A multidisciplinary team (MDT) is a group of professionals from diverse disciplines who come together to provide comprehensive assessment and consultation in abuse cases. While the MDT's primary purpose is to help team members resolve difficult cases, the MDT also fulfills a variety of additional functions. A MDT promotes coordination between agencies; provides a "checks and balances" mechanism to ensure that the interests and rights of all concerned parties are addressed; and identifies service gaps and breakdowns in coordination or communication between agencies or individuals. The MDT also enhances the professional skills and knowledge of individual team members by providing a forum for learning more about the strategies, resources, and approaches used by various disciplines.
A multidisciplinary team for response to child abuse allegations includes representation from:
Office of Children's Services, Child Protective Services
MDT members work collaboratively to identify and address the needs of children referred to the S.A.F.E. CAC.
The core multi-disciplinary team for S.A.F.E. CAC includes representatives from:
Catholic Community Service
Office of Children's Services
Juneau Police Department
State of Alaska District Attorney's Office
Attorney General's Office
Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE)
Tlingit and Haida Tribal Family & Youth Services and
Contracted Medical Providers trained in pediatric sexual assault exam
The MDT approach often extends beyond joint investigations and inter-agency coordination into team decision making. Team investigations require the full participation and collaboration of team members, who share their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Team members remain responsible for fulfilling their own professional roles while learning to take others' roles and responsibilities into consideration. An effective response to reports of child abuse and neglect is an investigation that is timely and objective and that causes the least possible trauma to children and families. Effective teamwork can prevent further abuse to children and can bring those who harm children to justice. Some of the recognized benefits of a proficient MDT include:
Less "system inflicted" trauma to children and families.
Better agency decisions, including more accurate investigations and more appropriate interventions.
More efficient use of limited agency resources.
Better trained, more capable professionals.
More respect in the community and less burnout among child abuse professionals.
These benefits can translate into safer communities.
Catholic Community Service, Inc. 1803 Glacier Highway Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 463-6100