Child Abuse Pediatrics

What does a Child Abuse Pediatrician do?
What are the career opportunities?
What Board, if any, certifies a Child Abuse Pediatrics ?
What is the lifestyle of a Child Abuse Pediatrician?
What is the compensation of a Child Abuse Pediatrician?
How do I become a Child Abuse Pediatrician ?
Where do I find out about available programs?
When do I apply?
Why should I choose to become a Child Abuse Pediatrician?
Faculty Contacts
Proposed Electives

What does a Child Abuse Pediatrician do?
Child Abuse Pediatricians are responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of infants, children and adolescents who are suspected victims of any form of child maltreatment.  This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, factitious illness (medical child abuse), neglect, and psychological/emotional abuse.  Patient care occurs in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.  Child Abuse Pediatricians participate in multidisciplinary collaborative work within the medical, child welfare, law enforcement, and judicial arenas, as well as in a variety of community-based efforts.  Child Abuse Pediatricians are often called to provide expert testimony in the court systems.  This field offers diverse opportunities for involvement and leadership roles in community, regional and national advocacy, and in prevention efforts and public policy.  Child Abuse Pediatricians are dedicated to improving the lives of children and strengthening families.

What are the career opportunities?
Most Child Abuse Pediatricians practice in academic pediatric settings, usually in a consultative role for patient care, and are responsible for education, research, quality improvement or administrative efforts within an academic health center.  However, there are other Child Abuse Pediatricians who practice in solely clinical settings such child advocacy centers, community hospitals and clinics.

What Board, if any, certifies Child Abuse Pediatrics?
Child Abuse Pediatricians are certified by the Sub-board for Child Abuse Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics.  Certification in General Pediatrics and completion of a 3-year, ACGME accredited Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship are required for eligibility to take the subspecialty board examination in Child Abuse Pediatrics.

What is the lifestyle of a Child Abuse Pediatrician?

Personal time and family life are essential to all physicians.  Most Child Abuse Pediatricians

balance the workload of complex medical care that may induce emotional stressors with a fulfilling personal life.  Patient care, court testimony, teaching, research, quality improvement or administrative responsibilities vary depending on the specific position.  In most centers, the ability to teach, conduct research or work on quality improvement provides academic enrichment that leads to a rewarding and balanced career and lifestyle.  Similarly, collaboration with other professionals on advocacy and prevention efforts provides the Child Abuse Pediatrician unique opportunities for professional achievement and personal accomplishment.

The Helfer Society offers a program called the Helfer Next Generation Program ( for trainees interested in learning more about a career in Child Abuse Pediatrics: special programming at Helfer Society annual meetings, longitudinal mentorship, and guidance from fellowship program directors.

What is the compensation of a Child Abuse Pediatrician?
Compensation is comparable to other academic pediatric subspecialties, but will vary depending on the geographic region, institution and specific responsibilities.

How do I become a Child Abuse Pediatrician?
Child Abuse Pediatrics training includes three years of fellowship in an accredited Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship program. Fellowship training includes medical evaluation of children with manifestations of acute and chronic child maltreatment, as well as children with a broad range of other diagnoses. The trainee develops expertise in forensic interpretation, determining non-accidental trauma and other forms of maltreatment, by developing excellent diagnostic expertise and knowledge of accidental trauma and various disorders which may mimic child maltreatment. Training will include mandatory reporting laws, legal proceedings, child abuse and family violence prevention, advocacy, teaching opportunities, clinical research and quality improvement.

Where do I find out about available programs?
Information about Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship training programs is available on The Ray E. Helfer Society and ACGME websites, as well as FREIDA and ERAS websites.  Specifically, the Helfer Next Generation Program invites trainees to explore the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics.

When do I apply?
Child Abuse Pediatrics participates in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) Pediatric Subspecialties Fall Match. Applications through ERAS open in early July of each year, with interviews through November.  The Match occurs in mid-December, before Fellowship begins the following July.

Why should I choose to become a Child Abuse Pediatrician?
Child Abuse Pediatrics is an exciting subspecialty of Pediatrics with opportunities for a broad clinical experience that includes multidisciplinary team work with medical and non-medical providers, contributions to investigative and legal proceedings, teaching a wide variety of audiences including medical and non-medical professionals, clinical research, quality improvement, program administration, as well as, prevention and advocacy work.  As a newer subspecialty of the American Board of Pediatrics, there is tremendous opportunity to shape the future of this field and contribute to the health, well-being and safety of children.

For more information about Child Abuse Pediatrics, visit these websites:

Ray Helfer Society
American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Child Abuse and Neglect

Subspecialty Journal
The Quarterly Update
Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal
Child Maltreatment
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse

Proposed Electives for a Resident Entering Child Abuse Pediatrics

Below is a list of suggested (not required) rotations that a resident could consider if they are planning to apply to Child Abuse Pediatrics.  This is not meant to be an all-inclusive curriculum, but rather a list to create a program that fits a resident's individual needs and interests.

  • Child Abuse Pediatrics
  • Foster Care Clinic
  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics – Children with Problem Behaviors Focus
  • Child Adolescent Psychiatry - Mental Health Therapy for Traumatized Children Focus
  • Pediatric Radiology / Neuroradiology
  • Pediatric Trauma Surgery / Burn Team
  • Pediatric Ophthalmology
  • Pediatric Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Toxicology
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Legislative and/or Community Advocacy
  • Pediatric Rehabilitative Medicine – Traumatic Brain Injury Focus
  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Pediatric Subspecialties: the need is huge, the careers are stimulating, and the rewards are amazing.
To access a recording of the 1 hour CoPS Pediatric Subspecialties Webinar Series on 5/17/21 featuring a panel discussion about careers in Pediatric Cardiology and then in Child Abuse Pediatricsplease use this link.

Return to Subspecialty Descriptions