Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $599,734)
Sexual abuse and other child maltreatment are a significant problem in Central Texas which, according to the United States Census Bureau, has some of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Ascension Texas (Seton) Dell Children’s Medical Center is the leader in pediatric healthcare in Central Texas and one of only five Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Centers in the state. The hospital’s multidisciplinary Child Abuse Resource and Education (CARE) Program works with local child advocacy centers, law enforcement, child protective services, district attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, family advocates and others that focus on sexual abuse, child abuse, and neglect across the 53-county service area and beyond.
The proposed project takes a regional approach to expanding Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) services for pediatric victims of sexual assault. Project goals include (1) expanding the capacity of pediatric SANEs in Central Texas, (2) ensuring robust policies and procedures are in place to respond efficiently to pediatric sexual assault survivors, (3) supporting and participating in multidisciplinary teams for coordinated community response to pediatric sexual assaults, and (4) providing high quality, trauma-informed care to pediatric survivors of sexual assault. The CARE team includes a board-certified child abuse pediatrician, certified pediatric nurse practitioners, licensed master social workers, and a clinical nurse manager to ensure the highest quality of care 24/7. A second child abuse pediatrician joins the team in August 2021. While the region’s population continues to grow, so too does the number of alleged and confirmed pediatric sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect.
Two forensic nurse SANE Coordinators will be hired to lead recruitment, training and retention of additional SANEs. Dell Children’s has 10 existing trained SANEs, but all have other primary roles. SANE Coordinators will collaborate with local child advocacy centers and multidisciplinary teams to provide education on best practices, offer technical assistance and share resources. Outreach will be prioritized among the region’s high-poverty areas, persistent-poverty counties, and rural communities.
Performance measures on SANE training, collaborative partnerships, and victim services will be tracked and adjustments made to service delivery as needed. Deliverables will include outreach materials; online and in-person training curriculums; strategic plans; policies, procedures and protocols; MOUs or Letters of Agreement; resource guides; training records; and annual competencies. The CARE Clinical Nurse Manager/Program Coordinator will serve as Project Director and work with a project analyst and grants specialist to ensure performance measures, deliverables, and reports are completed accurately and on time.