The CASIE Center provides services for the Department of Child Services (DCS), Law Enforcement and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, by interviewing children that may have been victims of sexual or physical abuse, or have been witness to domestic violence or major crimes. The agencies involved in the case watch the interviews through a live feed, while a specially trained forensic interviewer talks one on one with the child. This allows the agencies involved in the case to hear, and have input, into the interview without the child having to have contact with multiple professionals, or having to talk about what happened multiple times. Every aspect of the interview process, including the toy filled playroom, highly trained staff, and the child friendly environment, is in place to make the experience comfortable for the child and to allow him or her to talk about their situation.
The Special Victims Unit Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Detectives, as well as the Department of Child Services on-call supervisor are located in the same building as The CASIE Center. This allows the professionals involved in the case to communicate and work together quickly, to ensure the child is safe and receives any needed medical or mental health services. If criminal charges are appropriate, this team approach also improves the strength of the case and helps it move through the legal system more quickly.
The CASIE Center strives to make everyone feel welcome, but there are things you can do as a parent or guardian to make the process easier.
Should I talk to my child about what happened?
No. If your child brings up the subject and wants to talk about it, listen without questioning. Be sure to reassure your child that they will be alright and you are taking care of them. If your child does tell you additional information, please contact your DCS Family Case Manager or Law Enforcement Detective.
How do I explain to my child what is going to happen?
It is helpful to inform your child that someone wishes to talk with him or her about what was reported. However, it is equally important not to rehearse with your child, or tell your child what to say. You may reassure your child and give him/her permission to talk freely. You should let your child know that they will be in a safe place and the adults they are visiting will let them know exactly what is happening each step of the way. Avoid telling your child you will go somewhere or receive something after the interview. Avoid describing The CASIE Center as a doctor's office, as this often confuses children or they fear they will have to get a shot.
May I watch the interview?
No. Due to the sensitive nature of these investigations, it is necessary to provide a neutral setting for the child. This allows them to feel comfortable to speak freely without the influence of other individuals in the room.
How long will my visit last?
All visits are different depending on the situation of the child. Depending on the attention span, talkative nature of the child, severity and history of alleged abuse etc., interview times vary greatly. Many children enjoy having the undivided attention of an adult and may be in an interview for a greater length of time. Please allow time for a brief meeting with our victim advocate to gather information, the forensic interview with the child and a post-interview meeting. The CASIE Center will provide appropriate school/work excuses upon request.
What happens after the interview?
After the interview is completed, the DCS Family Case Managers and/or Law Enforcement Detective will speak with you about what steps will be taken next.
Who can I ask about the interview?
DCS and Law Enforcement are the only agencies able to answer questions regarding the child's interview. The information they provide may be limited due to the fact that it is an ongoing investigation. They will tell you everything necessary to keep your child safe.
What if my child needs a medical exam?
The CASIE Center staff will work collaboratively with the DCS Family Case Managers and/or Law Enforcement Detectives to ensure a medical exam is scheduled if necessary.
If a medical exam is needed immediately, arrangements can be made to have your child seen right away at one of our local hospitals. If a child does not need to be seen immediately, he or she can be seen for a medical exam at our Clinic at CASIE, located here at The CASIE Center. The appointment is usually scheduled for a later date. The exams at Clinic at CASIE are completed by specialty trained staff from St. Joseph Regional Hospital. Exams completed at either, The Clinic at CASIE or the hospital, are free of charge and are not billed to the family's insurance.
Explain to your child the exam is to make sure his/her body is normal and healthy. Our nurses are trained to provide exams in a manner which is sensitive to past trauma and that allows the child to be in control of the exam.
How do I access additional services?
You will likely meet with the center's advocate during your child's interview and you will have a chance to ask and talk about potential services. We recognize that often a family has additional needs or questions which arise after they have left The CASIE Center. We can assist with questions you may have and to ensure you are aware of other community resources that may be helpful to you and your family. Remember, Department of Child Services or Law Enforcement are the only agencies able to answer questions regarding the child's interview or progress in the case.
What if my child needs mental health counseling?
Your DCS Family Case Manager can assist you in getting linked with counseling services. Upon request, The CAISE Center's victim advocate will provide additional follow up to families regarding mental health referrals and accessing appropriate support services.
How much is a visit to The CASIE Center?
There is no cost to families and children for any services.
If I was instructed to go to 'Door 4' where do I go?
Depending on the circumstances of your case and who you need to meet with, you may be instructed by your DCS Family Case Manager or Law Enforcement Detective to come to door 4. The door is located around the corner of the right side of The CASIE Center building. Ring the buzzer next to the door to gain access into the building.
Additional Helpful Information:
The CASIE Center has a no cell phone policy. Please turn off your phone before entering the building. If you need to use it during your visit, you can step outside or ask a staff member if you can step into a private room.
Our playroom is full of fun interactive toys to help your child feel comfortable. We have games, coloring pages and toys for all ages. Please leave your child's electronics and toys at home. This is for everyone's privacy and safety.
Alleged perpetrators and registered sex offenders are not allowed in The CASIE Center portion of the building.