I. Forensic Interviews

The primary service offered by A Child’s Place (ACP) is what is commonly known as a “forensic interview”. This interview is conducted when there is a concern of possible child abuse.

The purpose of this interview is to assess if any type of maltreatment occurred to a child. The maltreatment could include sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse or inappropriate internet contact. This is not a custody evaluation, school testing, or general behavioral evaluation. All forensic interviews are recorded for investigative purposes.

Types of abuse include:

A. Sexual Abuse:

This type of abuse can include but is not limited to sexually offensive conversations, touching, intercourse, or the taking of explicit photographs of a child by an adult or adolescent. In the majority of these situations, the child knows the person who initiates contact. It is rarely a stranger and most often it is a family member.

B. Physical Abuse:

This type of abuse occurs if a child is routinely, violently beaten, so that injuries, bruises, etc. result. When the caretaker/parent uses weapons, such as extension cords, cigarettes, or belts, serious injury is likely to occur.

Although the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania allows parents to use physical discipline with their children, this discipline is not allowed, by law, to cause injury or humiliation.

C. Emotional Abuse:

Emotional abuse occurs when a child has undergone a course of conduct by the parent which has caused a child to become chronically anxious, depressed, psychotic or fearful that his/her life is threatened. This type of abuse is usually the most difficult to prove.

D. Inappropriate Internet contact:

This type of abuse occurs when there is internet contact between a child and another person where harm is intended toward the child. As electronic communication systems become increasingly refined, accessible, and prevalent, criminal activity towards children has increased dramatically.

Parents often become concerned when they find out their child has had an “online relationship” with someone and made plans to meet the person. In order to entice a child, the predator may assume an identity more acceptable to the child, e.g. another teenager, and often deceives the child about his/her intentions because they intend harm of a sexual nature.

Children exposed to any of the above types of maltreatment are the kinds of children ACP would evaluate.

To discuss your concerns or schedule an exam or interview, please call 412-232-7200.

II. Developmental Evaluations

Psychologists are available to assess the cognitive functioning of children in the Child Protective Services system for whom there are concerns about possible developmental delay. Children from infancy to early adolescence are assessed using standardized measures. Children manifesting difficulties in various areas of development are referred for the appropriate therapeutic and educational programs.

III. Physical Examinations

There are several types of exams done with on children at ACP.

A. Forensic Examination:

These are done when a child discloses sexual abuse, when there is a sibling of a child that has been sexually abused, or when a child hasn’t disclosed but has been or is living with a sex offender.

The exam is generally a visual genital exam and it is not painful. This is not a gynecological exam on prepubertal children. A colposcope, an external magnification aide, is used. The mother can be in the room during the exam if so desired. In some cases, children may receive cultures for sexually transmitted disease.

Dr. Mary Carrasco and Dr. Karen Morris are the physicians conducting these exams and the child is required to have a forensic interview prior to an exam.

To discuss your concerns or schedule an exam or interview, please call 412-232-7200.

B. Foster Care Physical Exam:

ACP sees children daily who are going through placements into and out of the foster care system. They are required to be medically examined. A Certified Nurse Practitioner conducts all of these exams.

ACP also provides ongoing well child care to a child in foster care, so that a child sees the same Certified Nurse Practitioner for each visit. We realize that children in foster care are the most medically neglected children in our country, and their medical care needs to be closely monitored.

IV. Training for Community Organizations and Professionals:

ACP provides training to a wide spectrum of community organizations and professionals. Groups include, but are not limited to, police officers, CYS caseworkers, probation and parole officers, trauma nurses, attorneys, teachers and school staff.

Examples of class topics include:

  • Identification of Child Abuse
  • Internet Safety
  • Mandated Reporting
  • Team Building
  • Interviewing Techniques

To obtain information about training programs given by A Child’s Place, please call 412-232-7200.