About the Denver SAFE Center
The Denver SAFE Center houses the coordinated services of Denver Health, the Denver Department of Human Services, the Denver Police Department, the Denver District Attorney's Office, and the Denver Children's Advocacy Center to evaluate cases of alleged child abuse and neglect, and to collaborate for prevention of child maltreatment in the City and County of Denver.
Who should see a SAFE Center physician?
Patients are referred to our clinic from other medical providers, human services and law enforcement. Concerns for abuse or neglect should be reported to the DHS Hotline at 1-844-CO4-KIDS. Denver Health medical staff will partner with DHS and law enforcement to arrange for non-urgent medical evaluations.
Urgent or emergent medical needs should be addressed in an urgent care or emergency department setting. Urgent or emergent safety concerns should be reported by calling 9-1-1.
- Outpatient examinations of children (up to age 18) at the request of law enforcement and human services for concerns of physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. This includes initial examinations for children placed out of home
- Inpatient examinations of children within the Denver Health system
- Nursing case management for high-risk families referred by the DDHS
- Medical passport services for children in out-of-home placement, including gathering extensive health histories and provision of nursing case management
Outpatient Medical Evaluations
Denver Department of Human Services and the Denver Police Department refer children to the SAFE Center for medical evaluation to help assess concerns for abuse and neglect. The medical providers and staff at the SAFE Center serve only pediatric patients, and are specially trained to care for children who may have experienced trauma. Similar to a general pediatric visit, the medical evaluation includes gathering history from the child’s caregiver, gathering a history from the child, a head-to-toe physical exam, laboratory testing and x-rays if needed, providing routine safety and health advice, and partnering with the child and caregiver to develop a treatment plan.
Initial health and safety exams are also performed for children entering out-of-home placement (foster or kinship care) through the Denver Department of Human Services. This allows any urgent medical or treatment needs to be met before the child establishes care with our colleagues at then Denver Health Connections for Kids Clinic.
Medical Consultation Services
The medical providers at the SAFE Center also serve as on-call and in-person resources for medical staff in the Denver Health Emergency Department, on the inpatient pediatric services, and in the outpatient clinics. Calls from within the Denver Health system may result in recommendations for further medical evaluation, recommendations for reporting to law enforcement or DHS, or arrangement for direct medical evaluation by a child abuse provider.
Nurse Family Wellness Program
In partnership with Denver Department of Human Services, Denver Health has developed the Nurse Home Wellness Program to offer in-home support services to high risk families with children ages birth-12 years, and those expecting a new delivery. These services are offered voluntarily to families, often in cases where a DHS investigation is not necessary. The goal of this program is to provide family-specific resources and education to help prevent future involvement with DHS and law enforcement. Interventions include assisting families in accessing and navigating the healthcare system, providing education about health conditions and medications, connecting families with community resources for basic needs (housing, food, etc.), and helping to encourage healthy, age-specific parenting skills.
The Nurse Family Wellness Program also acts as a resource for DHS caseworkers to help understand the medical concerns for children referred to DHS or in DHS custody.
Medical Passport Program
Children experiencing family separation as a result of DHS involvement may experience frequent moves between homes and healthcare providers. Through an electronic database, the Medical Passport Program Team facilitates communication between the healthcare system and DHS for children who are in out-of-home placement (foster or kinship care). The availability of up-to-date health information for case workers and foster/kinship families prevents children receiving duplicate vaccines and medical procedures, and ensures that these children have all necessary medications, paperwork, and referrals for continued care.
Our team is committed to providing quality health care and empowering families to achieve better health outcomes. Our mission is to build on family strengths and help bridge the gap in interpreting the level of medical needs. We work to build cohesive relationships with our families and professional partners through our clinical team and nurse outreach program.
|Team Member||Role||Professional Interests|
Coral Steffey, MD
||Prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, medical education|
|Sarah Eckhart, PNP||
||Prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training, human trafficking prevention and victim care|
|Cherie Nuanes, PA-C||
||Emergency medical care, patient and family education|
||Interagency collaboration, family education and health literacy|
||Family education and health literacy, coordination of medical care|
||Community resource partnerships, program development|
||Patient experience, interagency collaboration|
||Patient advocacy and experience, patient education|
||Patient advocacy and experience, child behavior and development|
||Foster health, continuity of care|