The Kempe Center celebrates 50 years of protecting the world’s children

Over the past 50 years, The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect changed the culture of children’s rights around the world. Founded in 1972, the Kempe Center has become the first of its kind, providing research, training, education, and innovative program development for all forms of child abuse, neglect, and trauma.

German-born C. Henry Kempe, MD, fled to the United States during the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1930s. In his new home, he learned to speak English and excelled in school, eventually earning a medical degree and becoming the youngest president of the Department of Pediatrics to University of Colorado School of Medicine. As a young doctor, Kempe became the first member of the American medical community to identify and recognize child abuse.

“My dad was like a steam engine at work – he was moving all the time and

letting no obstacle stand in his way. – Allison Kempe, MD

Kempe founded the center, originally known as the National Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, with his wife, Ruth Kempe. In 1962, he and his colleagues, including former UC medical pioneers Brandt F. Steel, MD, and Henry Silver, MD, published “The Battered Children Syndrome,” a groundbreaking study that highlighted light a societal scourge that had been lurking for a long time. in the dark.

“Driven by his desire to help children”

Thanks to Kempe’s efforts, child abuse reporting laws now exist in all 50 U.S. states. Kempe’s work led to the passage of the 1972 Colorado law requiring an attorney for the child in all cases of alleged child abuse. In 1976, the Kempe Foundation was established to lead fundraising, awareness and advocacy efforts for children.

C.Henry Kempe, MD

“My dad was like a steam engine at work — pushing forward all the time and letting nothing stand in his way,” said Allison Kempe, MD, MPH/MSPH, professor of pediatrics at CU School of Medicine. and director of Adult and Children’s Center for Outcomes Research and Delivery Science (AGREEMENTS).

“He accomplished so much more than most people in a day and was extremely driven by his desire to help children,” added Allison Kempe, one of the five daughters. “I was lucky enough to see him both in a professional area where he was impressive and in a personal area where he was loving and gentle.”

Now at CU School of Medicine, the mission of the Kempe Center remains unchanged: to help children heal, grow and learn, and to support their families, while offering hope for a better future.

“These are all our children”

“The Kempe Center has helped change the culture of children’s rights in our country and around the world,” said Annie Kempe, another of Kempe’s daughters, a retired occupational therapist in Santa Barbara, California. The center has inspired widespread recognition that children have fundamental rights to safety. , health and safety as well as education, nutrition and medical care, she said.

Her father felt a personal responsibility for all children and encouraged all citizens to share that responsibility, said Annie Kempe, who wrote a book about her father’s legacy. “He was like, ‘These are all our children.'”

Today, the Kempe Center provides students at CU Anschutz with the opportunity to conduct research and learn the skills needed to diagnose, treat, and prevent child abuse and neglect. Programs include the Child Protection Team and CARE Network (Kempe serves as a resource center providing training and mentoring), a group of physicians, physicians, psychologists, physician assistants, nurses practitioners, nurses and licensed behavioral health providers who provide support and care to children suspected of being victims of abuse or neglect.

Laura Schwab Reese receives

50th Anniversary Kempe Lecture Award

In mid-June, Laura Schwab Reese, PhD, Berger postdoctoral fellow at the Kempe Center from 2015 to 2017, received the 50th Anniversary Kempe Lecture Award for her achievements on behalf of the center.

At a ceremony in Tallinn, Estonia, she received the award from the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN), which for 45 years has created and disseminated knowledge about child abuse in worldwide. ISPCAN and the Kempe Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine share C. Henry Kempe’s vision of building a global community to protect children.

Richard Krugman, MD, professor emeritus in CU’s Department of Pediatrics and former dean of CU’s medical school, said he wants his former mentor to remember him as a pioneer who created an approach multidisciplinary center for the recognition, treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

“The Kempe Center tested programs and exported them if they worked and flagged them if they didn’t, so others wouldn’t have to try to repeat the failure,” Krugman said. , a former director of the center.

“The future of our children and the future of the world are one”

The center’s leadership in advocacy, research, education and clinical work leads to innovative strategies that transform the field and strengthen families and the communities and systems that serve them, said Annie Kempe.

“Among professionals working in the field of child abuse and neglect, the Kempe Center has long been considered a touchstone and resource for teaching, education, sharing ideas, awareness and cultural distinctions, journal publishing and global gatherings and meetings,” she said. .

“In our society, the Kempe Center serves to remind us of our responsibilities to protect the vulnerable – our children – and their needs and rights here in Colorado and everywhere,” she said. At its 50th anniversary, the center’s vision remains aligned with C. Henry Kempe’s overriding passion: “The future of our children and the future of the world are one.

Guest Contributor: Lasy Phanthalangsy-Johnson is Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the Kempe Center.

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