Forensic Interview Resources

Forensic Interview Research and Education (FIRE)


Program Description

FIRE bridges the gap between forensic interview research and practice by engaging in partnerships with researchers and expert practitioners alike. The department engages in forensic interview research and educates forensic interviewers and other professionals nationally on how to obtain both reliable and exhaustive information from children and adults. FIRE teaches best practices from a multi-disciplinary collaborative, culturally competent, research and trauma informed perspective. We give professionals the tools and resources necessary to maintain a high level of practice in the field and to transition competently and confidently to the courtroom.

Consultation and Testimony

FIRE provides legal expert testimony, consultation, and review in civil and criminal matters. Expert topics include forensic interviewing, child maltreatment, child sexual abuse dynamics including delayed disclosure and grooming behavior. FIRE staff are available for consultation regarding interviewing best practice techniques on a broad range of topics, tele-forensic interviewing, and forensic interview policy/procedure.

We provide these services both locally and nationally.

Calendar of Trainings



Trial Skills for Fls Course - December 15-17,2021

FIT Training January - 10-14, 2022

FIT Peer Review February - 4, 2022

Trial Skills for FIs Course March - 2-4, 2022

FIT Peer Review - April 1, 2022

FIT Training - April 4-8, 2022

Advanced Trial Skills - May 4-6, 2022

FIT Peer Review - June 3, 2022

FIT Training - June 6-10, 2022

Advanced Trial Skills: Control on Cross - June 21-22, 2022

Trial Skills for FIs Course - July 6-8, 2022

FIT Peer Review - August 5, 2022

FIT Training - September 12-16, 2022

FIT Peer Review - October 7, 2022

Advanced Trial Skills: Control on Cross - October 18-19, 2022

FIT Peer Review - November 4, 2022

Upcoming Trainings


For questions, please contact Catie Ladas at (443) 923-7034 or CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org



Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) Training

FORMAT: In-Person
LOCATION: 2300 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21218
TOPICS COVERED: Current forensic interview research, tele-forensic interviewing, child development, use of media/evidence, memory & suggestibility, interviewing with cultural competence, and dynamics of abuse. This NCA accredited 32.5-hour training includes comprehensive instruction on BCAC’s Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT), forensic interview protocol. FIT is a research based, narrative, semi-scripted, and phased approach to interviewing. FIT methods can be applied to obtain both accurate and complete narratives from victims and witnesses. The FIT class teaches a broad range of best practice tools while also providing interviewers a clear guideline for questioning. Interviewers can use the FIT guideline as it is taught or utilize best practice tools learned to adapt to their individual jurisdiction’s population and protocols. The participants will be provided comprehensive narrative materials to accompany them in any interview or in preparation for defending their interview in court. Participants will learn best practices for questioning children and vulnerable adults (elder abuse and adults with disabilities). Practice interviews and mock trial will enhance learning along with content experts from legal, elder justice and interview research.

DATES: Monday – Friday, January 10 – 14, 2022, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
TUITION: In state MDT partners (Maryland): $800/$750 early bird (paid by December 10, 2021) | Out of state: $1000/$950 early bird (paid by December 10, 2021); Lunch will be provided.
REGISTRATION LINK: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe2MON7bsZtF5EPK9lxbwwGVPCOJc3V4yKFAWx3m71Uu8NfQg/viewform?usp=sf_link

*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.

For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.
Our FIT Training is now also being offered in Spanish by request.


Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) Peer Review

FORMAT: Hybrid Options Available (Zoom/ In-Person: 2300 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218)
TOPICS COVERED: This 6-session series of FIT Peer Review will be comprised of a small, 6-person focus group to cultivate a comfortable environment to collaborate, give feedback, and learn through constructive criticism. Each participant will have a session dedicated to sharing one of their own recorded interviews with their peers, and the remaining sessions will be dedicated to observing peer interviews and offering feedback. Lasting 1.5 hours, each comprehensive FIT Peer Review session will allow the Forensic Interviewer to engage in a lively and constructive discussion after reviewing a recorded forensic interview and accompanying research article(s). This session will give the Forensic Interviewer the opportunity to review question types, maintain best practices, and enhance their knowledge of current research in the field. Peer Review, a required practice for Forensic Interviewers, is seen as the primary way to avoid leading and/or suggestive interview techniques. Must be trained in at least 1 nationally approved FI protocol to attend.

DATES: February 4, 2022/ April 1, 2022/ June 3, 2022/ August 5, 2022/ October 7, 2022/ November 4, 2022; 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EST
TUITION: $650
REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/dxZddh8ukPZKCpTR6


*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.
For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.


Trial Skills for Forensic Interviewers Training

FORMAT: In-Person
LOCATION: 2300 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218
OVERVIEW: This intensive workshop is designed to help the child forensic interviewer develop and refine their ability to testify in court as an expert and/or lay witness. This is not a protocol-specific training. There are no prerequisites required to enroll. This program is appropriate for all experience levels, but it is specifically aimed at child forensic interviewers with minimal or no experience testifying in court, as well as experienced interviewers who are uncomfortable testifying.

  • Gain practical skills that will make you more comfortable and confident when testifying in court, including how to:
    • Effectively prepare for court
    • Testify as an expert
    • Handle evidence and exhibits
    • Deal with problems in the case and/or your interview
    • Work with difficult attorneys
  • Practice and improve your ability to defend your interview and stay in control when testifying on cross-examination.

DATES: March 2 – 4, 2022, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
TUITION: $950; Lunch will be provided.
REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/wYKFa7y7XodrZuD38


*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.
For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.


Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) Training

FORMAT: In-Person
LOCATION: 2300 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218
TOPICS COVERED: Current forensic interview research, tele-forensic interviewing, child development, use of media/evidence, memory & suggestibility, interviewing with cultural competence, and dynamics of abuse. This NCA accredited 32.5-hour training includes comprehensive instruction on BCAC’s Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT), forensic interview protocol. FIT is a research based, narrative, semi-scripted, and phased approach to interviewing. FIT methods can be applied to obtain both accurate and complete narratives from victims and witnesses. The FIT class teaches a broad range of best practice tools while also providing interviewers a clear guideline for questioning. Interviewers can use the FIT guideline as it is taught or utilize best practice tools learned to adapt to their individual jurisdiction’s population and protocols. The participants will be provided comprehensive narrative materials to accompany them in any interview or in preparation for defending their interview in court. Participants will learn best practices for questioning children and vulnerable adults (elder abuse and adults with disabilities). Practice interviews and mock trial will enhance learning along with content experts from legal, elder justice and interview research.

DATES: April 4 – 8, 2022, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
TUITION: In state MDT partners (Maryland): $850/$800 early bird (paid by March 4, 2022) | Out of state: $1050/$1000 early bird (paid by March 4, 2022) Lunch will be provided.
REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/shYtNoV1iJ8johoh8


*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.
For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.


Advanced Trial Skills: Testifying as an Expert

FORMAT: In-Person
LOCATION: 5400 Preakness Way, Baltimore, MD 21215-5880
TOPICS COVERED: This three-day, advanced interactive workshop is perfect for forensic interviewers and other child maltreatment professionals who want to learn how to testify comfortably and confidently as experts. Applicants must have at least five years of experience in the field* and some experience testifying in court (either as a fact or expert witness).This training equips participants with a variety of tools that they can use to become better witnesses. Led by experienced trial attorneys and veteran expert witnesses in the field of child maltreatment, courses include topics such as:

  • Improving the appearance and content of resumes and CV’s
  • Understanding the different types of experts and the responsibilities that come with each role
  • Developing effective preparation strategies
  • Working with attorneys as an effective expert consultant
  • Special considerations for testifying as a “hybrid” (fact and expert) witness
  • Engaging in practices that help professionals stay abreast of the latest developments in evidence-based research and using that research while testifying
  • Becoming a better communicator, educator, and public speaker
  • Evaluating and testifying about another professional’s work on a case
  • Anticipating cross-examination through critical analysis of one’s own work performed on a case Evaluate a forensic interview for court purposes
*If you are being requested to testify before the 5 years of experience mark, please apply.
PREREQUESITES: 5+ years of forensic interview experience; trained in a nationally approved forensic interviewing protocol

 

DATES: May 4-6, 2022/ 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM EST
TUITION: $950
APPLY HERE: https://forms.gle/5u7D52YdiojbSyubA


*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.
For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.


Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) Training

FORMAT: In-Person
LOCATION: Baltimore, MD TBD
TOPICS COVERED: Current forensic interview research, tele-forensic interviewing, child development, use of media/evidence, memory & suggestibility, interviewing with cultural competence, and dynamics of abuse. This NCA accredited 32.5-hour training includes comprehensive instruction on BCAC’s Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT), forensic interview protocol. FIT is a research based, narrative, semi-scripted, and phased approach to interviewing. FIT methods can be applied to obtain both accurate and complete narratives from victims and witnesses. The FIT class teaches a broad range of best practice tools while also providing interviewers a clear guideline for questioning. Interviewers can use the FIT guideline as it is taught or utilize best practice tools learned to adapt to their individual jurisdiction’s population and protocols. The participants will be provided comprehensive narrative materials to accompany them in any interview or in preparation for defending their interview in court. Participants will learn best practices for questioning children and vulnerable adults (elder abuse and adults with disabilities). Practice interviews and mock trial will enhance learning along with content experts from legal, elder justice and interview research.

DATES: June 6 – 10, 2022, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
TUITION: In state MDT partners (Maryland): $850/$800 early bird (paid by May 6, 2022) | Out of state: $1050/$1000 early bird (paid by May 6, 2022); Lunch will be provided.
REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/fXJ5fLic9XPVLxGd9


*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.
For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.


Advanced Trial Skills: Control on Cross

FORMAT: Zoom
LOCATION: Online
TOPICS COVERED: This practical and experiential two-day remote session is catered toward individuals who have prior experience testifying in court and wish to improve their confidence and performance on cross-examination. We use a combined approach, balancing skills lessons focused on maintaining control during cross-examination with mock trial practice and comprehensive, constructive feedback.
PREREQUESITES: 5+ years of forensic interview experience; trained in a nationally approved forensic interviewing protocol *

UPCOMING CLASSES:

June 21-22,2022/ 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM EST
TUITION: $750
APPLY HERE: https://forms.gle/19hfNY7kQove2AAW9

October 18-19, 2022/ 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM EST
TUITION: $750
APPLY HERE: https://forms.gle/g2VWybCgTJDKuoXcA


Trial Skills for Forensic Interviewers Training

FORMAT: In-Person
LOCATION: Atlanta, GA, specific location TBD
OVERVIEW: This intensive workshop is designed to help the child forensic interviewer develop and refine their ability to testify in court as an expert and/or lay witness. This is not a protocol-specific training. There are no prerequisites required to enroll. This program is appropriate for all experience levels, but it is specifically aimed at child forensic interviewers with minimal or no experience testifying in court, as well as experienced interviewers who are uncomfortable testifying.

  • Gain practical skills that will make you more comfortable and confident when testifying in court, including how to:
    • Effectively prepare for court
    • Testify as an expert
    • Handle evidence and exhibits
    • Deal with problems in the case and/or your interview
    • Work with difficult attorneys
  • Practice and improve your ability to defend your interview and stay in control when testifying on cross-examination.

DATES: July 6 – 8, 2022, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
TUITION: $950; Lunch will be provided.
REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/42MocroNKwyiT4vy7


*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.
For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.


Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) Training

FORMAT: In-Person
LOCATION: Baltimore, MD TBD
TOPICS COVERED: Current forensic interview research, tele-forensic interviewing, child development, use of media/evidence, memory & suggestibility, interviewing with cultural competence, and dynamics of abuse. This NCA accredited 32.5-hour training includes comprehensive instruction on BCAC’s Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT), forensic interview protocol. FIT is a research based, narrative, semi-scripted, and phased approach to interviewing. FIT methods can be applied to obtain both accurate and complete narratives from victims and witnesses. The FIT class teaches a broad range of best practice tools while also providing interviewers a clear guideline for questioning. Interviewers can use the FIT guideline as it is taught or utilize best practice tools learned to adapt to their individual jurisdiction’s population and protocols. The participants will be provided comprehensive narrative materials to accompany them in any interview or in preparation for defending their interview in court. Participants will learn best practices for questioning children and vulnerable adults (elder abuse and adults with disabilities). Practice interviews and mock trial will enhance learning along with content experts from legal, elder justice and interview research.

DATES: September 12 – 16, 2022, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
TUITION: In state MDT partners (Maryland): $850/$800 early bird (paid by August 12, 2022) | Out of state: $1050/$1000 early bird (paid by August 12, 2022); Lunch will be provided.
REGISTRATION LINK: https://forms.gle/j1jDNjfSG8Wpwiey9


*Verification of fully vaccinated status OR a negative pre-entry PCR testing result (completed 3 days before arrival) in combination with a rapid negative testing result administered on site will be required by all attendees.
For additional information, contact CFHFI@lifebridgehealth.org.



