What to Expect During your Visit to the
Children’s Advocacy Center of Delaware

Watch Our Video: What To Expect


The days leading up to the interview can be worrisome for your child. Children seem to be put at ease by knowing what to expect. It is helpful to inform your child that someone wishes to talk with him or her about what was reported. Tell him or her that the CAC is a safe and comfortable place, encourage a good night’s rest, and tell your child that it’s ok to talk to the interviewer about anything. It is important to reassure your child and give him or her permission to talk freely; however, it is equally important not to rehearse with your child or tell your child what to say.

Interviews generally last between 20 and 90 minutes. The average length of a visit to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Delaware is two and a half hours.

Our interviewers are specially trained professionals with knowledge about child development, the dynamics of abuse, and interviewing children of all ages and abilities.

Yes. All interviews conducted at the CAC are recorded. Following an interview, the interview recordings are turned over to the law enforcement officer and prosecutor assigned to the case.

Yes. The Family Resource Advocate (FRA) will meet with you briefly at the beginning of the interview. The FRA will provide you with a Client and Family Needs Assessment to review and complete during your child’s interview. Completing this form will assist the FRA with connecting you to needed resources and services for you and your family. Additionally, the FRA will provide you with a copy of the CAC Caregiver Handbook: Understanding Abuse and the Healing Process which you may read while you are waiting or at another time as this is yours to keep. As this meeting with the FRA will be very brief and we understand that waiting for your child may be difficult, you are encouraged to bring a friend or support person to wait with you.

It is important for the interviewer to talk with your child alone. If something abusive has happened to your child, it might initially be difficult for your child to talk about this in front of you. If your child discloses abusive incidents it might be upsetting to you. The multidisciplinary team (MDT) members have the responsibility of observing, assessing and investigating the allegations. The MDT’s focus must be on your child. Therefore, you are not permitted to observe the interview.

MDT stands for Multidisciplinary Team. Delaware uses a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach to respond to allegations of child abuse and neglect. The MDT’s overall goal is to complete the investigation in a child friendly, timely and professional manner. Delaware’s MDT includes professionals from the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), Delaware Police Departments, the Division of Forensic Science, the Office of the Investigation Coordinator, and Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for children. The MDT consists of social workers, police officers, prosecutors, forensic interviewers, advocates, and medical and mental health professionals. All of these professionals are sensitive to the difficult and confusing time that you and your child may be experiencing. The MDT response is a collaborative effort which allows these professionals to better coordinate services for you and your family while your child’s allegation of abuse is under investigation. Each member has different responsibilities. The social worker from the Division of Family Services (DFS/DSCYF) must assess the safety and protection of your child. The police officer is from the location where the alleged incident occurred, and along with the prosecutor will determine if a crime has been committed and what other investigative steps must be taken. The forensic interviewer will conduct an interview with your child at the request of one of the MDT members. Advocates will assist you and your family throughout the process and will work to connect you and your family with needed resources and services. Medical professionals and mental health professionals will attend to the physical, emotional and psychological needs of your child upon referral.

Following the interview, the interviewer will return your child to the waiting area and accompany you to the conference room to meet with the members of the multidisciplinary team (MDT). The MDT members will be introduced to you, will provide general information about the interview, will explain next steps and answer any questions you may have. Then, the Family Resource Advocate (FRA) will meet with you to discuss services and resources available to your child and family. The FRA will provide you with an information packet, ask you to complete any paperwork needed to make referrals for services that your child or family may need, discuss plans for follow up contact with you and provide you with a brief survey so we can learn about your experience at the CAC. Next, the FRA will accompany you to the waiting area and this concludes your visit to the CAC.

You may contact the Division of Family Services (DFS) worker, the Law Enforcement Officer or the Department of Justice to ask about the status of your child’s case.

The need for a medical evaluation is decided by the circumstances of each individual case. If a medical evaluation is necessary or requested, we work with medical professionals with expertise and experience in child abuse to provide that evaluation in a safe environment. If your child needs a medical evaluation, explain to your child that this is to make sure that his or her body is healthy. Assure your child that this evaluation will not hurt and that the medical professional will tell your child everything that he or she will be doing prior to the evaluation. If a medical evaluation is not requested by the MDT, you may request a medical evaluation while meeting with the MDT or by contacting the Family Resource Advocate (FRA) at the CAC.

