The Roof

Shingles, clay tiles, a multitude of colors and materials.  Roofs come in many styles but one thing they all offer is protection, safety, and shelter. Not unlike a house without a sound roof, a victim of child abuse’s protection and safety are compromised, resulting in what may be the worst experience of their entire lives. But there is a way to get in front of the issue of child abuse. A way to offer protection, safety, and shelter from the evils that lurk with the issue of child abuse. By educating children on personal body and Internet safety, and by informing adults on how to better protect children in their lives and properly report abuse, we provide the roof over the house that trust built.

Our staff of educators go out into our community, whether that is a school, church, organization, or business, and teach adults and children alike on signs, symptoms, and appropriate reactions to child abuse. By offering prevention education free of charge across all of Tarrant County, our team ensure that children know how to recognize, resist, and speak up if someone is abusing them or a friend. Additionally, we find it imperative that adults know the signs and symptoms of abuse, the steps to report it, and how to help any child who might come to them in confidence.

We offer two free educational programs for children including Netsmartz®, an interactive, educational safety resource developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. This program teaches children and teens how to stay safe on and encourages appropriate use of the Internet.  “P.S. It’s My Body!” is an innovative, practical safety series for children designed by The Sunflower House to teach and reinforce the three R’s of personal safety: Recognizing, Resisting, and Reporting. The program discusses personal body safety, recognizing what an appropriate touch is, and how to identify a trusted adult in their lives. 

Education for adults includes: Stewards of Children®, a revolutionary training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse; Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention 101, covering the realities of child abuse and its effect on our communities, and the definitions of child abuse as determined by law; Internet Safety for Parents, Guardians and Communities, educating parents, guardians and communities on how to help keep children and teens safe online; and Let's Talk: Talking with Your Child about Personal Body Safety, which covers current professional recommendations on developmentally appropriate conversations regarding personal body safety, and evidence-informed guidance and tips.

Protecting children from abuse is our goal, and community education has a large part of the effectiveness of our work.


The Door

For children who may have experienced abuse, when a report is made to authorities the first step in the investigation process to determine if an instance of abuse took place is a forensic interview: the door that opens to healing. Alliance For Children centers provide a “home” for these children, a place of security where they can speak openly to safe adults who are there to ensure each child’s wellbeing and safety. In this edition of The House that Trust Built, we share what a forensic interview means to a child abuse investigation and why it is an essential step for a child who may be a victim of abuse.

At the core of a children’s advocacy center like Alliance For Children, the hope is to decrease the amount of trauma to possible or alleged child victims during the course of a criminal investigation. Prior to the creation of children’s advocacy centers, child victims had to repeat their allegations of abuse time after time, forcing the child to relive the trauma repeatedly.

A forensic interview is a legally justifiable, objective, fact-finding, investigative interview conducted by a trained professional at the request of an investigating agency such as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, law enforcement agencies, and occasionally the Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The Forensic Interview Team consists of specialized interviewers who are highly trained in child development, memory, suggestibility, linguistics, dynamics of abuse, and question typology. These interviews are designed to obtain investigative information from possible or alleged child abuse victims in a sensitive and non-leading manner so as to avoid re-traumatization.

As each case of child abuse is different, so is each interview. There is no set timeframe, or list of questions;each interview is tailored to the child and their specific experience(s). Forensic interviewers quickly build rapport with the child, helping make them feel at ease prior to diving into what they may or may not have experienced. As this subject is often hard for some children to discuss, our forensic interviewers have a number of tools to try and make the conversation more comfortable. The use of anatomical dolls and drawings, smart boards, fidgets, and even utilizing the verbiage used by the child, are just a few methods our team uses to make children feel more at ease when sharing their experiences. 

Interviews gather a plethora of detail, not just about the possible criminal offense, but the location(s) it might have taken place in, and other sensory details they might be able to share, which can lead to better corroboration, suspect identification, and thorough search warrants. As a children’s advocacy center, our job as the neutral party is to serve every child who needs us regardless of preferred language or any disabilities  they may have. We have interviewers who are bilingual in English and Spanish and we utilize interpreters to accommodate any other language barriers, including sign language. We interview children ages 2-17 who might be victims or witnesses of abuse, and sometimes adults with cognitive or communicative delays.

Forensic interviewers work to coordinate interviews with our partners and alleged victims at one of Alliance For Children’s three investigative centers, or remotely via secure virtual platforms in necessary circumstances. In a separate room, investigative partners witness the forensic interviews in real time to ensure they get information relevant to their investigation. These interviews are recorded, allowing for further review and preservation as evidence. Alliance For Children’s forensic interviewers may be called to testify in court cases as expert witnesses and neutral parties. Further, based on information obtained during their time with clients, forensic interviewers may make referrals to Alliance For Children’s Family Advocate program. 

Child abuse victims depend on protective and proactive adults to keep them safe from abuse. If you suspect a child in your life is being abused, we urge you to make a report to local law enforcement or by calling 1-800-252-5400. The door to safety and healing begins with the forensic interview, but that can’t happen without a report of abuse being made. You might be the opportunity for a child to be heard and step through the door to healing. To learn more about the signs and symptoms of child abuse, visit: or consider joining one of our upcoming Stewards of Children trainings: