Do Forensic Interview Protocols Work for Preschoolers? – National Children’s Advocacy Center Skip to content

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The very youngest children (three to five years of age) are one of the most challenging groups to interview. However, this group is also seen as vulnerable to maltreatment. Limited language abilities, short attention span, lack of experience serving as primary sources of information, and narrow life experiences are only a few of the challenges for preschoolers when asked to serve as witnesses. As Senior Trainer and Curriculum Chair for the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC), a long-time forensic interviewer and a former preschool teacher, the author has an interest in providing an adaption of the NCAC Child Forensic Interview Structure (CFIS) to better meet the needs of the youngest children who are challenged by the demands of these unique conversations. A number of issues are raised by the blanket application of “best practice” principles when interviewing preschool children. In this paper the author will consider some of the developmental issues and concerns for preschool children and will also provide recommendation for possible adaptations of the NCAC CFIS with preschoolers.

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