One of the most important services a Children’s Advocacy Center provides is conducting forensic interviews for Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services Investigations.
A forensic interview is a structured interview done in a child friendly environment. They are completed by trained forensic interviewers in order to ensure that the best possible interview is achieved in these situations. A forensic interview is important because the interviewer is trained to use non-leading techniques during an interview in order to preserve the validity of a child’s outcry. This is important for both Law Enforcement investigations as well as Child Protective Services cases. Having a forensic interview done also allows for the child to only be interviewed one time while law enforcement and CPS observe in another area, thus cutting back on the amount of times a child has to relive their traumatic experience.
Multiple Disciplinary Team Investigations
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County will coordinate a multidisciplinary team approach among the agencies involved in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of child abuse. This will support the proper investigation of child abuse cases. The Advocacy Center staff will coordinate and cooperate with other child-oriented agencies in the community in order to provide services to abused children and non-offending family members, including assistance in scheduling medical examinations, obtaining victim compensation, and providing information about the legal process. They will provide a forum within which agency representatives, professionals and volunteers may gather and work together in assisting victims and non-offending family members. One way this will be accomplished is through monthly Multiple Disciplinary Team Meetings. These are meetings in which agency representatives and professionals gather, once a month, to discuss current case facts and the status of the cases.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County may hold training for the Multiple Disciplinary Team members in an effort to improve the knowledge and skills for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of child abuse. The Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County may also sponsor members of the Multiple Disciplinary Team in attendance to trainings in other areas.
Victim Support and Advocacy
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County will provide support services to the victim in their non-offending family members in many different ways. The services are intended to meet the emotional, physical, and financial needs of the victim or their family. Advocacy Center staff will provide support in the prosecution and conviction of those responsible for the abuse, when appropriate, and help the victim and family prepare for the trial process. They are able to also help family members learn how to deal with the emotional and physical needs of the victim going forward.
Counseling and Support Services
The goal of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County is to be able to provide onsite counseling for victims and their families, as well as ongoing support groups for those who need it. Until onsite counseling and support groups are able to begin the Advocacy Center staff will provide referrals for services to abused children and non-offending family members to appropriate counseling and other services within the community. These services are critical to victims and their families, and are the first step in victims and families learning how to deal with the trauma they have faced.
All services are free of charge to victims and their families.