On the day of the interview your family will be greeted in the waiting room by a crisis service advocate. The role of the advocate is to provide information and support to you before, during and after the interview. They will also offer referrals to appropriate community resources.
The crisis service advocate will give you and your child a tour of the Child Advocacy Center. At this time, you and your child will have an opportunity to look at the interview room and be shown the camera and microphone. The interview of your child will be digitally recorded to assist with the investigation. The recording will be given to law enforcement and the Division for Children, Youth and Families. Families are not provided with a copy of the recording and interview recordings are not kept at the Child Advocacy Center.
Children will be able to view the Hands of Hope wall, a wall covered with the colorful handprints of children who have been interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center. Seeing the many handprints helps children realize they’re not the only ones who have been through a difficult situation.
Your child will be engaged in a game or introduced to other toys in the Child Advocacy Center waiting room. Teens will be engaged in conversation with the crisis service advocate or may be offered a magazine to read while waiting.
Parents will be introduced to all members of the investigative team. The interview process will be explained and you will be able to ask any questions you have.
Parents are not permitted to watch their child’s interview:
- If you watch the interview it can change your recollection of what your child said to you, possibly weakening the case.
- Children are less likely to be completely honest if they know that their parents are watching.
- It is important for caregivers to be in the best emotional space possible when they leave the Child Advocacy Center so they can support their child. If you watch the interview it can be very upsetting, leaving little emotional energy to care for your child.
After the interview the child is encouraged to put their hand print on the Wall of Hope. This is a fun activity that helps to the child transition from the interview to their regular day.
Parents will meet with the investigative team after the interview. The team will not provide you with every detail the child shared in the interview, but they will provide enough information to keep your child safe. You will be informed of the next steps in the investigation, your questions and concerns will be addressed, and you will leave with contact information for all the team members.