Child Advocacy Center: Information For Parents

Before the official interview, a team member will talk with you to learn about your child. Your child will then be taken to a separate room to complete the forensic interview. The interviewer may be male or female.
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Forensic Interview

The forensic interview will be:

  • Confidential
  • Video-recorded and observed by the rest of the professionals on the multidisciplinary team
  • Child-sensitive and nonthreatening

Caregivers are typically not allowed to observe the interview because it is part of the investigation.

Child and Family Advocacy

While your child is being interviewed, you will meet with a Child and Family Advocate who will:

  • Provide you with information about abuse, how it may affect your child and family, and what you can do to help
  • Provide you with referral information to helpful community resources
  • Make mental health referrals as needed for your family members
  • Provide ongoing information and support to you and your child during the investigative process

After the interview, you and your child may discuss medical care and concerns with a pediatric nurse and provider. Your child may have a medical exam at the Center to ensure overall health.

Medical Exam

Your child may be offered a medical exam at the center to ensure overall health. This is often a first step in your child's healing process as it can provide reassurance and let them know that their body is okay. The medical exam will entail:

  • A discussion of your child's medical history, family history, medications and social history
  • A weight, height and blood pressure check
  • A head-to-toe check-up of your child by a pediatric provider
  • Recommendations for your child's overall health

The provider may use an instrument called a colposcope during the genital exam. This can be described as a microscope with a light source and a camera attached. The provider will not complete any part of the exam that your child does not want them to do.

Integrated Behavioral Health Services

Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) is offered to all individuals interviewed at the CAC and their non-offending loved ones – specifically those who are present at the CAC (caregivers, siblings, etc.). IBH sessions typically last between 15 and 30 minutes. IBH can be helpful for individuals by allowing them to:

  • Process thoughts and feelings related to the interview and allegations
  • Talk about how to move forward as a family after the interview
  • Learn healthy coping strategies that can be used to help manage thoughts and feelings in a healthy way

IBH providers will also assist in ensuring individuals and their family members get connected with mental health services in the community.

Note: You will not receive a bill for any of the services provided to you from the Child Advocacy Center. Your insurance may be billed, but the remaining balance will be sent back to the Child Advocacy Center. Please contact your Child & Family Advocate if you receive a bill in error.

The Process

After all services are complete, you will meet with the team members to discuss their involvement in the process and what you can expect to happen next. You may also receive recommendations from the team, and you will receive a list of your team members along with contact information for each.

Preparing Your Child

Try to:

  • Tell your child they will be visiting a safe and comfortable place
  • Make sure your child is well-rested
  • Give your child permission to talk with the interviewer and let them know it is okay to talk about anything
  • Bring your child’s comfort item if you feel that would be helpful

Try not to:

  • Ask your child questions about the situation or repeatedly bring up the topic
  • Coach or advise your child on what to say or how to act
  • Ask why your child didn’t tell you sooner
  • Promise rewards to your child for talking

Talking About the Situation


  • Stay calm and neutral
  • Don't offer names of possible offenders or acts of abuse
  • Listen supportively, but do not ask for details of the situation
  • Show interest, but try not to react with shock or indifference


  • Allow your child to tell in their own way and in their own time
  • Tell your child that you believe them and that you are proud of them that they told someone
  • Assure your child that it is not their fault

After Your Visit to the Child Advocacy Center

The team will be in contact with you for follow-up information and assistance with the process. You are encouraged to contact the Child and Family Advocate for information related to any follow-up appointments as needed and may contact any of your team members with questions. Team members will continue to work with you and your child to address your needs and safety concerns.