Plan Your Visit
Your visit to Mission Kids
You and Your Child, Before the Interview
A day or two before the interview, we encourage you to talk to your child about what you’ll be doing at Mission Kids. Ideally, you want to give your child a little time before your visit to avoid concern or surprise, but not so much time that he or she worries too much. To make things a little easier, we recommend the following:
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; Mission Kids always places the well-being of a child first.
Tell Your Child That It Is Okay to Talk
You can promote open and honest communication by reassuring your child that it’s perfectly fine to answer the Interviewer’s questions. Saying things like, “It’s okay to tell the Interviewer what you told me,” can go a long way.
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.
You and Your Child, On Interview Day
The day of the interview can be challenging, but Mission Kids aims to make it less so. Below you’ll find 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, you’ll enter our child-friendly waiting room that offers fun kid activities like toys, books, a TV and iPads. When it’s time for the interview, the Interviewer will meet you and your child and then bring only your child to the interview room. We will ask that you remain in the waiting area for the duration. When the interview is over, the Interviewer will escort your child back to you.
Please note, if you bring other children who are not being interviewed, they must be supervised at all times. Also, you may not discuss your case in the waiting room with anyone, including Mission Kids staff and volunteers.
Who is a part of the multidisciplinary team?
Our team includes professionals from the Office of Children and Youth, the District Attorney’s Office and the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project (MCCAP). It also includes mental health therapists, law enforcement officials, forensic interviewers, family advocates and medical doctors from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Child Protection Team. Together, working as a team, these professionals support the goal of Mission Kids to reduce the number of interviews—and 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 a closed-circuit TV in an adjacent room.
What happens during an interview?
The goal of Mission Kids 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. This method limits the retelling of your child’s story to just one person, one time. The Interviewer will only 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 Advocates will take a moment to speak with the caregivers in greater detail about their visit. Our Family 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, Mission Kids 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 all children are so different and each case is handled with that in mind, there is no standard duration for an interview.
You and Your Child, After the Interview
After the interview is completed, the Interviewer will return your child to the waiting room. 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 Advocate will be with you during this meeting and discuss any needed medical or counseling referrals.
The Role of the Family Advocate
After your visit to Mission Kids, the same Family Advocate you spoke to during your child’s interview will follow up with you in a few days. Generally, a Family Advocate stays involved with your case for as long as needed, checking in and being available to both you and your child. Family Advocates aid the healing process by providing support, information, referral services, victim’s compensation assistance, court support and other assistance when needed.
Read more about Missions Kids’ Family Advocacy Programs and their role in the healing process. Download the Family Information Guide
Missions Kids strives to continuously improve our services to families. In order to do this, we conduct a brief survey at the end of your visit and then a follow up survey approximately 6 weeks after your visit. Your feedback is essential to our ability to provide superior care. All responses are confidential. If you declined the option to respond to the initial and follow up surveys, but would now like to provide feedback, please do so using this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just For Kids
The new surroundings plus new faces can make your child’s visit to Mission Kids an overwhelming experience. For that reason, we aim to make the visit, our offices and the process as child- friendly as possible while our multidisciplinary team does its job.
Here are some things you and your child can expect on Interview Day:
When You Arrive
When you and your child arrive, you’ll enter into a warm and safe environment and be seated in our waiting room specially designed for children of all ages. Our waiting room is complete with fun activities like toys, books, a TV and magazines. It’s a comfortable environment that your child can enjoy.
When meeting with a Mission Kid’s Interviewer, your child will be sitting down with someone who is warm and specially trained to be sensitive to the many emotions children may feel. An Interviewer will listen actively, ask non-leading questions and will respond to your child in an age-appropriate manner. We want to make your child feels safe during an interview. This will make the process easier as well as encourage open and honest discussion.
After the Interview
When the interview is over, the Interviewer will escort your child back to you in the waiting room. After a few minutes, you will have an opportunity to meet with team members to ask any questions and raise any concerns. The Family Advocate will be with you during this meeting and discuss any needed medical or counseling referrals.
Just for Teens
At Mission Kids, our mission to foster healing and achieve justice serves a range of ages, from young children to older teenagers. Because sexual abuse can happen to anyone, we take the time to recognize how each age group is affected differently. Keeping this in mind allows us to provide an easier process—centered around justice and hope—for teenagers and families.
Here are some things you and your teenager can expect on Interview Day:
When You Arrive
When you and your teenager step inside, you’ll enter a safe and welcoming environment and be seated in our waiting room specially designed to make you both feel secure. We have a specially-designed waiting room area for teens filled with magazines, games, book, and snacks. When ready, the Interviewer will step out to introduce themselves to you both and then bring only your teen to the interview room. We will ask that you remain in the waiting area for the duration. When the interview is over, the Interviewer will escort your teen back to you.
The interview will take place in a private room, specifically designed with a teenager’s needs in mind. An Interviewer is someone who is specially trained in both protocol as well as responding to the many emotions teenagers may have. He or she will speak to your teen. They will listen actively, ask non-leading questions and will respond in an age-appropriate manner. We want to make your teenager feel safe during an interview. This will make the process easier as well as encourage open and honest discussion. Meet Our Team
After the Interview
Once the interview is over, the Interviewer will escort your teen back to you in the waiting room. After a few minutes, you will have an opportunity to meet with team members to ask any questions and raise any concerns. The Family Advocate will be with you during this meeting and discuss any needed medical or counseling referrals.