What We Do

The TEDI BEAR Children’s Advocacy is the largest children’s advocacy center in North Carolina and is accredited to provide a full spectrum of assessment, treatment, education, and prevention to for children up to 18 years old who may have been victims of child abuse or neglect.

We are an accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance and a member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of North Carolina.

TEDI BEAR is one of hundreds of children’s advocacy centers throughout the United States. Children’s advocacy centers not only provide medical evaluation and care for children, but help to facilitate cooperation between the other healthcare, legal, social service, law enforcement, and mental health services that children need when they have been abused or neglected.

Founded in 1992, TEDI BEAR is a subspecialty clinic within the Department of Pediatrics, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. The Brody School of Medicine, together with ECU Health Medical Center, supports TEDI BEAR CAC, with assistance from major grant funding by the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission, the ECU Health Foundation, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and the National Children’s Alliance. Also, donations from civic organizations and individual benefactors provide critical support for TEDI BEAR.

TEDI BEAR’s staff – which consists of pediatricians, physician extenders, social workers, child life specialists, therapists, community educators, a multidisciplinary team coordinator, and office support staff – provides comprehensive, coordinated child-centered services, education and outreach in order to ensure child safety.

The center provides a safe and friendly environment to help children, up to 18 years old, heal from the trauma that typically accompanies abuse or neglect. TEDI BEAR also provides assistance to the parents or other caregivers of abused children, if the caregivers have not committed or contributed to the child’s abuse. Alleged offenders are not permitted on premises.

Each year, TEDI BEAR cares for more than 600 children from 29 counties in eastern North Carolina.

Mental health services at child advocacy centers are provided by specially trained professionals who understand the psychological trauma that affects many abused and neglected children. This is often one of the most serious effects of abuse and neglect. TEDI BEAR’s therapists primarily use Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (PDF), which has been shown to be effective in helping abused children to heal.

Services for Children and Families at Our Center

When children and caregivers are referred to TEDI BEAR following alleged abuse, the child typically receives child advocacy services, a forensic interview, and a medical examination. Many children and their family members also receive family advocacy services and therapy at TEDI BEAR. These services are described below and you may follow the links for a more in-depth description.

Child Advocacy/Child Life

The child and his or her caregiver first meet with a trained Child Life Advocate who will describe the assessment process, answer any questions, and help to ensure that the child’s needs are met. At first, many children and caregivers are nervous about going through the assessment process. The Child Life Advocate helps them to feel more relaxed, confident, and supported. Visit the Child Advocacy/Child Life page for more information.

Family Advocacy

The Family Advocate primarily works with caregivers after the completion of TEDI BEAR Child Medical Evaluations and hospital consults. The FA provides support and information to caregivers by phone and necessary assistance to ensure family members are able to access recommended and available interventions to link families to concrete services. Visit the Family Advocacy page for more information.

Forensic Interviewing

In most cases, the child is interviewed to learn more about the alleged abuse. This interview is conducted by a TEDI BEAR staff member with special training in how children of different ages think, feel, and communicate. It is recorded on video so that the child will not have to repeat this painful information more than necessary during the investigation process. With the child’s and caregiver’s consent, the interview may also be observed over closed-circuit television by law enforcement and other appropriate professionals. The child’s caregiver is interviewed separately. The interview may also be used to help with the child’s medical evaluation. Visit the Forensic Interviewing page for more information.

Medical Examination

A medical examination identifies any signs of physical trauma, ensures that any lab work or other tests are performed, and evaluates the child’s overall health. This exam is conducted by a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse practitioner with special training in child abuse evaluation.

The medical examination is non-invasive, and is provided to assess the child’s health. The exam may also require the completion of laboratory work.

At TEDI BEAR, most exams are external and there are no painful procedures. Examinations are completed by a pediatrician or physician extender with special training in the treatment of children.

A child life specialist helps children to understand the process, and accompanies them during the exam. This helps to reduce their anxiety. Also, because TEDI BEAR is a child-centered facility, older children may be permitted to decide whether to have a parent or other adult accompany them during the examination.

Individual and Family Therapy

Many children and their non-offending caregivers benefit from therapy to heal from childhood trauma. TEDI BEAR has therapists whose special training in child abuse allows them to help victims and family members to resolve the trauma and move forward in their recovery. Visit the Individual and Family Therapy page for more information.

Services for Professionals and Communities

Much of TEDI BEAR’s work focuses on training others to better address child abuse. These include our colleagues in healthcare, social services, law enforcement, and other professions, as well as students, families, and other people who care about kids. TEDI BEAR also works throughout eastern North Carolina to bring training, prevention, and follow up services to communities.

Community Outreach & Multidisciplinary Teams

Community-based multidisciplinary teams serve children who are alleged victims of child sexual abuse throughout eastern North Carolina. This team approach facilitates collaboration among professionals from various disciplines within each community. The goal is to enhance the system’s response to child abuse, and to facilitate recovery for child abuse victims. Visit the Community Outreach & Multidisciplinary Teams page for more information.

ECU Professional Education

TEDI BEAR helps train others at East Carolina University who are beginning careers in caring for children. For example, physicians who are completing their residency training in pediatrics regularly spend time at TEDI BEAR learning how to identify and treat the effects of child abuse and neglect. Similarly, students enrolled in ECU’s Child Life programs may perform their internship and practicums at TEDI BEAR. TEDI BEAR staff also provide training for ECU students enrolled in nursing, dentistry, social work, and criminal justice programs to help them better understand and prevent child abuse.

Community Education

TEDI BEAR’s educators provide training in child sexual abuse recognition, response, and prevention for professionals and non-professionals at schools, churches, day care centers, mental health agencies, and many other organizations. This training uses the Stewards of Children curriculum, and is provided at no charge. Nurses, educators, therapists, social workers, law enforcement professionals and others can use the training to help meet their continuing education requirements.

TEDI BEAR also encourages community members to take advantage of other educational opportunities, including free online training in child abuse and child trafficking.