What is Blue Sky Bridge?
Blue Sky Bridge is a non-profit child and family advocacy program that provides forensic interviews for child victims and crisis support for their non-offending family members. Our agency is independent from law enforcement and human services; however, we work collaboratively as part of a multi-discplinary investigative team.
What is a Forensic Interview?
A forensic interview provides a safe, child-friendly environment for kids to talk with a trained interviewer. It’s a structured, fact-finding conversation that enables children to disclose information in their own words and from their own perspective. This is accomplished by the interviewer following a specific interview protocal when talking with the child.
How should I tell my child that he/she has to talk about this situation with a stranger- especially if she/he’s already disclosed to me?
Tell your child that she/he will be meeting with someone who is a specialist (or you pick the word that will best relate to your child, i.e. counselor, an interviewer, a helper, a special child person, etc) in talking to children about very difficult things. Sometimes parents will designate this person as a friend of the Investigator that has opened the case (Human services or Law Enforcement) if your child has a good connection with that investigator. Tell your child that even though she/he has told things to you (or someone else), it’s important that the information is given to the child protection people.
When should I tell my child this will be taking place?
Give your child enough notice so that she/he doesn’t feel it’s a surprise, but also don’t give too long a time period to worry about what she/he may have to do. Usually a day or two is enough time for your child to feel comfortable with this appointment.
What if my child starts to ask me questions about what she/he has to say?
Tell your child that you honestly don’t know exactly what will be asked but that you have e very confidence that she/he will be honest and that the person will make her/him feel comfortable during the talk. Assure her/him that this person is a VERY child-friendly person whose job iti s to talk to kids about difficult things. Tell your child you want her/him to answer all the question the best she/he can and to tell the truth.
Give your child permission to talk about what she/he has disclosed. Be general in what you tell you child (“It’s okay to tell the interviewer what happened to you when you were…”) Do not repeat the details of what she/he has disclosed and don’t ask any more questions- please let the professionals do all the asking.
What if my child wants to know why she/he can’t tell me and let me tell other people?
Tell your child that you might not know what questions to ask and how to ask them. Also tell her/him that because you love them so much, sometimes parents ask the kinds of questions that are about feelings instead of about the facts, which is why this special interviewer needs to do the asking. Assure your child that she/he is not in any trouble and in fact are doing what every citizen should always do- which is to tell someone when someone else has done something wrong.
What if my child asks if I’ll be in the room with her/him?
Assure your child that while she/he is talking to the interviewer, that you’ll be in the next-door room talking to someone else getting information on how to make sure she/he will stay safe.
What if my child says she/he doesn’t want to do this because she/he has already told?
Tell your child that you understand her/his feelings of frustration, especially since this is sometimes difficult to talk about. But also tell your child how brave she/he was for telling in the first place, and how proud you are of her/his honesty and bravery.
What can I do to help my child feel calm and ready to talk before the interview?
Parents can contribute a lot to the interview process by simply making sure that your child is getting a full-night’s sleep and waking up rested. If you know that your child naps at a certain time or needs more sleep in the morning, please make sure that this information is given prior to scheduling an interview.
Additionally, avoiding certain foods will ensure that a child’s energy level is stable enough to sustain focus during a 30-50 minute interview. Foods to avoid are those with high sugar content (including fruit/fruit juices) and caffeinated beverages.
What should I do if I notice changes in my child’s behavior or he/she becomes visibly distressed when discussing the upcoming interview?
Certain activities can be used to help your child return to a calm state. These activities should always be done with a caregiver that is also in a calm state. The following are a list of activities that can be used to provide a calming sensation for your child: rocking, swinging, cuddling, back rub, humming, singing, drumming, playing catch- any activity that provides patterned, repetitive movements.