Meet Our Newest Interviewer, Jess

Tell me about your role at Children’s Center. What does a typical day look like?

My role here at Children’s Center is as a Child Forensic Interviewer. That means listening to kiddos and teenagers share their experiences of abuse or neglect and asking questions in a neutral, fact-finding, legally sound, trauma-informed, developmentally and culturally sensitive way. That’s a lot of descriptors! But, there’s a lot of care and technique that go into an interviewer’s role because of the nature of the work we do.

Most days include an assessment which consists of a medical evaluation and interview with a child and time dedicated to writing up a report based on the assessment. So, from beginning to middle to end, I bike to work, review any documents we have about the case before community partners arrive, the team meets with those partners (typically law enforcement and/or DHS), reviews social and medical history with the caregiver, gets a general understanding of what brought them to the Center for an evaluation, meets with the child/teenager, I take notes for the medical examiner, conduct an interview, collaborate with clinical team (medical examiner & Family Support Specialist) to write up recommendations for the caregivers, the team meets with the caregivers after the assessment to discuss what happened and what the team recommends, and then writes up a report about the assessment’s findings. Then, I bike to yoga or go home to play with my dogs.

What do you enjoy about working at Children’s Center?

I enjoy the people I work with most of all. Our work can be very challenging professionally and emotionally, and my co-workers make care and compassion for each other a daily priority in so many ways. It’s created a culture that I feel safe in. I feel safe to make mistakes because I know I’ll receive fair, critical, and constructive feedback, and, in return, I feel safe to offer constructive criticism to my peers. This kind of culture drives a level of care and commitment to our community’s children and families that are constantly improving. It’s a refreshing and wonderful work environment to be a part of.

Where did you work before you joined the team at Children’s Center? Did you know you wanted to work at an organization like this?

I recently moved to Oregon from upstate New York in the North Country, where I worked as a Forensic Interviewer and Victim Services Advocate for a regional county-run Child Advocacy Center (CAC).

I made the move specifically to work for this organization because of its structure and its reputation. I appreciate working in a non-profit CAC structure here at Children’s Center, because I’ve witnessed a lot more ease of flexibility and responsiveness to meet the needs of both the families we serve and the employees who operate this organization.

This work is humbling and I’m grateful to be able to listen to and to hold these hard stories with the children I meet. Working at a place that honors how difficult a disclosure can be for a child and for their caregivers isn’t a guarantee in this field, which is why I appreciate the people and the practice here at Children’s Center.

A non-work related one — what is your favorite or most interesting hobby?

The most interesting “hobby” I have is going to camp at Zeno Mountain Farm, a non-profit in Lincoln, VT. It’s a community of friends with diverse needs and abilities that produces movies, performs original plays, hosts seasonal camps, and has a mission of fostering life-long friendships between people of all ages with and without disabilities. I’ve been a part of this community for about eight years now. Check out the documentary Becoming Bulletproof. It’s all about who we are and what we do. Then, check out our upcoming feature, Ready to Ride. A few of our friends made Peanut Butter Falcon, a movie in theatres starting August 2019. Anything we do together at Zeno is way more interesting than what I do on my own!

1 Comment

  • Patricia

    Reply August 30, 2019 1:31 am

    Thank you for the wonderful work you do. It is refreshing to read about the much needed, hands on care, support and compassion you share with your clients and colleagues. What a blessing you are to our community. Many blessings to you all.

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