Forensic Interviews

Interviews of the child victim are conducted in a child-friendly, safe, supportive environment by a trained forensic interviewer. Members of the multi-disciplinary team observe from another room while the interview is being recorded. The recorded interview can be used in court as evidence. Conducting the interviews in this format reduces the likelihood of the child being interviewed multiple times by many different professionals in a variety of locations. Multiple interviews re-traumatize the child by causing them to revisit the abuse. Reducing the number of interviews while being consistent with the interviewer and the interview environment means less trauma to the abused child. It is the goal of the Center to minimize the number of interviews to insulate the children.

Therapeutic services

Therapeutic services are provided for the child and their non-offending family members or legal guardian to help them heal from the emotional wounds associated with the trauma of abuse.
Individual therapy offers focused and intensive treatment to address issues related to abuse. Collateral therapy is offered in order to assist the adults in the child's life so that they may better support the child's emotional healing. Collateral therapy may involve family members, school personnel, clergy, law enforcement officers, Department of Children and Families staff, neighbors, or other significant people in the child's life. Family therapy addresses issues related to family functioning as well as providing a therapeutic environment for healing. Therapeutic intervention involves the non-offending family members in order to facilitate the development of healthy communication patterns, establish appropriate boundaries, and strengthen the caregiver-child bond. Additionally, family members learn strategies that will allow them to better support the emotional healing of the abused child. Group play therapy offers the child the support of others who struggle with a common issue in addition to the support and guidance of the therapist. In this way, the culture of isolation that so often accompanies abuse is broken. Furthermore, group interventions serve to challenge the stigma and shame that might otherwise silence abuse survivors. The Partnership for Strong Families provides referrals for children in foster care who can benefit from group therapy.  They also provide referrals for group services for non-offending caregivers to assist them in learning red flags and strategies for keeping their children safe in the future to reduce the risk of re-abuse.

Staffing of abuse cases

Staffing of abuse cases may occur after the interview but includes cases that may not require an interview such as neglect cases. A case remains open until the child and family have completed all recommended therapy. Staffings are held routinely with representatives of the multi-disciplinary team in attendance. Staffings may result in additional individual and/or family counseling or continued monitoring of the case from a law enforcement or Department of Children and Families perspective. Multidisciplinary Team staffings occur routinely twice per month at the CAC, but are also held on an as needed basis for high risk situations or situations in which the team needs to meet as soon as possible to ensure safety of the children or integrity of the criminal case.  The staffing services bring together the child protection professionals working with a case to share information, discuss plans for the case, decreases the likelihood of duplication of services, and ensures follow through with necessary services has occurred.  In essence, staffings keep children from falling through the cracks of the system by addressing those gaps and resolving them with the multidisciplinary team approach

Management of Abuse Cases

Management of Abuse Cases occurs at the Center as well. The Center serves as the point of contact for abuse cases from the referral until services are no longer needed by the abused child or their family or guardian. The trauma caused by abuse effects all children and those who are close to them in different ways. Treatment length and type depends on the individual and nature of abuse. Professionals at the Center follow a case until services are no long needed.

  • Victim Advocacy assists children and non-offending caregivers in being informed and prepared for what happens next during investigations, prosecutions and treatment.
  • Case Management is provided throughout the "life" of a case as the needs of children and their family members change.  They are linked with services to meet their needs including but not limited to housing, clothing, food, medical care, therapy, etc.
  • Case Tracking includes CAC staff monitoring the progress of a case through the child protection system by regularly communicating with Department of Children and Family Services, Guardian Ad Litem, State Attorney's Office, mental health professionals and law enforcement.

 

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