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Before Your Child’s Interview: FAQs

Parents and caregivers often wonder if there are certain ways to prepare their children for a trip to Abbott House. If your child or a child in your care is coming for a forensic interview or medical assessment, take a moment to read the answers to the following questions.

How should I prepare my child for a visit to Abbott House?
  • Explain that Abbott House is a safe place where kids and teenagers go to talk about what happened to them in a non-judgmental way.
  • Explain that the interviewer talks to lots of kids about things that happen to them.
  • Encourage your child to tell the truth. Do not coach him or her on what to say; it is important that children use their own words in their own way.
Should I provide any information prior to the intervew?

Please notify an investigator on the case or a family advocate at Abbott House if your child:

  • has special needs regarding physical, mental, or emotional development.
  • has special needs regarding speech and language abilities.
  • is currently taking medication.
Should I talk to my child about what happened?
  • If your child brings up the subject, listen without judging or questioning him or her.
  • Comfort and reassure your child. Do your best to remain calm and emotionally collected in front of your child.
  • Do not ask your child for details or specific information. Our professional interviewers are highly skilled at gathering details in a way that limits further trauma.
May I watch my child’s interview?
  • Only the child and the interviewer are allowed in the interview room to ensure that the interview is objective and court defensible.
  • Only investigators (law enforcement and child welfare workers) are allowed in the observation room.
  • A family advocate will meet with you during your child’s interview to explain the interview process.
  • The investigators typically meet with parents or caregivers after the interview to discuss the results of the interview and next steps.
Should I bring anything to Abbott House?
  • It is not necessary to bring anything to Abbott House. A family advocate will collect basic information from you while your child is being interviewed.
  • Since you will meet with a family advocate during the interview, we encourage you to avoid bringing other children. If this is not possible, please notify an investigator on your case or a family advocate at Abbott House prior to the interview.
  • No personal belongings such as toys or cell phones are allowed in the interview room; however, children are provided markers, paper, and play dough while the interview is in progress.
Will my child have a medical exam?
  • The National Children’s Alliance (Abbott House’s accrediting body) recommends that a medical assessment be offered to every child who comes through Abbott House’s doors; however, no medical assessment will be conducted without the written permission of a child’s parent, caregiver, or temporary guardian.
  • For more information on Abbott House’s medical assessment program, visit Medical Assessment FAQs.
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