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Visiting the Children's Advocacy Center

What is a forensic interview?

This is a question that is asked of us all the time. A forensic interview is an evidence-based conversation that is continually tested and modified based on on-going research in the fields of child development, linguistics and childhood trauma. Each child that walks through our door is different, with his or her own unique circumstances. As interviewers, we meet them where they are. While building rapport with the child and gaining his or her trust, we use open-ended questions in order to get the child to narrate his or her experience in his or her own words.  Ideally, it provides each individual child the opportunity to tell his or her story in depth just one time to reduce trauma. These are legally-sound interviews as the information is coming straight from the child's experience, in their own words, without outside influences. All forensic interviews are conducted by specialized and trained professionals that have undergone multiple trainings in child development, linguistics and childhood trauma. Every child that survives abuse deserves to be heard, and as forensic interviewers, it is our honor to listen.

What happens at the Children's Advocacy Center?

  • Our Family Advocate will greet you and your child, and get you settled in our front room.

  • You will have an opportunity to meet privately with the investigators and discuss relevant information to the investigation.

  • The Forensic Interviewer will speak one-on-one with your child, using open-ended, developmentally appropriate questions.

  • Your child may be referred for a medical exam or checkup.

  • Before you leave, you will be informed of the investigators next steps.


Due to limited space at the CAC and to ensure your privacy, please make your caseworker or law enforcement officer aware of anyone coming with you to the center. 

Tips on preparing a child visiting the center:

We advise parents to give children a general idea of what the Children's Advocacy Center is and why they are going. If an investigator has instructed you not to tell the child, skip this step. You might say something like, “The CAC is a safe place where kids can talk about things that have happened to them.”


Your child might express concern; if your child seems concerned, you might give them more information, “You’ll be talking more about what you told me happened with _______.”


There are different ways to explain the CAC to different age groups. If you need guidance on an age-appropriate way to explain the Children’s Advocacy Center, we'd be happy to help. Please call us before your appointment for suggestions.


  • Give your child permission to talk with the interviewers.

  • Tell your child it is a safe place to talk honestly and truthfully.

  • Tell your child that the person they will talk to is someone who talks to kids every day.

  • Tell your child you will be in another room during the interview and that you will the not be leaving the Center.


  • Tell your child what to say.

  • Tell that you are taking them to a medical appointment.

  • Promise treats or rewards to your child for talking.

  • Try to answer questions that you don’t know.

Anyone can make a report of suspected child abuse.
You do not need proof, just a suspicion.
To report child abuse or neglect please call: 
(208) 334-KIDS (5437) or (855) 552-KIDS (5437)

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