For Parents

Why Don't Children Disclose Abuse?  10 reasons children don't tell.  

What do I tell my child about an interview at Dearing House Child Advocacy Center? (click link to see a video about how child advocacy centers work)

“You and I are going to Dearing House. It’s a special place where kids go to talk. It is important to tell the truth and you are not in trouble.” 

Do not tell your child what to say. Please avoid promising your child a reward for telling.  It's okay if they don't want to tell.  Our goal is to provide an environment that feels safe and comfortable, and allows them to say what, if anything, is on their mind, in their own way.  It's hard to avoid being emotional about this situation, but your calmness and support are essential to your child.  Regardless of what your child may have experienced, knowing they have your unconditional support is the best predictor of their ability to overcome and continue to thrive.

What is a Forensic Interview?
A forensic interview is an conversation between your child and trained interviewer designed to make your child feel as comfortable as possible while gathering information to determine if a crime has occurred.  

What happens during the Forensic Interview?

Your child will talk to a Forensic Interviewer who has special training and experience in talking with children about difficult subjects.

Questions are asked in a nonthreatening and non-leading manner. The interviewer NEVER forces a child to talk to them, but his/her training and skill enables the child to feel comfortable about their ability to share what, if anything, has happened.

Law enforcement and/or child protective services will observe the interview in an adjacent room as it is taking place.  

Interviews are recorded to reduce the number of times your child has to talk about the abuse.  The recordings of the interview are private and confidential and become the property of the investigating agency.  

Who will talk to my child?

All Forensic Interviewers have successfully completed 40 hours of specialized, research-based training, as well as continuing education.  The interviewers goal is to minimize the trauma of the process for the child, as well as maximize the amount of information the child provides, while maintaining the integrity of the investigation.  

Can I watch the Forensic Interview?

No, only those people who are directly involved with the investigation are allowed to observe the interview. This is done to reduce the possible stress on your child and to provide a neutral setting for your child, and the investigation.

How long does the Forensic Interview last?

The professional conducting the interview will plan on spending as much time as needed with your child during the interview to help them feel safe and comfortable.

The average interview takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Here's what you can expect before the Forensic Interview

When you and your child arrive, the whole family will be given a tour of the building to familiarize you with the rooms, the equipment, and how things work.  You'll be spending time in our family room as an opportunity to kinda get used to us, and to check out our books and toys. You will meet the Forensic Interviewer and investigators to discuss questions you might have.  

and during the Interview...

You will be asked to sit comfortably in the family room while your child is interviewed.  Smoking is allowed outside.  This process of determining what may have happened to your child and how to proceed may seem overwhelming.  That's why our Family Support Advocate is here to offer a listening ear and to help you find the answers and support you need or want.  While your child is with the Interviewer, you can take a deep breath or share how you are feeling about the situation without fear of your child overhearing.    

After the Interview

The Interviewer will bring your child back to the family room when the interview is finished. Do show your support for the bravery of the child, but please do not question your child about what happened in the interview.

You will then meet with the investigators in a separate room to discuss the interview and the next step in the investigation process, while your child and our Advocate play quietly in the Family Room.


Law enforcement and/or the Department of Human Services worker assigned will keep you informed about the investigation and status of your child’s case. Our Advocate is always available to talk with you about any feelings or concerns you may have.  Sometimes questions don't come up until after you've left Dearing House, so please call us at 762-5266 if there is something...anything...on your mind!