Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) are used in a variety of contexts in child welfare, including family-centered case planning and casework practice, child abuse investigations, and integrated service delivery. MDTs consist of professionals from several disciplines, as well as family members and other stakeholders, working together in a coordinated and collaborative manner. The resources in this section, including State and local examples, examine the composition of MDTs; roles of team members; factors contributing to effective collaboration and successful outcomes; and training, tools and guidelines for successful team functioning.
Advocacy in Interdisciplinary Teams
Rosenwald & Riley (2010)
In Advocating for Children in Foster and Kinship Care: A Guide to Getting the Best out of the System for Foster Parents, Relative Caregivers, and Practitioners
Explores ways substitute caregivers and professionals can effectively advocate for children by participating in interdisciplinary teams and addresses potential obstacles to maximum team functioning.
Difficult Economic Times Prove Value of Multidisciplinary Approaches to Resolve Child Abuse (PDF - 92 KB)
National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse Update, 22(1), 2009
Discusses the need for multidisciplinary child abuse investigation teams (MDTs) in association with child advocacy centers (CACs) to ensure cost-efficient and effective prosecution. The article explains the development and advantages of MDTs, the emergence of CACs, and the effectiveness and efficiency of MDT/CACs in protecting children from abuse.
Interdisciplinary Working in Child Welfare
Child and Family Social Work, 2005
Contains articles on interagency coordination in child welfare services in several contexts, including the role of social workers in child and family multidisciplinary teams, collaboration between service users and professionals, issues concerning co-location, and the complexity of collaboration between child protection and mental health services.
Joining up Children's Services: Safeguarding Children in Multi-disciplinary Teams
Frost & Robinson
Child Abuse Review, 16(3), 2007
Discusses effective strategies for successful multidisciplinary teamwork by exploring key issues related to location, information sharing, models of understanding, and professional identities. The authors hoped to demonstrate that teams they studied addressed tensions creatively through engagement with diversity while developing common team values.
McColgan & DeJong (2010)
In A Practical Guide to the Evaluation of Child Physical Abuse and Neglect
Defines a multidisciplinary team (MDT), addresses the role and different types of MDTs, and discusses the settings in which this approach can be used to improve the investigation and the medical, legal, and social outcomes in cases of child abuse and neglect.
Using the Image Exchange to Enhance Interdisciplinary Team Building in Child Welfare
Packard, Jones, & Nahrstedt
Child and Adolescent Social Work, 23(1), 2006
Describes the use of a team building activity to help team members clarify perceptions and opinions of one another as part of an interdisciplinary training workshop. Training in team development and role clarification provided a foundation for the development of effective interdisciplinary collaboration.
State and local examples
Analysis of Team Case Planning Practice in San Mateo County (PDF - 620 KB)
SPHERE Institute (2006)
Analyzes the team-based case planning approach used in San Mateo County, CA, including team structure and function, as well as strengths and barriers to effective operations. The review assesses the quality and continuity of information flow and the availability of support resources and recommends methods to streamline and coordinate processes to increase family and community participation.
A Workbook for Improving MDT Investigations: Sample Protocol for Adolescent Abuse and Neglect Cases, Evaluation Tool, Model Policies (PDF - 248 KB)
Juvenile Rights Project (2007)
Presents a guide to assist multidisciplinary teams in effectively serving maltreated adolescents, including a sample protocol for adolescent abuse and neglect cases, evaluation tools, and model policies.
Collaborative Working Relationships Between Child-Serving Agencies in Sonoma County: Recommendations for County of San Mateo (PDF - 52 KB)
Profiles six collaborative programs in order to evaluate the desirability of implementing a coordinated case planning model for providing child and family services. Key elements of the different models are described. The report recommends the incorporation of measurable outcomes for evaluation.
Indicators of a Healthy Multidisciplinary Team
Half a Nation: The Newsletter of the State and National Finding Words Courses, Winter 2005
Describes 16 qualities indicative of success in multidisciplinary child abuse investigative teams in Georgia. The project surveyed members of 15 teams to identify characteristics of effective teams.
Juvenile Services: Virginia's Multidisciplinary Teams
Department of Criminal Justice Services (2006)
Highlights the Children's Justice Act Program, providing information on team composition, development of interagency protocols for investigating and prosecuting child abuse cases, and Children's Advocacy Centers of Virginia. Links to sample interagency protocols are provided, along with links for a multidisciplinary team tracking form and a booklet on information sharing.
The Multidisciplinary Misnomer: A West Virginia Case Study of Multidisciplinary Treatment Teams in Child Welfare
Colver & Plein (2009)
In Innovations in Child and Family Policy: Multidisciplinary Research and Perspectives on Strengthening Children and Their Families
Studied the efficacy of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) in West Virginia abuse and neglect proceedings. Findings indicate that in the absence of policy that strongly encourages broad participation across the network of stakeholders, MDTs quickly become bidisciplinary or even unidisciplinary.