ChildFirst PA Update

ChildFirst Pennsylvania is nationally recognized forensic interviewer and multi-disciplinary investigative team (MDIT) training. It designed to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of child abuse while teaching how to place the Child first ahead of all else. The national ChildFirst program began over 12 years ago as the vision of Victor Vieth of the National Child Protection Training Center ( and CornerHouse.

In 2009, The Pennsylvania Children and Youth Solicitors Association in collaboration with the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association made the financial and personal commitment to bring the ChildFirst program to Pennsylvania.

Members of the MDIT include prosecutors, law enforcement, CYS caseworkers, CYS solicitors, and forensic interviewers. Jason Kutulakis, co-founder of ChildFirst PA, explains that, “It is imperative to have well trained professionals who understand how to communicate in an age and developmentally appropriate manner.” A protocol for forensic interviews of children suspected of being victims of child abuse is taught to all trainees with the expectation that the victim child should be interview one time, thereby lessening the impact upon the child. “A specialized forensic interviewer is imperative to safely obtaining the child’s story about the alleged abuse,” reports Kutulakis.

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 9.35.45 AM(Left) Jordan Brooks, Christina King, Molly Malady, Jason Capello, Sarah Martik and Sarah Schumaker These actors assist the trainees in a pragmatic application of what they are taught in the week-long intensive training. This exercise is an integral part of ChildFirst training.

In 2012, ChildFirst PA partnered with the Pennsylvania State Police for the use of their Training Academy in Hershey and their training sites across the state. “We are so fortunate to have the support of the largest police force in Pennsylvania. The integrity that our relationship with the PA State Police brings to this program is invaluable. It speaks volumes!” says Kutulakis. ChildFirst PA faculty member and forensic interviewer, Cindy Sonne, explains that, “In March 2012 ChildFirst PA partnered with Dr. Michele Pagen and California University of Pennsylvania to provide ChildFirst PA with trained actors who play the role of a child who has been sexually abused.

On September 13, 2013. ChildFirst PA completed another successful week at the PA State Police Training Center in Greensburg. It would not have been possible without our amazing actors.
ChildFirst PA actor Jordan Brooks recently accepted a contract to work as an actor with the National Child Protection Training Center, Winona, MN at the National ChildFirst Training in November 2013.

On October 7th, 2013