Public Health Nursing in Children's Protective Services


Address correspondence to Jeanne D. Smart, Department of Health Services, 313 N. Figueroa #807, Los Angeles, CA 90020. E-mail:


This article describes the development and integration of a Los Angeles County, Department of Health Services, Public Health Nursing (PHN) program within the local Children's Protective Services (CPS) agency to assist the Children's Social Workers (CSWs) with their legally mandated health case management services. It summarizes the unique health needs of children who enter protective services, and explains why CPS agencies, often overwhelmed by an increasing number of cases and diminishing resources, have had difficulty providing necessary health care monitoring and oversight. Program evaluation data detailing PHN services during the first 2 years of program implementation gives valuable insight into their evolving role function within this new practice arena. Issues regarding the integration of disciplines, and the contribution of the PHNs to the CPS agency are discussed.