Class on forensic interviewing of children

Jul 12, 2014

Rockland — University College at Rockland announced instructor Patricia Lacey will offer University of Maine at Augusta’s HUS 489 Forensic Interviewing of Children on Thursdays from 9 to 11:45 a.m. this fall.

This course introduces college students to the history, theory, and practice of forensic interviewing with children. The focus will be on basic forensic interviewing skills, models of forensic interviewing and the dynamics of specific kinds of abuse. Current issues in child advocacy and forensic interviewing will be explored. Multiculturalism and diversity will be integrated throughout the course, particularly in relation to effective interviewing and reduction of trauma to the child. Stress and burnout will be examined, and strategies for prevention and professional development discussed. For baccalaureate degree students there is a prerequisite of HUS 101 Introduction to Human Services and/or junior standing (60 semester hours completed).

Lacey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her work with children who have been victims of crimes of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse began at the National Children's Advocacy Center, in Huntsville, Ala., where she was the clinical supervisor and received extensive and ongoing training in forensic work with children. Lacey also received training in forensic interviewing from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and completed the New York Police Department Detective Bureau’s Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigation Course.

At the center in Alabama, Lacey supervised clinical staff, conducted forensic interviews and extended forensic interviews, acted as mental health consultant to the multi-disciplinary team (MDT), and provided training for MDTs in Alabama, Maryland, and California. She also provided education on the Child Advocacy Center model for nursing students at University of Alabama at Huntsville, and at local churches and social service organizations. Lacey served as the director of Forensic and Clinical Services at the Jane Barker Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., a program of Safe Horizon, where she supervised clinical forensic specialists, conducted forensic interviews and forensic evaluations of children, and served as mental health consultant. She conducted courtesy forensic interviews as requested by the FBI, and also for out-of-state jurisdictions. In addition, she provided training for the attorneys of the New York City Sex Crimes Unit. She was a member of the team that developed the revised mental health standards for CACs that seek to be accredited by the National Children’s Alliance.

Lacey states, “Maine is in the early days of developing child advocacy centers. The need for adequately prepared and trained professionals to work sensitively with children, in a way that will ensure the best outcome for the child, and that will not jeopardize prosecution of the case, will increase. This course will also be helpful for those to whom children disclose, e.g., teachers, guidance counselors, etc., in knowing what to do, how to respond, and what not to ask or say to a child. This course will cover the history of Child Advocacy, the skills necessary to become a forensic interviewer, what is effective court testimony, how to work with the non-offending caregiver, and best practice and research topics.”

To learn more about this course or other courses offered on-site or at a distance, including course descriptions, prerequisites, and costs, visit learn.maine.edu/rockland or call 596-6906.

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