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


Project FIND’s Four-Day Training

The Advanced Forensic Interviewing Individuals with Disabilities certificate is designed for established forensic interviewers with previous basic training and extensive experience in forensic interviewing 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 in the most reliable and legally defensible manner. Curriculum topic areas include:

  • Individuals with Disabilities and Mental Health Disorders;
  • Person-First / Identity-First Language;
  • Statistics and History of Disabilities;
  • Statistic Incident Rates;
  • Sexual Education;
  • Bias and Assumptions;
  • Assuming Normal Intelligence;
  • Change in Language and Perspective;
  • 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;
  • The Role of Medication;
  • Interviewing Individuals with Disabilities;
  • Pre-interview Considerations;
  • Engagement and Rapport;
  • Interview Instructions;
  • Transition to Topic of Concern;
  • Topic of Concern;
  • Closure;
  • Adapted Protocol for Someone Who Doesn’t 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.


  • Completion of basic forensic interviewing training (min 32 hours) This requirement is waived for professionals who investigate crimes against people with disabilities.
  • 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 Locations for Four-Day Trainings

These trainings are currently free, thanks to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds from the Ohio Attorney General’s office. However, please note that travel and lodging is the responsibility of the individual participant or the agency sending the participant.

CANCELLED – April 21-24, 2020
Guernsey County Board of Developmental Disabilities
60770 Southgate Road, Byesville, Ohio 43723

June 9-12, 2020
Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities
4691 Windfall Road, Medina, Ohio 44256

July 21-24, 2020
Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities
801 West Union St., Athens, Ohio 45701

August 11-14, 2020
Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
1275 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44144

September 22-25, 2020
Blanchard Valley Center (Hancock County Board of Developmental Disabilities)
1700 E. Sandusky St., Findlay, Ohio 45840

October 13-16, 2020
Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities
235 N. Toussaint South Road, Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449

Download a printable file with a list of these dates

Download the Project FIND Four-Day Training application

Project FIND’s Two-Day Prosecutor Training

The Project FIND Two-Day 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. CLEs will also be available.

Maximum Number of Attendees: 24

Upcoming Dates and Locations for Two-Day Trainings

August 26-27, 2020
Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities,
2950 Whipple Ave. NW, Canton, Ohio, 44708

September 16-17, 2020
Clark County Board of Developmental Disabilities,
2527 Kenton St., Springfield, Ohio 45505

Download a printable file with a list of these dates

Download the Project FIND Two-Day Prosecutor Training application