WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU COME TO HARBOR HOUSE

We encourage you to talk to your child about what you’ll be doing at Harbor House before you arrive. To make things a little easier, we recommend the following:

Before the Interview

INTRODUCE THE ROLE OF
THE FORENSIC INTERVIEWER

Tell your child that there will be a meeting with someone whose job it is to talk to children who have experienced similar situations. This person is called a Forensic Interviewer and can be trusted with very personal and difficult things. Let your child know that there is no need to worry; Harbor House always places the well-being of the child first.

TELL YOUR CHILD THAT IT
IS OKAY TO TALK

You can promote honest and open communication by reassuring your child that it’s perfectly fine to answer the Forensic Interviewer’s questions. It can go a long way if you say things like: “It’s okay to tell the Interviewer what you told me (or whomever they disclosed to).”

REINFORCE LOVE
AND SUPPORT

Remind your child of your love and never-ending support for them. Reinforce this message and give your child confidence and assurance. It will give them extra support as well as help make the interview process easier.

On Interview Day

The day of your child’s forensic interview can be challenging, but Harbor House aims to make it less so. Below you’ll find answers to a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help give you and your child a clearer understanding of what to expect on interview day.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
WE ARRIVE?

When you arrive our Family and Child Advocate will give you some paperwork to fill out. Once the investigating agencies have arrived, the Forensic Interviewer will introduce themselves and give you and your child a tour of the Harbor House. Your Family and Child Advocate will explain the process, answer any questions, and offer resources. When it’s time for the interview, the Interviewer will bring only your child to the interview room. We will ask that you remain in the waiting area for the duration where you will continue to meet with the Family and Child Advocate. When the interview is over, the Interviewer will escort your child back to you.

WHO IS A PART OF THE
MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM?

Our team includes professionals from the Division of Family & Children Services, the District Attorney’s Office, and law enforcement officers. It also includes mental health therapists, forensic interviewers, family advocates, and medical professionals. Together, working as a team, these professionals support the goal of Harbor House to reduce the number of interviews— the number of times children must retell their stories—as part of the investigative process.

WHO WILL SPEAK
TO MY CHILD?

On the day of the interview, your child will meet with a Forensic Interviewer who is specially trained. The role of an Interviewer is to speak to your child in a friendly, age-appropriate, and objective manner that encourages open and honest discussion. Your child’s safety and well-being are always our priorities. This is why we have other professionals observe the interview from an adjacent room.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING
AN INTERVIEW?

The goal of Harbor House is to make the process as child-friendly as possible. That’s why your child speaks with only one member of our multidisciplinary team, the Forensic Interviewer, instead of several people. The Interviewer will ask non-leading, open-ended questions, allowing your child to tell what has happened in his or her own words.

WHO CAN I SPEAK TO ABOUT
MY CHILD’S CASE?

While your child is being interviewed, one of our Family and Child Advocates will take a moment to speak with the caregivers in greater detail about their visit. Our Family and Child Advocates guide parents through the process as well as provide support and various services, including referrals for specialized medical exams and counseling.

CAN I WATCH MY
CHILD’S INTERVIEW?

We understand your urge to be there for your child throughout the entire process. We even encourage it, with one important limitation. When it comes to the interview, Harbor House only allows professionals who are directly involved in the investigation to watch. But, once the interview is over, you will have the chance to meet who was involved and voice any questions or concerns you may have.

HOW LONG DOES THE
INTERVIEW LAST?

Because each child is unique, and each case is handled with this in mind, there is no standard duration for an interview.

After the Interview

After the interview is completed, the Interviewer will return your child. The team will meet to discuss follow-up suggestions. After that, you will have an opportunity to meet with some team members to ask any questions and raise any concerns. The Family and Child Advocate will be with you during this meeting and discuss any needed medical or counseling referrals.

THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY AND
CHILD ADVOCATE

After your visit to Harbor House, a Family and Child Advocate will follow up with you in a few days. Generally, a Family and Child Advocate stays involved with your case for as long as needed, checking in and being available to both you and your child. Family and Child Advocates aid the healing process by providing support, information, referral services, victim’s compensation assistance, court support, and other assistance when needed.

Where do I get help?

Georgia Department of Family and Children Services
1-855-GA-Child, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you need the police, please contact:

Floyd County Police Department at (706) 235-7766
Polk County Police Department at (770) 748-7331
Aragon City Police Department at (770) 684-6563
Cave Spring Police Department at (706) 777-3382
Cedartown City Police Department at (770) 748-4123
Rockmart City Police Department at (770) 684-6558
Rome City Police Department at (706) 238-5111

In 1991, the Floyd County Child Abuse Protocol Committee recommended the establishment of a coordinated system designed to respond to child abuse cases. The committee specifically recommended the establishment of a children’s center and the creation of a multidisciplinary child abuse investigation team. After detailed research and much effort, the Northwest Georgia Child Advocacy Center, known as “Harbor House”, was established in the fall of 1994.

© 2023 Harbor House, Rome, GA. NWGA-CAC. CASA® logo, name, and slogans are trademarks.

Harbor House is a 501(c)3 (nonprofit) organization and donations are tax-deductible.

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