NEWS | January 25, 1999


Multidisciplinary teams combine the expertise of specialists in academic medicine, child welfare, and the criminal justice system to better safeguard children.


Vice President Al Gore, California Governor Gray Davis, Attorney General Lockyer and other elected officials from Washington, D.C. and California are participating in a round-table discussion with physicians, child welfare specialists and criminal justice representatives from UC Davis Medical Center and Sacramento County today to consider the needs of child abuse and crime victims and to highlight model programs.

 “The round-table discussion gives us the opportunity to highlight our innovative programs that have demonstrated their effectiveness in improving the lives of victims of child abuse and neglect,” says Marilyn Peterson, executive director of the UC Davis Child Protection Center and facilitator of the round-table discussion. “We believe these programs can help other communities throughout the nation better coordinate their response to women, children and families in need.”
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 The participants in the round-table discussion will suggest ways to improve the response to child abuse and neglect by highlighting model programs that can be replicated elsewhere in the United States. Many of these programs are multidisciplinary in nature, combining the expertise of specialists within state government, academic medicine, law enforcement agencies, and prosecuting attorney’s offices in the county. These programs include the California Medical Training Center, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Program, Child Physical Abuse Group Therapy Program Evidentiary Exam Program and Foster Care Health Program.


Facilitator:  Marilyn Peterson, Director  UC Davis Child Protection Center

Established in 1987, this UC Davis center serves over 3,000 children  annually. Its California Medical Training Center trains some 3,600    physicians, nurses, district attorneys, law enforcement specialists,  and social workers in the proper examination, documentation and    treatment of victims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse. The  center handles training for 48 counties in Northern California, a region    with a population of more than 13 million residents. 

Members: Anthony Urquiza, Ph.D.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Program
UC Davis Child Protection Center

A psychologist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of    children who have been sexually and physically abused or who are at    risk for abuse, Urquiza and his team evaluate 500 patients between the   ages of two and seven each year. He provides training to both health-care professionals and family members, and conducts research on effective interventions to improve the parent-child relationship and to prevent abuse. His novel Parent-Child Interaction Program has successfully trained over 200 families, giving parents and other caregivers specific tools to help them manage behavioral crises and encourage appropriate behaviors in children. He and his staff also oversee the Child Physical Abuse Group Therapy Program, a treatment that helps abused children develop a positive self-image and    better skills at making and keeping friends.

Angela Rosas, M.D.
UC Davis Child Protection Center

Dr. Rosas is a pediatrician who provides medical and psychological    care for abused and neglected children. A specialist in medical     evidentiary exams, she sets standards to ensure the careful evaluation    and meticulous documentation of children’s injuries, which are crucial    to incriminating offenders in court. She trains health-care and law    enforcement professionals to coordinate their efforts to work as part of   a multidisciplinary team, and conducts research to improve the care of crime victims. She and her team conduct 1,500 acute exams each year.

Laura Coulthard
Program Manager
Child Protective Services, Sacramento

Coulthard oversees the county’s emergency response branch, a    division that receives 3,000 calls, handles 700 investigations, and    places 200 children in foster care every month. Coulthard and other top-ranking county officials collaborate with UC Davis Child  Protection Center specialists on the Foster Care Health Program, an    initiative designed to meet the unmet health needs of abused and neglected children and adults placed in foster care. Started in July 1998, the program provides comprehensive medical care as well as     screening and referral for developmental, mental health and dental    problems.

Marv Stern, Supervising Deputy
District Attorney’s Office, Sacramento

A prosecuting attorney for the child abuse unit, Stern specializes in the conviction of criminals involved in child homicides and in physical and   sexual abuse cases. Multidisciplinary teams have greatly improved the   ability for successful prosecutions, which traditionally have been the    most difficult cases to prosecute. Using data from medical     examinations, photographs of children’s injuries, as well as videotaped   interviews and evidence collected from children, this unit has had a 90    percent conviction rate for the abuse cases tried in court.

  Kathy Dewante, Detective
  Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department

  A 18-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department,    detective Dewante is one of eight officers who specialize in the     
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3-3-3        Round-table discussion

  investigation of crimes against children under the age of 15. The    majority of cases handled by this division involves the sexual abuse of   children, but the detail is also responsible for investigating seriously    injured children and all instances of child death, including shaken baby  syndrome, sudden infant death syndrome, and other injuries to    children that appear suspicious in the form of abuse.

Cheryl Mouras-Ashby, Chief
Violence Against Children Branch
Office of Criminal Justice Planning

The Office of Criminal Justice Planning is the lead agency in the state that addresses crime prevention, crime suppression and criminal   justice planning. The Governor has directed the agency to provide    financial and technical assistance to agencies in California to protect the   public’s safety and to support services for crime victims through a    more effective criminal justice system. UC Davis Child Protection    Center is one of 20 projects funded under the agency’s Child Abuse    Treatment Program.

Sharon English
Deputy Director
California Youth Authority

English manages victims services for the California Youth Authority.

Tosca Tousant
Advocate for Victims
Parents of Murdered Children and Victims of Hate Crimes

Cindy Ames
Victim of Arson

Officials: Vice President Al Gore   Governor Gray Davis

Raymond Fischer    Attorney General Lockyer
U.S. Associate Attorney General  State of California
U.S. Dept. of Justice    

Kathleen Connell    U.S. Congressman     California State Controller   Bob Matsui             
Antonio Villaraigosa    Darlene Ayres-Johnson
Speaker of California Assembly  Executive Officer
        State Board of Control        


Marilyn Peterson, MSW   Facilitated round-table discussion
Executive Director    
UC Davis Child Protection Center

Anthony Urquiza, Ph.D.   Participated in round-table discussion
Program Director    Runs model behavior modification program
Parent-Child Interaction Program
UC Davis Child Protection Center

Angela Rosas, M.D.    Specialist in medical evidentiary exams
UC Davis Child Protection Center

Nancy Zebell, Ph.D.    Runs model behavior modification program
Parent-Child Interaction Program
UC Davis Child Protection Center
Connie Mitchell, M.D.   Specialist in domestic violence
Emergency Medicine Specialist
UC Davis Child Protection Center

Nancy Joye, M.D.     Specialist in child abuse and neglect
UC Davis Child Protection Center

Dawna Eastep    Graduate of the Parent-Child Interaction  
Mother of two special needs children program who is now enrolled in nursing