Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does a referral to sunflower house mean?
A: When allegations of abuse are made, a multi-disciplinary team comprised of law enforcement, child protective services, and Sunflower House, is required to look into concerns thoroughly. Sometimes these complaints are substantiated, and other times they are not. Interviews are done in a manner that is neutral and are not done to “prove” abuse occurred. A forensic interview is only one piece of an entire investigation. Other sources of information are considered and reviewed to ensure the safety of your child.
Q: Should I prepare my child for this interview?
A: Children are most comfortable when they know what to expect. Explain to your child that he or she will be meeting with a person whose job it is to talk with children. You should not tell your child what to say. Please be mindful of conversations you have with others around your child as it could influence the information he/she shares during his/her interview. Reassure your child that he or she is not in trouble, that it is ok to talk to the interviewer and that it is important to tell the truth.
Q: What is the advantage of having my child interviewed at Sunflower House?
A: Your child is our top priority. Sunflower House provides a place that is friendly, private and safe for children to talk. The forensic interview and the multi-disciplinary approach reduce the trauma your child may experience by limiting the number of times his/her story is told. Services for your family will be better coordinated, and you will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the people working on your child’s case.
Q: May I bring a friend or family member to wait with me?
A: You are more than welcome to bring a support person with you to Sunflower House. However, you cannot bring the person accused of maltreatment.
Q: How long will the visit last?
A: The length of your appointment depends on how many children in your family are being interviewed, what your child discusses and the length of time needed for you, the detective, social worker and the family advocate to meet. In general, the visit for one child lasts about two hours.
Q: What happens during the interview?
A: Your child will be interviewed in a child friendly room by a specially trained forensic interviewer. The interviewer asks neutral, fact finding questions in a way that is sensitive to your child’s age and ability. The interview will be videotaped. This may help reduce the need for repeat interviews.
Q: May I stay with my child during the interview?
A: The interviewer must talk with your child alone. It is difficult for children to talk about abuse they may have experienced and may be difficult for parents to hear. Having a parent in the room may distract or inhibit children during the interview. Children may also want the parent to answer questions for them. It is best if the child can provide information independently.
Q: What will happen after the interview?
A: The detective assigned to the case and/or the DCF investigator may want to talk with you before and/or after the interview. At this time, they may be able to tell you what may happen next regarding the investigation. This may also be a good time for you to share information and your concerns.