The above graphic illustrates what often occurred prior to the use of child protection/advocacy centers as well as the difference in having centers now. Before centers existed, children often had to talk to multiple people many times about concerns, and many of the services and agencies involved were located at various places. Now, with the use of centers, many of the services and agencies involved in cases meet and collaborate through the centers. Children will hopefully only be interviewed and evaluated in-depth one time and will be linked to supportive services through a center.
What happens during an appointment?
Typically, a forensic interviewer and medical provider will meet with the referring professionals (DHS and/or law enforcement) first. Afterward, our staff will meet with the child's non-offending caregiver to get information about the child that will be helpful during the appointment and explain the process of the appointment. Next, the child is typically interviewed by a forensic interviewer and then examined by a medical provider. After the child has been interviewed and/or examined, the team will again meet with the non-offending caregiver to talk about what happened during the appointment, answer questions and make recommendations for further care and services.
How long will my appointment take?
We estimate a single appointment will take 2½ hours. If there is more than one child involved, an additional hour for that child is reasonable. We value your time and the time of the professionals working with your family, but we also strive to be as thorough as possible and make sure all questions and concerns are addressed during the appointment.
What should I bring?
Please bring your child's insurance cards and list of medications if applicable. It is helpful to bring snacks for your child, as appointments may last during normal meal or snack times. Please also bring any care items your child needs (diapers, medications, etc.).
Who can come to the appointment?
We request a parent/guardian to accompany the child to his/her appointment to sign consent and also provide our staff with necessary information. It is a good idea for another adult to come with the parent/guardian, because there will be times that our staff need to speak with the parent/guardian without the child present. We do not allow the alleged offender to come to the appointment, nor do we allow anyone on the Sex Offender Registry at the Allen Child Protection Center without prior approval.
What should I do if I need to cancel or reschedule our appointment?
Please call the professional who referred you to the Allen Child Protection Center (law enforcement or DHS).
What is a forensic interview?
A forensic interview is a one-time interview conducted by a skilled professional who has been trained to understand children's language and developmental level in order to obtain information from the child in a non-threatening and non-suggestive manner.
What is a medical examination?
The medical examinations are conducted by a licensed nurse practitioner who performs a complete physical examination. The medical examination begins with the collection of your child's medical history. A genital examination is done with the aid of a colposcope. This machine does not touch your child and the process is not painful. A colposcope is a magnifying instrument with a built-in light that aids the healthcare provider in visualizing the genital area and checking for injuries. This exam reassures your child that their body is normal despite what may have happened to them.
What is family advocacy?
The family advocate provides support and mental health resources for you and your family not only during your appointment, but after leaving our center as well. The family advocate will discuss your appointment and make further recommendations and referrals, if necessary, for your child to seek mental health counseling in your area. If you choose so, you will then receive a checkup phone call from the family advocate about a week after your appointment to see how your family is doing since leaving the Allen Child Protection Center.
What is mental health counseling?
The ACPC's mental health provider uses evidence-based treatment and assessment for patients and their families focused on reducing symptoms of trauma. If you have an appointment and need to cancel or reschedule please contact the ACPC at (319) 226-2345.