About the Assessments
Juliette’s House performs medically and forensically sound assessments of children ages 0-18 and developmentally delayed adults referred to us for suspected sexual abuse, physical abuse, serious neglect, and exposure to drug endangerment, domestic violence or traumatic events.
We Meet The Child and Family
SignChildren are referred to us by law enforcement, child protective services, the medical community and others when child abuse is suspected. We arrange a day and time for an assessment which will include the parties involved in the investigation and the child’s family.
- Our Family Support Team meets and greets the child and family members, and helps parents complete paperwork (such as HIPAA Notification and Intake forms).
- Our examiner and interviewer introduce themselves, and the child and family are offered refreshments and snacks.
- The child chooses a stuffed animal or quilt to take home.
- Our forensic interviewer then meets with the parents to gather the child’s medical history and explain everything that is going to happen during the 2-3 hour assessment.
- Meanwhile, a Family Support Team intern entertains and supervises the child (or children) in our play area. Children are given a tour of the exam room, interview room, and observation room. They, too, are told what is going to happen during the assessment and are encouraged to ask questions.
- The parents then wait while the assessment takes place. Crime Victims’ Compensation forms are offered and explained. The Family Support Team helps the parents fill out the forms and otherwise offers emotional and practical support.
Assessment for child abuse is not an easy thing for either the child or the family members to go through. Our goal is to make the child feel safe and relaxed and to make the whole process as comfortable as possible for the entire family.
Our Examiner Conducts an Exam
Our medical examiners all have special training in child abuse assessment. The examiner performs a thorough medical examination. The overall health of the child is evaluated. For the child, it is like going to the pediatrician’s office for a check up. The examiner then looks for signs of abuse, documenting any physical evidence (which may include photographs). The examiner reassures the child that his or her body is still healthy and answers the child’s questions or concerns.
Our Interviewer Conducts an Interview
When appropriate, a forensic interview is included as part of the assessment process. Specially trained interviewers talk with the child while the law enforcement officer and the child protective services worker observe from a separate room. The child has already been shown the observation room and knows that the interview is being watched and recorded. The interviewer is not counseling the child, merely trying to gather reliable, uncontaminated statements and information from the child (taking into consideration the child’s age, well-being, circumstances and readiness to talk).
After the Assessment
The examiner and interviewer make recommendations to the family and send reports to law enforcement and child protective services. Juliette’s House then helps the family connect with counseling or other services and resources to help the child and family fulfill the recommendations and start on a healing path. We also follow up with the family for up to one year to help them continue to access services. We ask families to complete an evaluation of their time at Juliette’s House so that we can continue to improve service delivery and meet the needs of the families and children who come to us for help.