Local child protection workers gathered at Cedar Hill Baptist Church Monday and Tuesday to learn how to talk to children.
Tennessee Children’s Advocacy Centers Training Coordinator Emily Cecil taught child protection workers from the department of children’s services, local law enforcement, child and health specialists, child mental health specialists, CASA workers and staff from the Campbell County Children’s Center about communicating with children. The training covered such topics as child development and interviewing skills.
“Our goal is to have all child protection folks trained,” Cecil said. “Helping organizations that investigate and offer services to child abuse victims.”
The department of children’s services worked with the Campbell County Children’s Center to put the seminar together. Cecil came from Nashville to conduct the sessions. There are 47 Children’s Advocacy Centers statewide. The local CAC is the children’s center.
“It was something we all felt would be very beneficial,” CCCC CEO Tracie Davis said. “Training is very hard to come by. This was a free training opportunity. We just really felt it would be good for everyone to be on the same page and hear the same information together.”
The purpose of the training was to equip people who are in the child protection field, such as department of child services and law enforcement.
“Giving them reasonable expectations of children’s abilities at various age levels,” Cecil said. “And how to most appropriately talk to them when a child is making a disclosure of abuse.”
“Professionals have to get detailed information and accurate information (from a child) in order to secure that child’s safety from that point on,” Cecil said. “One big thing about it is reducing the trauma and stress (of the) child, and maximizing information that can be used for an investigation.”
It is important for frontline investigators to see the different developmental stages of children, Davis said. There are some questions that are appropriate to ask, and some that aren’t, Davis said. Some questions would be okay to ask a 12 year old, but not a five year old, Davis said.