UnityPoint Health - St Lukes Child Protection Center
Today's Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Hours and Directions
Hours of Operation
- Monday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Thursday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Friday: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
- Saturday: Closed
- Sunday: Closed
Child Protection Center
Prior to the formation of the Child Protection Center, parents often didn't know where to get help for an abused child. Often, the child had to be taken to the police station and would have to tell about their abuse several times to different investigating agencies.
The Center represents a community-wide effort to provide:
- Centralized access and referral to a system of community services for abused children and their families
- Coordination of high quality, reliable, consistent interviews and medical exams by specially-trained interviewers and physicians
- Efforts toward identification, treatment and prevention of child abuse
Referrals to the Center are made by the Department of Human Services (DHS), law enforcement agencies and private physicians. The Child Protection Center does not replicate any existing community service. The Center also accepts referrals where a developmentally disabled adult is the alleged victim.
"I believe there are certain ways to interview a child and most police officers are not trained in this correctly. We are trained to interrogate and to find lies or holes in statements. This obviously is not a good way to interview children because young children cannot form and maintain a detailed lie. But because of where they are developmentally, their story may not necessarily make sense or seem possible at first. Sometimes adults forget that to understand a child's statement, they need to see the occurrence from their level; both physically and at their level of functioning. The staff at CPC have extensive training in correctly interviewing children to not only find out what happened, but to do so in a non-traumatizing atmosphere," said Charity Hansel, Cedar Rapids Police Investigator .
If you suspect child abuse, call 800-362-2178 or (319) 369-7908. A trained professional will answer your call.
Advocacy is a high priority at the Child Protection Center. The Family Advocate helps children and families navigate through the system, assisting the child and family to receive appropriate services.
Our Team Approach
The Center's team works in coordination with DHS and law enforcement. After an interview and medical exam, the Child Protection Center staff, a DHS assessment worker and a law enforcement officer reviews the information together. They make recommendations and referrals to community services and specify any investigative action.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety there are over 6,000 individuals listed on the state sexual offender registry. Linn County has the second highest number, behind Des Moines, of registered sex offenders. These statistics are enough to make any parent concerned, but what you probably didn't know is that in most child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the offender. It could be a relative, family friend or casual acquaintance.
For 15 years, St. Luke's Child Protection Center (CPC) has been teaching area school children about the difference between good and bad touches. The SAFETOUCH program reaches over 6,500 children each year.
What should I teach my child about SAFETOUCH Program?
"Parents need to start talking to their children about good touches and bad touches as soon as developmentally appropriate," said Julie Kelly-Molander, St. Luke's Child Protection Center manager. "Parents can start by teaching children appropriate names for body parts. It can be a difficult topic for parents and unfortunately at CPC we see children who don't know the correct names for their body. This makes it very difficult for us to talk to them about allegations of sexual abuse." Kelly-Molander suggests using potty training as a time to teach children appropriate names for body parts. "Many children become comfortable using those terms, just like they do with the terms for the rest of their body," said Kelly-Molander. "From there, parents can move on to discussions about good touches, bad touches and confusing touches. Keeping the lines of communication open with your child is important. Teach your child that even if something bad happens to them, it's not their fault and you won't be angry with them."
Here are some tips from Julie Kelly-Molander on teaching kids about SAFETOUCH:
- Teach your children to say 'no' if a person touches them in an uncomfortable, embarrassing, confusing or frightening way. In our society, parents often teach children to obey adults. Unfortunately, in over 90 percent of sexual abuse cases the people abusing children are individuals the child is familiar with.
- Parents should teach children that under certain circumstances, it is OK to tell adults or persons of authority 'no.' Parents should teach their child how to identify adults they can trust and go to if they are touched in a way they shouldn't be.
- Use teachable moments to discuss sexual issues (TV, music or current events). Play "What if" games with your child to practice decision making. For example, "What if your uncle was touching you and you did not like it? What would you say and do?"
- Assure children it is not their fault if someone touches them or makes them touch another person in a questionable way.
"Addressing good touches and bad touches is something adults should go over with their children more than once," said Kelly-Molander. "Talk with your child on a regular basis. Encourage your child to share what is happening in their lives." To learn more about St. Luke's Child Protection Center or the SAFETOUCH program call (319) 369-7908.