Child Abuse & Treatment

The Metropolitan Regional Child Abuse Diagnostic and Treatment Center is dedicated to working with children, families, and agencies to help heal children and families that experience child sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and violence. The Metro RDTC is one of New Jersey’s four state-designated multidisciplinary centers for the evaluation and treatment of abused and neglected children. We primarily serve children and families who reside in Essex County. We deliver a coordinated response of evidence-based mental health and medical services to children, parents, and caregivers, and train and educate professionals and the community to prevent all forms of abuse and neglect. Care is provided in a culturally-competent manner.

Our team of physicians, social workers and psychologists are experts in the field of child maltreatment. They work closely with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), the county prosecutor’s offices, the Office of the Public Defender Division of the Law Guardian, as well as hospitals, physicians, the courts, community groups and other organizations dedicated to restoring the health and well-being of abused and neglected children throughout New Jersey.


Medical Evaluations (Child Physical Abuse/Child Neglect/Child Sexual Abuse)

Caring for a child abuse victim requires a thoughtful and experienced team approach that considers the psychological and medical needs of the child, as well as the needs of the family. The Metro RDTC delivers highly sensitive care. Our expert pediatric team evaluates and treats children of all ages who are victims of all types of abuse. Diagnosis is the first step to helping a child and family heal.

Comprehensive Health Evaluation for Children (CHEC)

All children entering foster homes, residential treatment and kinship homes must receive a CHEC evaluation within 30 days of placement, as mandated by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The Metro RDTC provides a full CHEC evaluation which includes a comprehensive medical exam, substance abuse screening, and mental health assessment. The purpose of the CHEC evaluation is to provide a snap-shot of the child’s functioning and offer accurate information about the health and well-being of a child, and to identify difficulties and strengths of the child to resource parents, the Division, and health providers. Our pediatricians and mental health professionals identify the child’s needs and recommend appropriate services. All CHEC evaluations take place at the RDTC CHEC Program at the Family Health Center, located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Generally CHEC evaluations are provided in one four-hour visit for older children and one or two visits for younger children.

As part of the comprehensive health evaluation, a Metro RDTC pediatrician and a mental health professional will review the child’s medical history, including all school records, immunization records and Division evaluations. The CHEC evaluation includes an age-appropriate medical examination and lab screenings, for example, testing for lead poisoning, anemia, and sexually transmitted diseases. The evaluation includes assessment of development, growth and nutrition, vision and hearing screening tests, and a dental health assessment. The CHEC examination allows resource parents, case workers, family court judges, law guardians, and health providers to coordinate care and treatment to best meet the needs of the child.CHEC evaluations are scheduled by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency Local Office Child Health Unit.

The Division must provide the CHEC program with the Division’s recent case summary, the child’s immunization record(s) from daycare, school, and/or from pediatricians or clinics, other previous medical records, school information such as Child Study Team evaluations and Individual Education Plans, and any other medical or specialty records that are made available within the child’s first 30 days in out of home placement. Whenever possible, resource parents (foster care providers) should be present or available for some or all of the CHEC evaluation, and the child’s Division caseworker must be present.

To arrange a CHEC evaluation, appointments are scheduled through the CHEC Program Coordinator at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
Phone: 973 926-2371 Fax: 973 926-6687

Family Life Education Center (FLEC)

The Metro RDTC’s Family Life Education Center (FLEC) provides training and education regarding developmentally appropriate parenting and child abuse prevention to the community-at-large. Referrals are accepted from any agency or organization, as well as by parents who have been referred by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency because of physical abuse and/or risk of abuse and neglect.

FLEC’s wide array of services include evidence-based parenting skills training, support groups for teen girls, young parents, and a combined support group for parents and children who have experienced family violence. Services also include community presentations related to parenting, child development, domestic violence, and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

The FLEC program staff includes bi-lingual mental health clinicians who are available to provide community outreach. FLEC staff participates in community health fairs and provide workshops at local agencies and churches. Support groups and workshops can be conducted in local high schools or at other community sites in order to best meet the needs of requesting agencies.

Presentation topics can include:

  • Recognizing Domestic Violence & Dating Violence
  • The Young Parents’ Survival Kit
  • Parenting Teenagers and Adolescents
  • Handling Bullies and Bullying
  • Building Career Skills for Young Women
  • Managing Stress, Anger and Frustration
  • Positive Discipline for Positive Results

To request a talk or workshop for your community group, school or organization, please contact the FLEC program at 973-926-4300.

Mental Health Services

Mental Health Services at the Metro RDTC are led by specially trained social workers and psychologists who are skilled at working with children to assess child sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. Mental health evaluations are part of the services provided for children who have been abused or neglected.The Metro RDTC’s skilled teams of experts in child maltreatment conduct mental health evaluations to identify behavioral and emotional symptoms consistent with child abuse and neglect. In addition to assessing the specific allegations of child abuse or neglect, we evaluate for the presence of maltreatment related risk factors and stressors in the child’s life, such as poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, and safety concerns.

The goal of the mental health evaluation is geared to assessing a child mental status, the presence of trauma related symptoms as well as to recommend appropriate treatment and services to ensure the child’s emotional well-being and safety. Understanding the child’s family life, health history, school experiences and possible symptoms are important in assessing for emotional trauma. In the child-friendly environment of the Child Advocacy Center, the Metro RDTC mental health professionals conduct separate interviews with the Division caseworker, the parent, and the child.

After the evaluation is complete, RDTC staff provides a final report to the referring agency. When unclear allegations of sexual abuse are present a more in depth mental health evaluation is conducted to clarify what may or may not have happened to the child. The Metro RDTC mental health professionals assess children for symptoms specific to trauma, such as flashbacks, recurrent thoughts of abuse, fear of future abuse, depression and other symptoms.

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