The Mission of the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Approach is to promote and strengthen collaborative working relationships amongst agencies working to protect and treat child abuse victims. It is evidence based, supported by research, and used throughout the country. The Monmouth County Multidisciplinary Team for response to child abuse allegations includes representation from the following: Law Enforcement, Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), Prosecution, Mental Health, Medical, Victim Advocacy, and the MDT/ Child Advocacy Center Coordinator. The elements necessary for the success of a multidisciplinary team approach requires the ability of team members to integrate their different skills, expertise, and roles; the willingness to work together in a more complex system; the ability to work in an environment in which group success takes precedence over individual accomplishments; shared resources to support the program and families; and the evaluation of the team process.
In order to insure that the unique needs of victimized children are recognized and met, a multidisciplinary approach to child abuse has become the routine standard of practice of the Monmouth County Multidisciplinary Team and all of its partner agencies. The most important benefits of the MDT process is the prescribed sharing of information which minimizes duplicative investigative efforts, enhances decision making and reduces the possibility that service needs might “fall through the cracks”. The Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center provides an optimal location and focal point for Monmouth County’s multidisciplinary collaboration and coordination of an agreed upon protocol to conduct a joint investigation between law enforcement and DCP &P. A forensic interview protocol dictates the MDT approach. It is conducted by a specialized detective who has been trained to interview children who have been abused. The protocol stresses the need to reduce the number of times a child victim is interviewed. Cases are discussed from the earliest point possible at case review meetings so that all team members can participate in the planning and coordination of services for the child and family. The cases are reviewed regularly until there is resolution in the legal process and /or the child and family are adequately connected to community services and resources which ensure that the child and family are safe and receiving appropriate services. This approach reduces duplication of services and decisions are based on the expertise of representatives of all professional disciplines on the MDT.