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October 4, 2010

Child Protective Services Has Outlived Its Usefulness

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(10):978-979. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.175

The concept of Child Protective Services (CPS) was idealistic when it first came into being in the early 1970s. Following the lead of Henry Kempe and colleagues at the University of Colorado, pediatric centers began putting together multidisciplinary teams to evaluate infants and children with suspected inflicted injuries. Initially the task of identifying nonaccidental trauma was relatively straightforward because it was the classic “battered child” that was among most frequent diagnoses. (That is, the classic picture was an infant or child with multiple fractures incurred at varying ages, often coexisting with failure to thrive, and a mother who was depressed. It would be 1 or more decades before other forms of maltreatment like sexual abuse, Munchausen by proxy, and intimate-partner violence were “discovered.”)

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