What is a forensic interview?

The goal of a forensic interview is to obtain a statement from a child in a developmentally-sensitive, unbiased, and truth-seeking manner that will support accurate and fair decision-making in the criminal justice and child welfare systems. The forensic interview tests any alternative explanation for the allegation(s) in order to allow for a thorough investigation. The Children’s Assessment Center’s forensic interviewers are trained in the State of Michigan Forensic Interviewing Protocol.

How is a child referred for a forensic interview?

A forensic interview is conducted as part of an official investigation; therefore, interviews can only be scheduled by law enforcement and/or Children’s Protective Services.

What to expect when presenting for an interview?

Upon entering the building, the child and family will be greeted in our secure and child-friendly lobby where initial paperwork will be completed. The Forensic Interviewer will greet the child and caregiver(s) in the lobby, and will then accompany the caregiver(s) into a pre-interview meeting with the investigators. This meeting will allow for the caregiver(s) to provide any necessary background information that will assist the Forensic Interviewer in conducting the interview. The caregiver(s) will have a chance to ask investigators any questions.

After the pre-interview meeting, the Forensic Interviewer will accompany the child to the interview room while the caregiver(s) remain in the lobby. Law enforcement and Children’s Protective Services observe the interview from behind a one-way mirror, while the Forensic Interviewer wears an ear-piece that allows investigators to communicate with the interviewer throughout the course of the interview. Once the interview is complete, the child will be accompanied back to the lobby.

Upon the conclusion of the interview, the Forensic Interviewer and investigators will conduct a post-interview meeting with the caregiver(s) to discuss the next steps of the investigation and any recommended follow-up services.