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forensic interviews

A Day in the Life: As Told by a Children’s Center Interviewer

My day begins at 8 am, with coffee and a read through of my schedule. “Who do we have today?” Joshua, a 7-year-old boy, physically abused by his babysitter.

I let out a long sigh: once again the burden of abuse falls on a child. Here at Children’s Center, the staff are caretakers, providers, interviewers and medical examiners—and we understand our role in Joshua’s story. We will listen to him, examine his wounds, scars, and his story. We will help him understand that he only needs to tell it once—minimizing his trauma of reliving the abuse.

Joshua enters the building with his mother, nervous and wary. They are greeted cheerfully at the front desk, and a giant teddy bear waits to give Joshua a big, warm hug.

In the waiting room, as we talk to his mom, Joshua sits to draw a picture. He draws a big house with no windows and lots of kids. He giggles with our front desk staff who help him pick out a movie to watch while he waits. Soon, mom is back and goes over to Joshua, instinctively rubbing his head and holding him close.

Next, it’s his turn. His mom stays in the waiting room.

Joshua is quiet while our medical examiner leads him gently into the brightly lit examination room, asking him questions about his school, his favorite subject, his friends. She asks about his scraped knees and tender wrist.

“She pushed me,” he’ll say. And suddenly he is ready to share his story.

I sit down with him, with some markers and paper, and we begin to color—and talk. He is reluctant at first, unsure if he’s in trouble. But slowly he tells me about her, about the other kids who she encourages to hit and push him. About how he got his bruises. His eyes are down but his words are powerful.

I say, “Thank you for sharing this with me, Joshua.” He says, “I feel safe here.”

I tell his mom what a wonderful job she is doing with this young gentleman—kind and open, sweet and funny. And most importantly, that she absolutely did the right thing bringing him here. This babysitter is now under investigation for abusing not just Joshua, but many other children as well. We thank Joshua’s mom for helping shine a light on this abuse, and for bringing this case forward.

Joshua leaves wrapped in a hand-made quilt (loving made by volunteers), carrying a new teddy bear, smiling and holding his mother’s hand.

Every case is unique; every family has their own story. They come from all backgrounds, creeds, colors, and economic positions. These families are going through one of the most difficult times in their lives, and we are honored to be a part of their healing process.

Our families never receive a bill at Children’s Center. One assessment for one child costs approximately $2,200. While state and county funding and insurance reimbursements cover approximately 55% of a child’s assessment, the remaining 45% of costs are covered by generous friends like you.

Thank you for supporting children like Joshua. Your gift of any size will go directly to helping more kids and families receive the help they need to begin their healing journey.