The Orange County Child Advocacy Center provides space for and coordinates forensic interviews (FI) for victims, but what is an FI?
A forensic interview is a recorded interview designed to elicit a child’s unique information when there are concerns of possible abuse or when a child has witnessed violence against another person.
The forensic interview is conducted in a supportive and non-leading manner by a professional trained in the National Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview model.
Interviews are remotely observed by representatives of the agencies involved in the investigation (such as law enforcement and child protective services).
Before the Interview
Set Up Interview
After the CAC gets a referral from law enforcement or DCF, they work with the family to set up an interview date. If DCF is involved the case, the worker will help with setting up the interview.
The forensic interview model acknowledges that special care needs to be taken with child victims of sexual violence and severe physical abuse.
Day of the Interview
Before the interview, the team meets with the caregiver or victim to orient them to the process and find out if there are any special needs the team should be aware of. The team typically includes: the investigator, DCF caseworker, Forensic Interviewer, and CAC Coordinator.
During the Interview
While the child is being interviewed, the victim advocate meets with the parent to answer any questions and provide needed support.
Post Meeting with Caregivers
After the interview, the team again meets with the caregiver(s). They discuss next steps and referrals, such as to mental health services or for a medical exam.
After the Interview
In the week after the interview, the CAC Coordinator checks in with the family and makes any service referrals that were discussed at the post meeting.
Thirty days after the interview, the CAC Coordinator will follow up with the family again.
The CAC Coordinator is available to the family for the duration of the case.
DCF and law enforcement will also continue to follow up with the family and keep them informed about the case.