Investigative interviewing with children: Evaluation of the effectiveness of a training program for child protective service workers

Kurt A. Freeman, Tracy L. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: Previous research suggests that training workshops on investigative interviewing conducted with front-line workers, such as police officers or child protective service (CPS) workers, may result in improved knowledge about appropriate strategies to use. Limited research has addressed whether such training programs result in improvements in actual interviewing skills. The present investigation assessed the impact of a training workshop on CPS workers' knowledge about conducting and behavior during investigative interviews. Method: Twelve CPS workers participated. To evaluate the impact of the training, a quasi-experimental design was used. Participants completed outcome measures prior to, immediately following, and 3 months following the training. Outcome measures included (a) a questionnaire to assess knowledge about interviewing practices, (b) simulated interviews with a confederate to assess participant behavior during an investigative interview, and (c) questionnaires to gather information related to the simulated interviews (e.g., materials requested for use during interview, abuse status of confederate). All participants completed 6 hours of training during 3 weekly 2-hour sessions. Results: Participants' knowledge on the topic, as well as several interviewing skills during simulated interviews, improved following the training. However, the training failed to impact several key interviewing skills such as the types of questions asked or the length of the interview. Conclusions: Knowledge-based workshop training programs may not adequately prepare CPS workers to conduct appropriate investigative interviews with children who were allegedly abused. Further, knowledge about how to conduct such interviews may not be the best indicator of whether someone is prepared for this aspect of the job.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-713
Number of pages13
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Child protective services
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Investigative interviewing
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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