Non-Offending Parents (NOPs)

What will happen today?

This is a child-friendly place where children are interviewed about things that have happened to them. Your detective or child protection worker will meet you here. The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) team wants you to be comfortable and will answer your questions. When you and your child arrive at the CAC, the staff will greet you and get you a snack. Your child will be able to choose either the hot air balloon room or the French Quarter room for the interview. The interview is monitored and recorded so that your child will not have to repeat what happened over and over again.

Will I have to do any paperwork?

Someone from the CAC will give you a packet and have you fill out a few forms. One of these is a consent form.

Who will my child talk to?

Your child will talk to a forensic interviewer. The interviewer has been trained in a nationally approved protocol for child interviews. They talk with lots of kids about lots of things. Please tell your child, “It is okay to talk to the interviewer.”

Can I watch the interview?

No, unfortunately Louisiana law says that in order for the tape to be used in court, only certain members of your investigative team can monitor the interview. If you need anything during the interview, a member of the CAC team or a counselor will talk with you. After the interview, your detective or child protection worker will talk to you and answer your questions.

Will my child need a check-up?

Someone from the Audrey Hepburn CARE Center (co-housed with the New Orleans CAC) will talk to you to schedule your child for an exam at your convenience. Your family will not be charged for this exam. The doctors at the CARE Center are pediatric specialists who will make sure that your child’s body is okay. All of the exams are child-friendly. The exams do not hurt. Please show your child the “Check Out the Check-Up” book so that your child won’t be nervous about the exam. The book is available on this website as well as within the CAC/CARE Center.

Should I talk to my child about the interview at the CAC?

Follow the child’s lead. If the child doesn’t bring it up, don’t talk about it. Please avoid having conversations or phone calls about the interview and the allegations in front of your child. If the child brings it up, listen without commenting or questioning. Later on, document what they have said. Be careful not to interrogate, quiz, or question the child about the interview or abuse. Any questions you have may be asked of your child protection worker or detective. Be calm and supportive. It may be hard to listen, but your child needs to talk to someone who will believe and support them. Don’t share your feelings of frustration or helplessness with your child. Don’t make promises that you cannot keep (such as saying you won’t tell anyone about the abuse), but let your child know that you will do everything in your power to protect them. Please do not lead the child to believe that the interview is the only part of the legal process in which they are involved. It is possible that your child will be interviewed again or asked to testify in court.

What happens after the interview?

Your investigator will meet with you, listen to your concerns, try to answer your questions, tell you what they can about the investigation, and tell you what will happen next. When the team is finished with the investigation, a report will be sent to the district attorney’s office. The district attorney will review the case, contact you, and together you will determine how to proceed. If there is a trial, your child’s CAC interview is admissible in court. This will make your child’s testimony easier.

What to say after the interview:

After the interview, let your child know that you support them by telling them something like:

  • “I’m proud of you for telling.”
  • “You were brave to tell.”
  • “What happened is not your fault.”
  • “I believe you.”
  • “I am sorry this happened to you.”
  • “I’m going to do everything I can to help you and protect you”

Do we need to go to counseling?

Yes. This is difficult for families. Children often don’t show any signs of trauma or discomfort. It is hard for children to talk about these things with their parents. Say to your child: “You need to talk to a counselor.” You may also need to talk to someone who will listen to you about your feelings. The CAC’s case manager will help you make appointments with a counselor either here or somewhere close to your home. Free counseling is available both here and close to your home.

© Copyright 2012 • New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center
1101 Calhoun St. • New Orleans, LA 70118 • (504) 896-9237 • fax (504) 896-9733