Children’s Mercy offers training on child abuse

Multiple area agencies that work with children in abusive situations gathered Wednesday to learn how they can work together.



March 22, 2024 - 3:26 PM

Representatives from Children’s Mercy Hospital, Hope Unlimited’s Child Advocacy Center, Kansas Department of Children and Families, Court-Appointed Special Advocates, the county attorney’s office and area law enforcement attended a training on “Mechanisms of Injury in Children” Wednesday at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Physicians from Children’s Mercy Hospital gathered in Iola on Wednesday to talk about child abuse.

The event brought together numerous agencies that work with children, from the Child Advocacy Center at Hope Unlimited to law enforcement, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Kansas Department of Children and Families. 

Dr. Sara Kilbride and Dr. Lyndsey Hultman from Children’s Mercy presented “Mechanisms of Injury in Children,” offering examples through case studies and a discussion of how they can work together to help children in abusive situations, including medical abuse, medical neglect, child abuse, child sexual abuse, child physical abuse and child sexual abuse.

In one case study, Kilbride talked about an 18-month-old child who had multiple health problems. The child was hospitalized multiple times and seemed to do well in the hospital. But once the child returned home, his health declined. He was malnourished. His development was severely delayed. The child was brought to the emergency room. Doctors told his parents he needed to be admitted to the hospital but the parents refused. They failed to follow up with a visit to a family physician, so child services intervened. The child was placed into foster care, where he thrived. It was an abusive situation and the mother eventually separated from her abuser. The child eventually returned to her care and has done well since his return, Kilbride said.

That’s just one example about how agencies can work together to help children and families, she said. 

Donita Garner with Hope Unlimited’s Child Advocacy Center said the goal of the training was to provide representatives of local agencies with tools and contacts to deal with abusive situations.

Representatives from the Fort Scott office of Kansas Department of Children and Families sign a Multidisciplinary Team Protocol to show commitment to helping children who have experienced abuse. From left, Makayla Bockover, Cathy Daniels and Jen Harrison.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

“We really focused on children under age 6 because they aren’t old enough to have the words to talk about their experiences and they’re the most vulnerable children, and the most likely to have injuries that become fatal,” Garner said. 

After the presentation, representatives from local agencies signed a Multidisciplinary Team Protocol to show their commitment to the Child Advocacy Center’s processes and procedures for children in the community who have experienced child abuse.

Dr. Sara Kilbride with Children’s Mercy Hospital.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register