Given the vulnerability of the child psychiatric population, this study examined whether parenting a child referred to a child and adolescent psychiatry department leads to a higher risk of physical child abuse and if that risk is associated with a specific child psychopathology. The clinical sample consisted of caregivers with a six-to-11-year-old child who consulted child and adolescent psychiatry for a psychiatric assessment. The Dutch Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAPI), socio-demographic data and child psychiatric diagnosis were collected from 59 caregivers of 59 children. Ten per cent of the sample obtained an Abuse scale score indicative of a potential risk for physically maltreating their child. Compared to a non-clinical sample, this study showed a two and a half times higher risk potential for physical child abuse in caregivers with children referred to child and adolescent psychiatry. The elevated risk was not associated with a specific child psychiatric diagnosis. The caregivers at risk were more unhappy and experienced more problems with their child, their family and with others. Results support the need for implementing a standard risk assessment for physical child abuse in a child psychiatric setting.