Usually when you come to Dearing House, you will have already met either a Law Enforcement Officer (LE) or a Department of Human Services (DHS) caseworker, who have arranged for a forensic interview of your child. Our interviewers are trained to speak with children regarding concerns of abuse or neglect and are very kind and gentle. These interviews are designed to maximize the information gained, while minimizing contamination of the information and minimizing the trauma that is sometimes associated with the investigative process. During your child’s interview, Dearing House staff will meet with you to:
Explain details about the services of the Center
Give you educational brochures to better understand the abuse
Help guide you and your family to the path of healing
Always be available to answer questions and concerns
Help you set up a medical exam or therapeutic assessment
All interviews are digitally recorded to preserve the integrity of the information gathered during the interview. These recordings are the property of law enforcement. These recordings cannot take the place of testimony in court if that is required.
My child is coming to Dearing House for a forensic interview. What should I tell him or her?
Explain to your child that he or she is going to a place where children can talk to a person who can help with what has happened. Do not tell your child that she is going to the Center to play or to meet a special friend. Be truthful, but be brief. Do not suggest to your child what he or she is to say and do not coach or rehearse your child ahead of time. It is also very important that you not offer any bribes or rewards to your child for telling. Encourage your child to be truthful and honest with the person to whom he or she is going to speak.
Can I watch my child’s interview? Parents and caregivers are not allowed in the interview or observation rooms during the interview. A law enforcement agency and/or child welfare cases worker will discuss the interview with you after the interview and answer your questions. How long does the interview last? The length of the interview depends on the child and nature of the allegations and can range from ten minutes to two hours. The average length of time an interview takes is 40-60 minutes.
State law requires every person who has reason to believe that a child is being abused or neglected, or is in danger of being abused or neglected, MUST report the suspicion of abuse promptly to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS).
The Statewide 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-522-3511. You may also call local law enforcement authorities for any suspicion of abuse perpetrated by someone who does not have responsibility for the child. OKDHS policy and state law require strict maintenance of the confidentiality of reports of child abuse. Anonymous reports are also accepted. Dearing House brings together all the professionals and agencies needed to offer services: law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, medical, and advocacy.