IV. D-2A. Audio Recording Interviews

Effective 7/12/16

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IV. D-2A. Audio Recording Interviews

Effective 7/12/16

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Audio Recording Interviews


The Office of Child and Family Services recognizes the need for transparency in our work with families and children.  Audio recording interviews with children are legally mandated and best practice when assessing allegations of child abuse or neglect.  Audio recording of parent interviews is not legally mandated but is recommended as best practice.


To clarify expectations for staff in carrying out the legal mandate to audio record and document interviews with children during the assessment of allegations of abuse and neglect.  To provide best practice recommendations for audio recorded parent interviews.


In our response to child safety concerns, we reach factually supported conclusions in a timely and thorough manner.  Input from parents, children, extended family, and community stakeholders is a necessary component in assuring safety.


22 M.R.S.A. §4021


Child Interview:  An interview of a child that the caseworker conducts in response to a report of child abuse or neglect at any point in the assessment or case. Child interviews must be audio recorded.

Parent Interview:  An interview of a person responsible for a child that the caseworker conducts in response to a report of child abuse or neglect at any point in the assessment or case.    


The caseworker is responsible for the safekeeping of recording devices and any recordings maintained on those devices at all times.

Prior to conducting an audio recording:

Ensure the recorder is working and that the caseworker is able to operate the recorder.

Ensure there is enough memory on the recorder to record the planned interview.

Ensure the recorder has operational batteries.

Test the recorder before the interview begins.

Interview of the Child:

Turn on the recorder when the interview begins; explain the purpose of the recorder to the child/youth.

If a child/youth objects to having their interview recorded the caseworker will stop the recording.  The caseworker will explore the reasons for the child’s objection to being recorded by providing information, answering questions, and letting the child see and experiment with the recorder.  

The caseworker will work to help the child/youth become comfortable with recording the interview, but will not pressure the child/youth to allow the recording.

OCFS staff and law enforcement may share audio recordings.

Interview of the Person Responsible for the Child:

Caseworkers will request that persons responsible for the child have their interviews audio recorded in cases of alleged child abuse or neglect.

Caseworkers will explain the benefits of audio recording interviews.

Recording interviews of the person responsible for the child is voluntary; parents may ask to end the recording at any time; however, the caseworker may use any recorded portion of an interview.

Before they begin recording the caseworker will inform the person responsible for the child that audio recording is voluntary and then ask if they consent to the recording.  Once consent is given the caseworker will begin recording and ask the person responsible for the child to confirm they have consented to the audio recording before proceeding with the interview.  


A narrative log entry will be entered for all audio recorded interviews with children and parents.  

The narrative log entry will include that the audio recording is located on the V drive and will be a summary of the interview.

The summary will include all pertinent information and all disclosures of child abuse or neglect.

Within ten (10) days of the interview, the caseworker will move the recording from the recorder to the V drive.

If the child refuses to be audio recorded, the caseworker will document how the recorder was introduced and the child’s response in the narrative log.  This narrative log entry will include the entire interview, as there is no audio recording to reference.

If law enforcement objects to the audio recording, the interview will still be recorded and the objection and the reason for it will be documented in the narrative log.

Role of Supervisor:

Child Protective assessments will not be approved, until the supervisor has verified the audio recording is on the V drive.

If the audio recorder is lost or destroyed the caseworker will make their supervisor and PA aware of this occurrence and participate fully in any attempt to locate the audio recorder.

The incident of a lost recorder must be reported to the OCFS General Counsel or designee immediately so that appropriate assessment of confidentiality laws can be completed.  

The loss of a recorder, although unintentional, may result in Human Resources being contacted to determine what if any further action may be warranted.  


Appendix 1 Fact Finding Child Interview Protocol Steps (the entire Fact Finding Manual can be found on the L drive within the Fact Finding Protocol folder)  

1.Prepare for the interview and interview environment.

2.Introduce yourself and build rapport (this should be recorded).

3.Establish ground rules.

4.Conduct a practice interview

5.Explore child-directed perceptions and concerns (about issues/contexts set by the interviewer).

6.Explore interviewer-directed perceptions and concerns



Appendix 2 Voice File Mover Instructions

Full instructions including images to correctly use the recorder, download voice recordings and search for voice recordings can be located in the L drive

Open MACWIS folder

Open MACWIS Training Library

Open Voice Files