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Air Force Featured Stories

CFI course earns national accreditation

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • Office of Special Investigations Public Affairs

Perseverance has paid off for the Office of Special Investigations Behavioral Sciences Directorate.

For the past few years, OSI has been working to professionalize and strengthen its Child Forensic Interviewing program. Program manager, Ms. Lauren Henry, along with the Investigative and Operational Psychology Service team, established new policies, protocols and requirements for the initiative.

OSI now has a small, professionalized cadre of child forensic interviewers that conduct interviews for OSI worldwide.

Best of all, the OSI CFI Training Course has recently been accredited by the National Children’s Alliance, the national association and accrediting body for a network of more than 850 Children’s Advocacy Centers.

“This is a major milestone for the command,” said Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard, OSI commander, in announcing the accreditation via his July 27 email to the command. “It takes us yet another step further in guaranteeing that our investigations involving child victims have the best possible outcome.”

To ensure that all children across the U.S. served by CACs receive consistent, evidence-based interventions that help them heal from abuse, hundreds of CACs have become accredited members of NCA by meeting standards for accredited members and verifying their adherence to the highest standards of practice.

“For OSI, NCA training accreditation means OSI’s CFI training is nationally accredited and recognized by other agencies/centers/interviewers as meeting those standards,” Henry said. “This creates enhanced collaboration with other law enforcement organizations, legal teams and CACs.”

OSI can demonstrate its child interviewers meet the standards of the child forensic interviewer community, which enables better communication, case management and outcomes for these critical investigations involving children.

Obtaining the accreditation was a lengthy process.

“I started most of the process in the early fall of 2019,” Henry said. “It took many months to prepare and organize our submission. Their review process took more than two months and we received notification of OSI’s accreditation July 21.”

Henry laid the foundation for accreditation prior to the process.

“I became engaged with the National Children’s Alliance CAC-Military Partnership Collaborative Work Group in 2019,” she said. This group comprises approximately 120 representatives from Children’s Advocacy Centers, regional Children’s Advocacy Centers, national Children’s Alliance state chapters, Armed Forces Center for Child Protection, Family Advocacy Programs in every branch of service, Military Criminal Investigative Organizations and trial counsel representatives. My collaboration with this group was the impetus for my initiative for OSI to obtain accreditation with NCA.”

OSI will officially be on the NCA’s list of accredited child forensic interview training as “Child Forensic Interview Protocol for the Office of Special Investigations – Serving U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.”