Spanish Speaking Forensic Interview Training

Conducting forensic interviews of children and adolescents is always a complex task requiring interviewers to establish and maintain rapport with a child, understand and track the child’s information, form appropriate and non-leading questions, and adjust interview strategies to accommodate each child’s linguistic style and developmental abilities.  Research has provided interviewers with a roadmap, questioning approaches, and recommendations for interviewing children in active disclosure.

However, forensic interviewers receive little direction from research to guide them in adapting their practices with children who are primarily Spanish-speaking and who come from widely varying cultural backgrounds.  Additional challenges for professionals when conducting a forensic interview with a Spanish-speaking child/adolescent include variations in family dynamics, cultural and social norms, perception of and relationship with the legal and child protection systems, degree of assimilation of child and family, socio-economic and educational concerns, and the complexities of language (grammar, word meaning, linguistic structure, and styles of communication including non-verbal communication).

This training will begin with a review the principles of recognized “best practice” forensic interviewing; but will quickly move to addressing the unique challenges faced by forensic interviewers who work with the variety of culturally diverse Spanish speaking populations.  The training will focus on how to accommodate the needs of these children without compromising the integrity of “best practice” interviewing approaches.

This training will provide an opportunity for observation of each other’s recorded interviews followed by discussion, feedback, and suggestions. Participants are asked to bring recordings of challenging interviews to share with the class.  Completion of a recognized forensic interviewing basic training and current forensic interviewing practice is required.


Child Forensic Interviewing: Best Practices. OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin

Course Topics

This training will provide an opportunity for professionals currently conducting forensic interviews of children in Spanish to engage with others in a similar role.  The training will include didactic presentations addressing pertinent topics such as:

  • Evidence-based Practice (EBP) in Forensic Interviewing
  • Adaptations of EBP in Forensic Interviewing for Spanish Speaking children and adolescents
  • Multiple Challenges of Language
  • Role of the Family in the Forensic Interview and Investigation
  • Issues of Racism and Immigration
  • Collaboration with Multidisciplinary Team Members

Additionally, training will include exercises which expand the professional’s knowledge of varied terminology and phrasing for challenging topics, which allows trainees to share ideas and learn from fellow classmates, as well as faculty.  Participants are asked to bring recordings of challenging interviews to share with the class. Review and discussion of these interviews will provide an opportunity to engage deeply, by discussing obstacles encountered during interviews and to brainstorm effective strategies to address these challenges. 

Who Should Attend?
  • Experienced interviewers who have completed a recognized forensic interviewing basic training and have responsibility for initial forensic interviews of children.
  • Attendees should have a working level of confidence and ability with both Spanish and English.

    Seats in this training are intended for professionals currently working as part of an investigative agency, a multidisciplinary team (MDT), or a children's advocacy center (CAC).  If any seats are available, then others may attend the training.  The NCAC reserves the right to refund the registration of anyone who is not currently working as part of an investigative agency, a MDT, or CAC, to ensure that currently practicing professionals receive the raining they need.

Linda Cordisco Steele, M.Ed, LPC, Senior Trainer/Child Forensic Interview Specialist, National Children's Advocacy Center, Huntsville, AL

Toni Cardenas, LCSW, Child Protection Coordinator New York Presbyterian, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York, Child Advocacy Center

Claudia I. Gonzalez, M.A., LPC-S, Supervisor of Forensic Services, The Children’s Assessment Center, Houston, TX

Length/Certificate of Attendance

Training at the NCAC Training Center in Huntsville, AL is 3 days from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each training day.

A certificate of attendance will be awarded to participants who attend the training in its entirety.

Meals and Ground Transportation
  • One Breakfast Voucher provided per room at the NCAC Host Hotel full-service restaurant for each day of training
  • Catered lunches provided for each day of training
  • Complimentary airport shuttle service provided by NCAC Host Hotel
  • Shuttle service between hotel and training center provided for trainees who stay at the NCAC Host Hotel
Tuition Cost

Early Registration Fee: $849 (applies only to payments received by the early payment deadline)

Standard Registration Fee: $949

There is a 25% discount for registrants from developing countries. Please contact training coordinator for additional information.

International Training Participants

The NCAC is often requested to provide a letter of invitation to prospective attendees from international countries. In order to provide this letter of invitation, the NCAC requires specific documentation from the prospective attendee. List of requirements.

For more information, contact Stacie Dice or call at 256-327-3838.



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