About the Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT)

The Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) is structured to help interviewers understand and access all of the best practice methods available to the field of forensic interviewing with children and vulnerable adults. In recent years, research in the field of forensic interviewing has been published at a rapid rate. This expansion in the field allows interviewers to refer to a wide range of best practice methods to obtain both accurate and complete narratives from witnesses (including victims) of not only sexual abuse, but a myriad of other crimes. Previously, adherence to a specific interview protocol was prudent; today interviewers are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with ongoing research, a variety of interview approaches and best practice guidelines, the basis for FIT.

This forensic interview technique is used with a suspected victim/witness central to a crime, as well as with those witnesses on the periphery of alleged incidents. FIT can also be used to interview individuals (siblings or other household members) exposed to alleged suspects. Vulnerable individuals with sexualized or other unusual behaviors concerning for abuse are also appropriate for this interview model. FIT is a flexible, semi-scripted, phased approach offering a range of choices at every stage of the interview while emphasizing methods supported by research. With the understanding that every individual and every community has differing needs for the interview, a “one-protocol-fits-all” approach may not be suitable. These guidelines utilize the concept of a toolbox approach that teaches a wide variety of best practice methods for every phase of the forensic interview. There is no one right way to conduct a forensic interview. FIT offers many options but is not exhaustive. Interviewers may choose other questions instead. FIT helps interviewers understand best practices to inform and explain their choices. As best practices dictate, FIT focuses on the use of open-ended invitations for transition statements and within each phase. A range of more focused questions are used with caution where open-ended prompts are unsuccessful.

FIT is appropriate for the novice or experienced. It was created for dedicated forensic interviewers, and for those who conduct interviews as part of an investigatory role such as Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) members in law enforcement, legal, education, or adult and child protection fields. FIT is designed for those who conduct forensic interviews and for those who observe them. FIT interviewing is not dispositive, as it is not intended to prove or disprove allegations. FIT is a tool to obtain complete narrative responses from individuals by which investigators can proceed their inquiry and make determinations.


Tele-Forensic Interview Resources

TeleForenic Interview Hotline Center For Hope

With the arrival of COVID-19, forensic interviewers across the nation were looking for innovative ways to safely conduct forensic interviews. Tele-forensic interviewing has come to the forefront as a viable and defensible option. To help support our colleagues across the country, BCAC has set up a hotline for questions regarding TFI or TFI set up: 443-934-4396. Give us a call! We’re here to help!

Since March 2020, the forensic interview team in Baltimore has emerged as a national leader in tele-forensic interviewing (Tele-FI/TFI) practice and education. In 2021, the team continues to support a Tele-FI helpline to those who need assistance setting up or have questions about tele-forensic interviewing practice. We also have our previously recorded tele-FI webinars posted for viewing.

Below you will find our archived webinars as well as some additional resources we have put together to help you:

ARCHIVED WEBINARS

Tele-Forensic Interviewing: A National Panel (recorded on 1/5/21)
A panel of forensic interviewers from across the U.S. discuss how they implemented TFI. We review screening tools, choices on technology and security, safety and protocol decisions, successes and challenges. Responses to the TFI process by the interviewers, team and children are discussed along with ideas about what role TFI has in our future. Includes Q & A with the audience. Panelists: Christina Copland, forensic interviewer, Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, Maryville, TN; Katie Ashburner, MSW, forensic interviewer, Blue Sky Bridge, Boulder, CO; Rachel Booker, manager of forensic services at Safe Shores, Washington, D.C.; Ray Olszewski, Jr., LMSW Forensic Interview Specialist at the Metropolitan Children’s Advocacy Center in Columbia, SC; Miriam Wolf, MS, LCSW Director of the Forensic Interviewing Program at the Keller Center in San Mateo County, CA; Annie Waller, LMSW Forensic interviewer at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. Moderated by Crimson Barocca, LCSW-C Forensic Interview Program Supervisor at Baltimore Child Abuse Center.



Tele FI Practice & Protocol Development Webinar (recorded on 11/13/20)
With no clear end of COVID-19 in sight and hundreds of tele-forensic interviews (TFI) under our belt we have many successes and challenges to share. This training provides real case examples and direction on how to create and improve existing protocols on TFI practice. As skepticism fades on TFI, we discuss emerging scenarios of the benefits of this practice beyond COVID.



Tele-Forensic Interview Webinar (recorded on 4/8/20)
With the arrival of COVID-19, forensic interviewers across the nation are looking for innovative ways to safely conduct forensic interviews. Tele-forensic interviewing has come to the forefront as a viable and defensible option. We review new research, how to implement into practice and discuss guidance from National Children’s Alliance.




ADDITIONAL RESOURCES