What Should We Expect?
What happens at the Child Advocacy Center?
The Child Advocacy Center is a safe, child friendly location for children to speak with trained interviewers or one of our medical providers. This can be an anxious time for you and your family. A child advocate will do their best to reach you before the interview or medical evaluation to answer any questions you may have.
We work with a team of professionals including law enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services, county attorneys, therapists and other non-profit agencies. During your visit you will be able to meet many of the professionals working with you and your child, and ask them further questions.
While you are talking to the team, one of our advocates will show your child(ren) around the Child Advocacy Center. They will get to see the room where they will be talking to their interviewer or visiting with a doctor. This will be their chance to get familiar with the process and ask any questions they might have.
Who will my child talk to?
Your child will be talking to one of our specialized forensic interviewers. Forensic interviewers are trained to ask questions in an open ended, developmentally appropriate, and non-leading manner. Forensic interviewers receive ongoing training to ensure quality and best practice standards are upheld.
Interviews take place in one of our child friendly interview rooms. Each room is equipped with comfortable seating and recording equipment. Your child(ren) will choose the room they feel most comfortable in to meet with their forensic interviewer.
Will I be able to watch my child’s interview?
Only professionals directly involved with the investigation observe the interview. This provides the most neutral setting for the child to be able to speak freely. Professionals directly involved in the investigation include law enforcement, the department of health and human services (DHHS) and county attorneys. The team members have the responsibility of observing, assessing, and investigating the allegations. In order to keep the team’s focus on the child, caregivers are not permitted in the observation room.
All interviews at the Child Advocacy Center are recorded to minimize the number of times a child will have to talk about the allegations. The recording of the interview is released to law enforcement and/or a prosecuting attorney if requested. To ensure complete confidentiality, the recording is not otherwise released without a court order.
What will I be doing while my child is in the interview or medical evaluation?
During the time your child is meeting with the forensic interviewer or medical staff, you will be meeting with your child advocate. The advocate’s role is to offer support, answer questions, and provide you with referrals for other services you may be needing. Your advocate will be with you throughout the whole process at the Child Advocacy Center and will continue to follow up with you.
If you have other children with you during your visit, they are welcome to play in our lobby area so you can talk privately to your advocate.
What happens after the interview?
Following the interview, you will meet with the forensic interviewer, advocate, law enforcement, and department of health and human services. They will share information about the interview and next steps. A referral for medical or mental health services may be completed depending on the circumstances and information obtained in the interview.
If you have questions at any point during the investigation or prosecution of your child’s case, please contact your advocate.