Training

Two women sharing a desk at an adult education classThe Adult Advocacy Center Model was designed to serve adults with disabilities who are alleged victims or witnesses of abuse, maltreatment or neglect. Our definition of “disability” is broad and includes all disabilities defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Center staff and partner agencies will be expertly trained to meet the needs of every individual.

Meet the Project FIND Team

Part of that expert training is our Project FIND trainings — Forensic Interviewing for Individuals with Disabilities – which was developed by a coalition of stakeholders and a team of experts. The coalition includes:

The team of expert contributors includes:

  • Scott Modell, Founder of Collaborative Safety and President of MCG Consulting Services;
  • Mark Douglas Everson, Professor, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
  • Kathryn Homan, Full-Time Forensic Interviewer, New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center;
  • Julie Kenniston, Program Manager, National Criminal Justice Training Program of Fox Valley Technical College;
  • Janice LeBel, Director of System Transformation, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health;
  • Chris Newlin, Executive Director, National Children’s Advocacy Center;
  • Lia N. Rohlehr, Board Certified Forensic Psychologist, Superior Court of the District of Columbia;
  • Stacie Schrieffer LeBlanc, Executive Director and Director of Legal Advocacy, New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center of Children’s Hospital;
  • Dermot Whelan, Criminal Investigator, New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs;
  • Staci Whitney, Forensic Interviewer, Bivona Child Advocacy Center and Director of Forensic Interviewing Training, Modell Consulting Group

Common Questions

What is a forensic interview?

A forensic interview is a single session, legally sound, fact-finding interview by a specially trained professional to get detailed information about possible events that an individual with a disability may have experienced or witnessed. In having just a single interview, a victim or witness to a crime does not have to endure being retraumatized by telling the story again and again.

Who can take these trainings?

Each training is design with different professionals in mind. The training you should take will depend on the kind of work you do and how closely you work with adults with disabilities who may be victims of crime, abuse or neglect. The description of each training describes the requirements participants must meet to take the course. Eligibility will be verified in the application process.

Read our publication: Frequently Asked Questions about Project FIND

Learn About the Trainings

Project FIND Foundations Training

The Project FIND Foundations five-day training teaches participants the basic skills they need when performing forensic interviews for adult crime victims. It is designed for professionals with roles and experience in or working with adult victims and witnesses of crime and individuals with disabilities. The training is founded in forensic interviewing best practices with considerations for memory, trauma and cultural background. The curriculum is designed to support professionals as they gather information from alleged victims and witnesses in the most reliable and legally defensible manner.

Curriculum topic areas include:

  • Trauma Informed Approach;
  • Interview Setting;
  • Remaining Neutral;
  • Reducing Authoritative Presence of Interviewer;
  • Communication Skills;
  • Memory;
  • Abuse Dynamics;
  • Question Types;
  • Engagement and Rapport;
  • Interview Instructions;
  • Transition to Topic of Concern;
  • Topic of Concern;
  • Closure; and
  • Post Interview Considerations.

Participants learn through readings, didactic instruction, video examples, case scenarios, participating in activities throughout the training. All attendees complete a practicum to have an opportunity to practice and utilize the skills that are introduced in the training.

Maximum Number of Attendees: 24

Upcoming Dates and Times

These trainings are currently free, thanks to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, and are currently held online in 10 sessions over five days. The schedule for the upcoming dates will be as follows:

Monday – 8:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday through Friday – 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Dates

March 15-19, 2021

August 16-20, 2021

Download the Project FIND Foundations Trainings Flyer

Download the Project FIND Foundations Training Application

Project FIND Advanced Certificate Training

The Advanced Forensic Interviewing Individuals with Disabilities (Project FIND) certificate is designed for established forensic interviewers with previous basic training and extensive experience in forensic interviewing and or working with individuals with disabilities. The certificate is founded in forensic interviewing best practices with considerations and adaptations to account for individual disability, mental health disorder, language capacity and cultural background. The curriculum is designed to support forensic interviewers to gather information from alleged victims and witnesses in the most reliable and legally defensible manner. Curriculum topic areas include:

