Abuse disclosure takes bravery.
Now your child needs you to be brave - and report the abuse to begin the healing. If you have been notified that your child has an appointment for a forensic interview, we understand that you may have a lot of questions.
We are here to help.
Please note, direct referrals from a parent cannot be accepted. Such concerns must first be reported to Law Enforcement or Child Protection Services in the jurisdiction area where the alleged abuse occurred. If appropriate, a referral will then be made to us. We are only able to accept referrals from Law Enforcement and Child Protection Services.
Q: How long will the interview last?
A: Interview duration generally depends on your child's age.
Children's attention spans last approximately five minutes per chronological age during the interview process. For example, an interview for a three-year-old child may take 15 to 20 minutes. Interviewers are vigilant about respecting a child's need to be done talking and will end the interview at the appropriate time.
Q: Will I be able to watch the interview?
A: Parents do not participate in or watch the interview.
Parents do not sit with their child during the interview, nor do they watch the interview with the investigative team. This is your time to meet with our Child and Family Advocate. The Advocate will help answer any questions and help connect you and your child to any needed resources.
Q: Who will be present for the interview?
A: In many cases, child protection caseworkers and law enforcement are present at CAC during the interview.
They will be watching on a closed circuit TV in a separate room to ensure that all necessary information is gathered. Any alleged offender is prohibited from being on site during the interview.
Q: What does "Multi-Disciplinary Team" mean?
A: A key component of our work is the multi-disciplinary team approach.
This means that investigative and intervention services are coordinated to create a child-focused method of proceeding with child abuse cases. This team approach is designed from the child's point of view to help minimize the trauma of child abuse investigation and promote the healing process. The Multi-Disciplinary Team includes representation from: Law Enforcement, Child Protective Services, Prosecution, Mental Health Services, Medical Professionals, Victim Advocacy Services, and Children's Home Child Advocacy Center.
Q: Will this be the only time my child has to be interviewed?
A: Usually, your child will be interviewed by CAC once.
In rare circumstances, more than one interview may be necessary. The caseworker, detectives, or both will discuss the situation if the need arises. The recorded interview can be used in court and adds to a child's credibility, should they have to testify. The interview does not replace the child's testimony in court. Further legal or court appearances may still be necessary.
Q: What happens after the interview?
A: What happens next varies case by case.
When your child is done, the interviewer will bring your child back to the waiting room. Your team will meet briefly to discuss the information disclosed and how to best help you and your child with next steps. You will have time to ask any questions you may have.
Q: Who pays for services at CAC?
A: You will not receive a bill for the interview.
If a medical examination is completed, the health care provider will bill your medical insurance and/or Medicaid for any medical services provided. You will not be responsible for co-pays at the time of your visit, though we do ask you to bring your child's insurance card or Medicaid card to the appointment.
Q: Are you accredited?
A: Yes! We complete the accreditation process every five years.
We are accredited by National Children's Alliance (NCA). Accredited membership in NCA requires that programs meet specific standards to ensure effective, efficient, and consistent delivery of services by children's advocacy centers to child abuse victims throughout the country. Accredited centers must meet the national standards in each of these key areas: Multi-Disciplinary Team, Cultural Competency and Diversity, Forensic Interview, Victim Support and Advocacy, Medical Evaluation, Mental Health, Case Review, Case Tracking, Organizational Capacity, and Child-Focused Setting.
Together, we can help begin the healing.