Child Advocacy Center
CPT - Child Protection Team
The Child Protection Team (CPT) is a statewide program operating under the authority of Section 39.303, Florida Statutes. In order to support the state's child protection and investigation services, CPT works to meet four objectives:
- To evaluate and determine the existence of child abuse or neglect.
- To assist in coordinating appropriate services for child victims and their families.
- To increase public awareness of child abuse and neglect; and to increase the knowledge and skill of professionals who work in the realm of child abuse.
- To advocate for needed treatment and prevention resources.
The Child Protection Team is composed of a medical director, psychologist, attorney, supervisor and case coordinators, who work together to coordinate and provide assistance for children suspected of being abused or neglected.
- Medical diagnosis and evaluation of the child.
- Psychological diagnosis and evaluation of the child, parents, guardians or any other individuals involved in abuse or neglect case as deemed necessary by the team.
- Telephone consultations for assessment, information and referrals.
- Case staffing - meetings of medical, legal, psychological, educational and social work disciplines to develop, implement and monitor treatment plans for the child and / or family.
- Videotaped interviews with the child in a child friendly environment to document any disclosure of abuse.
- Case coordination and assistance, including the location and availability of services in the community.
Referrals are requests for authorities to investigate possible incidents of child abuse. Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected has a legal and moral obligation to report their suspicions. Look for the types of abuse and possible indications:
- Physical Abuse: Bruises, burns, fractures, or human bite marks on non-ambulatory children of any age. Unexplained or poorly explained injuries.
- Sexual Abuse: Genital discharge or infection. Sexually transmitted diseases in children. Physical trauma or irritation to the anal or genital areas. Inappropriate knowledge of sex for the their age group.
- Emotional Abuse: Parents/caretakers place unrealistic or excessive demands on the child. Child is used to satisfy parent's ego. Child is constantly belittled, blamed, threatened or ignored by parents.
- Neglect: Child lacks adequate medical or dental care. Child is dirty, and/or inappropriately dressed for the weather. Home conditions are unsanitary. Child does not receive love or positive reinforcement from parents/caretakers. Child lacks adequate food and supervision by caretakers.
- Failure To Thrive: Child is malnourished due to lack of food. Poor maternal nurturing causes child not to grow and develop properly.
The CPT can accept referrals and provide services to any child under the age of 18 years who has an open Abuse Registry report which is under investigation by a Manatee County Sheriff's Office Child Protection Specialist. Anyone concerned about the safety of a child or needing team services may call the Child Protection Team for consultation. MCS office hours are from 8am to 5pm weekdays. For emergencies after hours, the CPT may be reached by calling (941) 345-1200 and following prompts for emergencies.
SCAN - Services to Children Abused by Non-Caregivers
SCAN is a program that originated in January 1993 with funding from Manatee County Children Services tax monies. SCAN serves Manatee County children, birth to 17 years of age, who have been sexually abused by a non-caregiver or another child.
Children who are sexually abused by a non-caregiver or another child do not fall under the mandate for protective investigation. The state is not mandated to offer services to these child victims because of the status of the offender.
- Law Enforcement
- Medical Professionals
- Friends and Relatives
- Victim Advocates
- School Personnel
The SCAN Coordinator will provide specialized assessment activities and support to the victim. When a referral is made prior to Law Enforcement involvement, the SCAN Coordinator will generate a report to them. The Law Enforcement Investigator will be responsible for determining if a law violation has occurred. Law Enforcement is allowed access to the medical and / or interview results.
- Medical Diagnosis and Evaluation
- Videotaped Interviews
- Crisis Intervention
- Support Services
- Court Testimony
- Court School
- 24 Hour Availability
SCAN services are available at no cost to the victim or the victim's family. SCAN provides services to child victims and their families without regard to income, sex, race, color, religion, national origin or handicap.
The SCAN medical examination is done by a pediatrician who is specially trained in assessing abuse. The medical examination can assist Law Enforcement in determining whether a sex crime has been committed. The SCAN medical examination:
- Reassures worried children and parents that the child is "okay".
- Answers questions or concerns about diseases or other long term effects of the assault.
- Gathers forensic evidence for prosecution.
- Determines if additional medical care is required.
An investigation often begins with an interview of the child victim by a specially trained interviewer. The interview is videotaped and provides official statements for those professionals who are involved with the investigation. The SCAN interview:
- Limits the number of times the child must tell his or her story.
- Ensures that a specially trained interviewer is sensitive to the child's needs.
- Provides a permanent videotaped record of the interview.
- Allows a child to be interviewed in a "child friendly" setting.
A referral can be made by calling Manatee Children's Services during business hours, 8 am to 5 pm weekdays. For emergencies after hours, the SCAN Coordinator may be reached by calling (941) 345-1200 and following prompts for emergencies.