  • Statistics and History of Disabilities;
  • Myths, Bias, and Assumptions;
  • Assuming Normal Intelligence;
  • Change in Language and Perspective;
  • Individuals with Disabilities and Mental Health Disorders including Intellectual Disabilities;
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder;
  • Cerebral Palsy;
  • Physical Disabilities;
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);
  • Communication Disorders;
  • Mental Health Disorders;
  • Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders;
  • Bipolar and Related Disorders;
  • Depressive Disorders;
  • Anxiety Disorders;
  • Trauma-Related Disorders;
  • The Role of Race and Culture in Interviewing;
  • Interviewing Individuals with Disabilities;
  • Introduction to the Adapted Protocol for Individuals Who Do Not Speak;
  • Interview Considerations for Individuals with Mental Health Disorders; and
  • Post Interview Considerations

Participants learn through readings, didactic instruction, video examples, case scenarios, participating in activities throughout the training. All attendees complete a practicum that is scored on a pass/fail basis.

Minimum requirements include:

  • Completion of basic forensic interviewing training (min 32 hours)
  • Completion of 100 interviews and or a minimum 2 years’ experience working with individuals with disabilities and/or an expert review/letter of recommendation.

Maximum number of attendees: 24

Upcoming Dates and Times

These trainings are currently free, thanks to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, and are currently held online in eight sessions over five days.

Because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the weekly schedule for the January training will be as follows:

Monday – Holiday

Tuesday – 8:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday – 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday – 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Friday – 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

 

The weekly schedule for the April and July trainings will be as follows:

Monday – 8:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday – 9 a.m. to noon

Wednesday – 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday – 9 a.m. to noon

Friday – 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Dates

January 19-22, 2021***

April 19-23, 2021

July 19-23, 2021

***Download the Project FIND Advanced Certificate Training Flyer for January 2021

Download the Project FIND Advanced Certificate Training Flyer for April and July 2021

Download the Project FIND Advanced Certificate Training Application

Project FIND Adapted Training

Forensic Interviewing Individuals Who Do Not Speak

The Adapted FIND three-day training is designed for established forensic interviewers with previous basic training and extensive experience in forensic interviewing and/or those working with individuals with disabilities. The training is founded in forensic interviewing best practices with considerations and adaptations to account for individuals who do not speak, use gestures to communicate, speak few words or utilize a communication device. The curriculum is designed to support forensic interviewers to gather information from alleged victims and witnesses in the most reliable and legally defensible manner. Topics include:

  • Person First/Identity First Language;
  • History of Disabilities;
  • Statistics and Incident Rates;
  • Myths/Biases/Assumptions;
  • Language and Perspective;
  • Overview and Tips for Communicating with Individuals Who Do Not Speak;
  • Assistive Communication Devices;
  • Adapted Interviewing for Individuals Who Do Not Speak; and
  • Post-Interview Considerations.

Participants learn through readings, didactic instruction, video examples, case scenarios, participating in activities throughout the training and practicing a multi-session interview based on an assigned case scenario on the final day.

Minimum expectations:

  • Completion of basic forensic interviewing training (min. 32 hours) and/or equivalent investigative or interviewing training
  • Demonstrated experience in interviewing and/or investigating allegations of abuse and neglect

Maximum number of attendees: 16

Dates

February 24-26, 2021

May 12-14, 2021

September 22-24, 2021

Download the Project FIND Adapted Training Flyer

Download the Project FIND Adapted Training Application

 

Project FIND Prosecutor Training

The Project FIND Two-Day Prosecutor Training is designed for prosecutors who want to increase their knowledge about the needs of crime victims with disabilities and learn about different ways to pursue charges in these cases. The training is founded in best practices, with considerations and adaptations to account for individual disability, mental health disorder, language capacity and cultural background. The curriculum is designed to support prosecutors to develop a broader understanding of many disabilities, including:

  • Intellectual Disabilities;
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder;
  • Cerebral Palsy;
  • Physical Disabilities;
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);
  • Communication Disorders;
  • Mental Health Disorders;
  • Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders;
  • Bipolar and Related Disorders;
  • Depressive Disorders;
  • Anxiety Disorders; and
  • Trauma-Related Disorders.

Understanding the unique characteristics of these groups and the ability to communicate effectively is paramount to creating safe environments and effectively prosecuting cases.

Maximum Number of Attendees: 50

Upcoming Dates and Times Two-Day Trainings

These trainings are currently free, thanks to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, and are held online from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. each day. Upcoming dates are:

March 3-4, 2021

August 2021 (TBD)

Download the Project FIND Prosecutor Trainings Flyer

Download the Project FIND Prosecutor Training Application