Penn State donates more than $2.6 million to abuse prevention efforts

Penn State has infused more than $1.1 million into its newly established Center for the Protection of Children, based at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. That figure is more than twice the amount promised in December, when creation of the center was announced. The University also donated $1.5 million in December to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR).

The money comes from Penn State's share of the Big Ten bowl funds distribution, which totaled $2,616,184.

"Back in December, we estimated that we would have $500,000 available from our football bowl revenues after deducting the $1.5 million we promised to PCAR, so that's what we earmarked as start-up funding for the center," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "Our bowl revenue came in higher than expected, which is tremendous news, so we were able to provide the additional funding. We expect that the center will become a national leader in clinical care, research, education and direction of policy related to child abuse and neglect."

Dr. Andrea Taroli, director of the Center for the Protection of Children and one of about 240 board-certified child abuse pediatricians nationwide, said the additional funding will enable the center to get up to speed much more quickly. "I am very excited that Penn State has enabled the Center to have a solid foundation upon which to build," Taroli said. Penn State Hershey put together an ambitious agenda for the center, and the additional funding means plans can move forward more quickly to establish an alliance of clinicians, scientists, legal scholars and educators to focus on improving detection, treatment and prevention of child maltreatment, Taroli said.

“As the only children's hospital serving central Pennsylvania, our Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital has a special responsibility to protect the health and well-being of children, and this new center enhances our ability to do justthat," said Dr. Harold L. Paz, chief executive officer, Penn State's senior vice president for health affairs, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine. "Bringing the resources of our academic medical center to bear on the problem of child maltreatment is an important way in which we can fulfill our mission to serve our community and our commonwealth.”

The center will focus widely on issues related to child maltreatment. Faculty members within the College of Medicine already are recognized nationally and internationally for their work on behalf of children and their families, and now plan to accelerate those efforts.

Some areas of particular focus for faculty within the new center include the creation of a foster child primary care clinic; development of a system of data collection; the launch of educational programs for professionals, teachers and the general public; the creation of multidisciplinary courses for medical students; existing and new opportunities for research into diagnosis and treatment of child abuse; advocacy and policy recommendations; trauma-focused psychological therapy; a medical-legal partnership with Penn State Law; and the creation of a Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship.

In addition to the Medical Center and College of Medicine, several other areas of the University have been identified as potential early collaborators:

-- Penn State Law and its Children's Advocacy Clinic, which provides legal advice for children who are abused or neglected, as well as those involved in other civil court actions such as adoption, domestic violence and custody matters. The clinic takes a multidisciplinary approach to addressing children's needs and consults with faculty across the University on the non-legal issues associated with its clients.

-- The Children, Youth and Families Consortium, a University-wide initiative that brings together more than 400 faculty, representing a range of disciplines (human development, the liberal arts, education, agriculture and medicine), that promote collaborative research, outreach and teaching to address critical social issues facing children, youth and families.

For more information on the center or to find out how to support these initiatives, go to http://www.pshcpc.psu.edu online.

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Last Updated May 03, 2012