Susie’s Place strives to make everyone feel welcome. We will walk you through the process from here on every step of the way. As a parent or guardian, there are things you can do to make the process easier.
Should I talk to my child about what happened?
No. If your child brings up the subject and wants to talk about it, listen without questioning. Be sure to reassure your child that they will be alright, and you are taking care of them. If your child does tell you additional information, please contact your law enforcement detective or the Department of Child Services case manager.
How do I explain to my child what is going to happen?
It is helpful to inform your child that someone wishes to talk with him or her about what was reported. However, it is equally important not to rehearse with your child, or tell your child what to say. You may reassure your child, and give him/her permission to talk freely. You should let your child know that they will be in a safe place, and the adults that they are visiting will let them know exactly what is happening each step of the way. Avoid telling your child you will go somewhere or receive something after the interview. Avoid describing Susie’s Place as a doctor’s office, as this often confuses children. Also, medical exams are not conducted at Susie’s Place during a forensic interview appointment.
May I watch the interview?
No. Copies of the interview are only released to prosecutors and will not be released to any caregivers or guardians. Due to the nature of these investigations, it is necessary to provide a neutral setting for the child. It is also to ensure our team is fully focused on the child’s interview, and not distracted by a parent or guardian in the observation room. Susie’s Place uses recording equipment to document the interview. Copies of the interview are only released to law enforcement, prosecutors, or the Department of Child Services (DCS).
How long will my visit last?
All visits are different depending on the age of the child. Younger children participating in forensic interviews will go more quickly than older children and teenagers. Depending on the attention span, talkative nature of the child, severity and history of alleged abuse etc, interview times vary greatly. Please allow time for completion of intake paperwork, the forensic interview, and a post-interview meeting. Susie’s Place will provide appropriate school/work excuses upon request.
What happens after the interview?
After the interview is completed, the law enforcement and/or DCS Family Case Managers will speak with you about what steps will be taken next.
Who can I ask about the interview?
The law enforcement and DCS Family Case Managers are the only agencies able to answer questions regarding the child’s interview. The information they provide may be limited due to that fact that it is an ongoing investigation. They will tell you everything necessary to keep your child safe.
What if my child needs a medical exam?
Susie’s Place staff will work collaboratively with law enforcement and DCS Family Case Managers to ensure an appropriate referral for a medical exam is completed if necessary.
Medical exams can consist of a follow-up appointment with the child’s pediatrician or primary doctor, or a specialized doctor. If a specialized doctor is needed, the investigators will help you make an appointment for your child. In Bloomington, an appointment with a physician may take place in the medical exam room located in Susie’s Place. The appointment will be with certified and specially trained medical staff from Riley Physicians, not Susie’s Place staff. That appointment will typically be scheduled for a future date and will not be immediately following the forensic interview.
Explain to your child that this is to make sure that his/her body is healthy and safe. Assure your child that this exam will not hurt, and that the medical examiner will tell your child everything that he/she will be doing prior to the exam. This examination is noninvasive and often resembles a well-child exam.
What if my child needs mental health counseling?
Susie’s Place staff will work collaboratively with law enforcement and DCS Family Case Managers to ensure that an appropriate referral for mental health counseling is completed upon request of the family or if recommended by the team. Upon request, your Susie’s Place Child and Family Advocate will provide additional follow up to families regarding mental health referrals and accessing appropriate support services.
How do I access Child and Family Advocacy services?
You will likely meet with the center’s Child and Family Advocate during your child’s interview, and you will receive their contact information. We recognize that often a family has additional needs or questions which arise after they have left Susie’s Place. We can assist with questions you may have and to ensure you are aware of other community resources that may be helpful to you or your family. To receive help, ask during your visit to Susie’s Place or complete our online follow up form.
How much is a visit to Susie’s Place?
There is no cost to the families and children seen at the center. The center is run entirely from the support of the community. You can get involved and help.
Additional helpful information:
Alleged perpetrators and registered sex offenders are not allowed on Susie’s Place property.