Forensic Interviewing

PCA Interview Room

PCA Interview Room

At the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance we have a team of expert forensic interviewers who are specially trained to work with children. During their visit to the Children’s Alliance, each child receives a forensic interview with a member of our team.

The purpose of a forensic interview at the Children’s Alliance is to obtain a statement from the child, in a developmentally and culturally sensitive, unbiased and fact finding manner that will support accurate and fair decision making by the various members of the multi-disciplinary team.

During these interviews at the Children’s Alliance, which generally last from 30 to 60 minutes, the child and interviewer talk in a child-friendly interview room, surrounded by colorfully painted walls, comfortable child-sized tables and chairs, and crayons, markers, and other toys. Children are asked a series of non-leading, age appropriate questions that are designed to allow them to tell the truth.

The entire interview is watched through closed circuit television by a police officer from the Special Victims Unit and by a caseworker from the Department of Human Services. The interview is also taped for later viewing by a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s Office and may later be used in court.

In addition to advanced degrees in Social Work or a related field, all of our forensic interviewers go through a rigorous and nationally recognized six month training program.

Forensic interviews are typically the cornerstone of a child abuse investigation, effective child protection, subsequent prosecution, and may be the beginning of the road toward healing for many children and families.

QUOTES FROM FORENSIC INTERVIEWERS:

“I enjoy connecting with the children and helping them express things that are not easy to talk about.”

“It is rewarding to be a part of a team that strives to prevent further trauma to children. The children and families come to PCA to talk about very difficult and uncomfortable topics and we work hard to ensure that the process is as child-friendly and non-threatening as possible for those we serve.”

“The forensic interview process is structured to obtain as much information from the child in one interview. The team works hard to ensure that children do not have to undergo multiple interviews unnecessarily.”

“For many children it is the first time that they have had the opportunity to tell someone everything that has happened to them. Through the clinical and interviewing skill of a forensic interviewer, children may feel understood and listened to.”


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