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Kempe Foundation

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Children's Hospital Colorado -




The more we share our research, findings, expertise and experience, the more we can empower others to help children in need.

What is START?

A service of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, START is a Multidisciplinary State And Regional Team (START) of Expert Consultants. START provides interdisciplinary case consultation for highly complex, protracted or difficult child abuse and neglect cases. The consultation team can involve experts from many disciplines including but not limited to medicine, nursing, behavioral health addiction treatment, law, ethics, psychology and clinical social work. In Colorado, CDHS has contracted to secure START Consults at no charge to Colorado counties. Outside of Colorado, financial arrangements can be made with the Kempe Center to secure this service. See our brochure.

Independent evaluations show:

  • 100% of referring professionals obtain “missing expertise” needed to address their cases. 
  • Over 90% of the time, questions were resolved and confidence about the course of the case was improved.
  • In about a third of cases referred, the course of action was changed as a result of information developed through the START consultation.
  • Much of the time, the referring professionals are reinforced in the course of action already chosen, often with additional medical, psychological, child development, legal, or social research that supports the decision.

What can you expect from the START Program?

  • Expert knowledge from disciplines including medicine, nursing, behavioral and addiction treatment, law, ethics, psychology and social work.
  • Demonstration of the power of practice using interdisciplinary teams while helping address current difficult child abuse and neglect cases.
  • Mentorship through examples of how to productively engage persons from different communities, including the communities of science and law.

Who can refer a case?

  • County Departments of Human Services/Child Protection
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • District Attorneys

Helpful tips for START Program Referrals
  1. The team suggests you invite the multidisciplinary decision-making team working with the family you are referring to the consultation. Based on experience, it is most helpful when the team attends a consultation together, for the entire meeting to experience the process together.
  2. START serves as a professional consultation and typically does not include family or caregivers.
  3. Before making a referral, feel free to call the START Coordinator:
  • You have a question about whether a case is appropriate to refer
  • One on one consultation with an expert is also available for specific case-related questions. You may not need to complete the entire referral process!