Elevating Your FI Program
Still searching for that elusive perfect forensic interview? In this second episode of our two-part conversation with Michele Thames and Christine Rouse, forensic interviewers from Virginia, we discuss the importance of leadership to the success of a forensic interviewing program.
When child abuse occurs, cases may be investigated using a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). Forensic Interviewers are often employed at CACs and tasked with gathering reliable information from children. An interviewer is required to have knowledge in child development, memory formation, cultural influences, state and federal laws, and skills in questioning children. During this part of our series on forensic interviewing skill development, Michele Thames and Christina Rouse share their insights on the importance of leadership, program support, and proper training programs to the enhancement of any forensic interviewing program.
Michele Thames is the Executive Director of SafeSpot Children’s Advocacy Center in Fairfax, VA/ She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Cambridge College. She was previously the Supervisor of the Forensic Interview Program at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Child Abuse Program in Norfolk, VA. Michele is a trained Forensic Interviewer that has conducted over 3,000 foensic interviews in a multidisciplinary team setting for local, state, federal, and military agencies. She is a board member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Virginia and faculty for ChildFirst Virginia.
Christina Rouse, MSW, is the CAC Program Director/Lead Forensic Interviewer at Children’s Trust in Roanoke, VA. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech, where she received a degree in Psychology, as well as a Masters Degree in Social Work from Radford University. Christina has been with her CAC for 13 years and has interviewed over 2,000 children, and has testified as an expert witness in forensic interviewing in Virginia. Children’s Trust CAC program serves ten MDTs that cover fourteen jurisdictions, which Christina has helped to coordinate and facilitate to ensure that best practice standards are being met. She has been a member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) since 2009, a ChildFirst faculty member since 2012, and served on the board of Virginia’s State Chapter of CACs during her career.
SafeSpot CAC – www.safespotfairfax.org
Children’s Trust – www.roact.org
NCAC CALiO Library – https://calio.org/
Regional Children’s Advocacy Centers
- Northeast – www.nrcac.org
- Midwest – www.mrcac.org
- Southern – www.srcac.org
- Western – www.westernregionalcac.org
TEND Academy – https://www.tendacademy.ca/
National Children’s Alliance – https://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/
Have an idea for a future Team Talk guest or topic? We want to hear from you! Email your suggestions to Tony DeVincenzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This project was sponsored by NRCAC from Grant Award Number 2019-CI-FX-K005 and CFDA #16.758 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, OJJDP or NRCAC.