Legislation introduced by state Rep. Diana Farrington allowing forensic professionals to use real-life recorded interviews for training purposes were passed with overwhelming support by the Michigan House today.
Child Advocacy Center (CAC) forensic interviewers conduct interviews of children in cases of abuse and neglect. Forensic interviewers follow the Forensic Interviewing Protocol, which means they must remain neutral and unbiased and avoid any leading questions to ensure an impartial child abuse and neglect investigation. This practice reduces trauma to children while protecting the rights of the accused.
According to CAC officials, there is a growing number of CACs throughout the state and due to the importance of forensic interviewing, recordings of real-life forensic interviews are a great resource for training individuals to conduct fair and impartial interviews of children.
“Interviewing vulnerable children is a delicate process. Information must be collected without influencing or coercing the children, who are sometimes reluctant to share,” said Farrington, of Utica. “One of the best ways for professionals to gain knowledge and understanding of proper procedure is to view real-life examples.”
Under Farrington’s proposed bill, recordings would not be used for training unless authorization is given by the child’s legal guardian as well as the prosecuting attorney from the county where the interview was conducted.
House Bills 5402-03 now head to the Senate for consideration.