Abused children often do not feel as good about themselves as do non-abused children. Your child may also feel frustration, anger, guilt, fear, and helplessness. Caregivers and other family members also need support and understanding. Professional, evidence-based counseling can help you and your child through this stressful time. If you are interested in receiving counseling, please contact the Family Resource Advocate (FRA) for a referral. The following concerns might need to be addressed through counseling by a mental health professional: if your child is upset or withdrawn for unknown reasons, if your child is experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety over an extended period of time, and/or if your child is acting out sexually or experiencing an overt curiosity related to sex.

Like abused children, caregivers and other family members often feel a wide range of emotions in response to learning about allegations of abuse and may need support and understanding. In order to effectively support the child, the caregiver and other family members may need to seek counseling. A counselor can help caregivers and other family members work through their feelings and emotions related to the abuse and teach healthy coping and self-care techniques. Speak to the Family Resource Advocate (FRA) at the CAC to learn about counseling and other support services that may be available for you and your family.

The Family Resource Advocate (FRA) at the CAC will speak with you about resources and services that may be available to you and your family during your visit to the CAC and later during a follow up call. Additionally, the FRA will provide you with his or her business card, so you may contact him or her if you need further assistance following your visit.

The Children's Advocacy Center Caregiver's Toolkit

Resources For Caregivers

Delaware 2-1-1
In times of need, the greatest challenge can be knowing where to go for help. Delaware 2-1-1 provides one central resource for access to the health and human service organizations that offer the support to make a difference. Visit the Delaware 2-1-1 website to learn how this free, confidential resource may help.
Delaware Victim Center
The Delaware Victim Center was created to address the needs of crime victims and survivors of sudden deaths. Victims and/or their families may suffer financially, physically and/or emotionally. The Victim Service Staff provide 24-hour emergency crisis intervention, information and referrals for appropriate social service agencies, court accompaniment, assistance with filing for emergency financial assistance and other support services.
Delaware Victims’ Compensation Assistance Program
The purpose of the Victims’ Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) is to alleviate some of the financial burdens faced by victims, those that are directly related to the specific offense, by providing compensation for certain losses. VCAP can provide financial assistance to help cover the costs of a variety of services that help victims and their families begin to rebuild their lives, including lost wages, medical expenses, payment for mental health counseling, and funeral expenses.
Domestic Violence Coordinating Council of Delaware
The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) is a state agency legislatively created to improve Delaware’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault. The DVCC brings together all stakeholders including service providers, policy-level officials and community partners to eradicate domestic violence.
Family Court of Delaware
The Family Court has extensive jurisdiction over all domestic matters. The mission of Family Court is to provide equal access to justice for the families and children under our Court's jurisdiction in a manner that is fair and efficient and that maintains the public's trust and confidence in an independent and accountable judiciary.
The Office of the Child Advocate
Children and families often experience issues that need to be resolved through the courts, the educational system, or other systems. The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) is a non-judicial state agency charged with safeguarding the welfare of Delaware's children. OCA appoints attorney guardians ad litem (AGAL) to represent the best interests of children who are dependent, neglected, or abused, or at risk thereof.
Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families
The Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) is comprised of four divisions: Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services (DPBHS), Division of Family Services (DFS), Division of Management Support Services (DMSS), and Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS). The DSCYF mission is to engage families and communities to promote the safety and well-being of children through prevention, intervention, treatment and rehabilitative services.
Delaware Department of Justice
The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutes criminal cases, enforces consumer laws, provides counsel to state agencies, ensures the public's access to open government, protects the abused, and much more.
Beau Biden Foundation
The Beau Biden Foundation works to prevent child abuse by effectively educating adults and children, developing the next generation of child welfare professionals and strengthening child protection laws around the country.
Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children
Nemours is a nonprofit pediatric health system whose mission is to provide leadership, institutions, and services to restore and improve the health of children through care and programs not readily available, with one high standard of quality and distinction, regardless of the recipient's financial status.
Prevent Child Abuse Delaware
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Darkness to Light
Zero Abuse Project
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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