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Lawmakers seek answers regarding face-to-face child abuse exams in Palm Beach County

Posted at 6:57 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 19:00:10-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Lawmakers want to know why the child protection team of Palm Beach County has stopped in-person medical examinations of children who are suspected victims of abuse.

The child protection team has protective equipment, like masks and gloves, on hand to conduct the exams.

State Sen. Lori Berman was made aware of the issues earlier this week.

On Thursday, she sent a letter to Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees to explicitly direct the child protection team to do exams in person, instead of over the phone or through a teleconference.

“Maybe they’re allowed to do consultations. But if they were doing face-to-face all along, what motivated them to change? It may be legally allowed but maybe the best practice is to continue to do the face-to-face that they had already started with and that was the standard industry practice,” said Berman.

The child protection team is required by law to conduct medical exams of suspected victims of child abuse, and taxpayers refund them the cost for each one.

Below is the full letter sent from Berman to Rivkees: