Hospital and University of Utah collaborative program, we have access to all pediatric sub-specialties to ensure the highest quality of care for pediatric patients.  

Community Partnerships & Access 

We partner with community professionals throughout Utah and the Intermountain West, including other hospitals, clinics, schools, law enforcement and child protection agencies, to provide appropriate and timely care for patients at various locations throughout Utah. in Locations include Primary Children's Hospital, Primary Children's Eccles Outpatient Services, and Children's Justice Centers in 16 Utah counties. 

What to Expect

The Safe and Healthy Families forensic nurses are especially trained in the area of sexual abuse and pediatric evidence collection. They will work with your doctors and other specialists to determine the very best plan of care for your child.  

When we see your child we will:  

  • Listen to you about what your concerns are regarding your child and why you brought your child to the hospital.  
  • Take a complete and thorough history regarding your concerns. 
  • Do a complete physical examination. 
  • Carefully document all of the information we are given.  
  • Decide on the best plan of care for your child and your family.  
  • Discuss with you the best place for your child to be seen.
  • Keep you informed of any decisions regarding your child's care. 

We may: 

  • Record our interview with you, your child, or other adults to ensure accurate information was used to make a diagnosis. 
  • Take photographs of any injuries. 
  • Order laboratory tests and X-rays. 
  • Gather evidence if we are concerned a crime has been committed. 
  • Consult with the Division of Child and Family Services or law enforcement.  

We encourage you to ask all the questions you want during this process. Please feel free to tell us about any concerns you have about the examination, photographic documentation, or evidence collection. You can ask for a medical social worker to help you at any time. 

Reporting Suspected Abuse 

Our physicians, nurse practitioners and forensic nurses work closely with other people in the community to make sure your child is safe. One of the causes of injury or illness could be that someone has hurt your child. We are required by law to report concerns of child abuse and will tell you if we plan to make such a report. 

How to Report Abuse & Neglect

If you are in an emergency, always first call 911. If you have a concern that a child has been abused or neglected and it is not an immediate emergency, call the Division of Child & Family Services at 1-855-323-DCFS.

How to Refer to the Center for Safe & Healthy Families 

Referrals for urgent medical assessment can be made by calling: (801) 442-SAFE (7233). Referrals for non-urgent medical assessments can be made by calling our nursing line at: 801-662-3616.  Referrals for mental health therapy can be made by calling our Social Work Intake line at: (801) 662-3606. For general inquiries, call (801) 662-3600.

Safe & Healthy Families Fellowship

The University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and the Center for Safe and Healthy Families at Primary Children's Hospital, offers a three-year post-residency fellowship in child abuse pediatrics. The goal of the fellowship is to provide board eligible physicians with valuable training in child abuse pediatrics that will prepare them for a career dedicated to the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics. Learn More