Developing an Effective Multidisciplinary Team
Jennifer Burkmire, Cynthia King  -  2015/2/25
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
I am interested in theory and research articles related to evidence-informed practices in building interdisciplinary teams. Do you have a list of research articles related to this topic?
 
1.  Trish D
 I currently direct a victim assitance academy, and our steering committee is a multidisciplinary team from across KY. I also frequently work in interdisciplinary teams at the university, and I am interested in specific research evidence related to how building teams if you are the chair or leader of a committee/team.
 
2.  Cyndi King
 Many of the guidelines relative to MDT development are specific to what the purpose is of the MDT and who will be included in the MDT. If you can provide me with this information I can more clearly respond to your question. Thank you
 
3.  Jen Burkmire
 Please allow me to direct you to some resource organizations that keep this kind of information. There is so much to choose from: 1) National Children’s Advocacy Center www.nationalcac.org (go to the CALiO Library link). This library holds an enormous amount of articles, research, presentations, etc. for professionals, 2) Child Welfare Information Gateway www.childwelfare.gov, 3) National District Attorneys Association www.ndaa.org. Also, this publication from the Office of Juvenile Justice may be of interest to you: www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/170020.pdf.
 
 
Many multi-disciplinary teams or "task forces" are forming in communities to address different crimes and/or victim populations (for example, victims of human trafficking). These teams often include enforcement agencies, prosecutors and non-profit/ non-governmental service providers (just to name a few). Most of these teams occur outside of the context of the CAC model, many of the victims are over 18. All of the organizations involved on the team have different policies in place to protect victim confidentiality, and/or protect sensitive investigation information. What are some general rules/guidelines that agencies can follow to work "collaboratively" on an issue or case, but still maintain appropriate confidentiality regarding case information or client private info.
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 Trust, respect, and communication are key in this scenario. If the agencies work together on a regular basis, start by working as a group to form a written Memorandum of Agreement that outlines the ways in which the agencies CAN share information and will work together. Defining the “rules” and roles of the group in advance will help alleviate issues during a case. You may even wish to develop written protocols. A formal multidisciplinary team can certainly work for adult victims. You may be able to adopt some of the strategies that an adult Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) uses with regard to protecting victim confidentiality.
 
 
Do you have any suggestions on the high turn over rate for team members from certain disciplines on MDT's? For example, lots of time detectives within law enforcement are promoted and moved from CID or the department that best meets the MDT's purpose to another department. We lose and experienced detective but gain someone that is often eager to learn and become an active member in MDT.
 
1.  Cyndi King
 Yes there is. I recommend that you start with an old, but good, article entitled, "Using the Image Exchange to Enhance Interdisciplinary Team Building in Child Welfare." It was published in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, Vol.23, No.1, February, 2006. It is a place to start!
 
2.  Susan Samuel
 Is there research showing how the effectiveness of the team in terms of successful prosecution, changes with abrupt LE/CPS reassignments?
 
3.  Jen Burkmire
 Turnover is a common occurrence within MDTs. Encourage new team members to read the team’s written protocol documents right away and begin asking questions. Shadowing/observing actual cases at the CAC and attending MDT meetings are valuable ways to learn the team process. Many times, the CAC takes on the role of acquainting new MDT members to the process. Does your team provide protocol training for new members? If not, it’s something to consider. Form a group of experienced team members, one from each discipline, and develop a formalized training, using your written protocol as a guide. Be sure to provide snacks! Make the training available on a regular basis, i.e., once per quarter, once a year, etc.
 
 
I am a new social work graduate and I am currently employed at a CAC in North Mississippi. I am looking for information and resources for running and developing a multidisciplinary team.
 
1.  Cyndi King
 I would direct you to Project Making Medicine at the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (this may be under a new name.) This is located at the University of Oklahoma. They have put together a short handout on MDT's.
 
2.  Jen Burkmire
 If you haven’t already done so, contact your state chapter of the National Children’s Alliance, CACs of Mississippi, at www.mschaptercacs.org. Also, Southern Regional CAC http://www.nationalcac.org/southern-regional-child-advocacy-center/about-srcac.html is a wealth of information. Your state chapter and regional CAC will be able to provide training, technical assistance, and guidance about developing and running an MDT, with specialized knowledge about local issues in your state. Also, check with the National Children’s Advocacy Center www.nationalcac.org and ask about joining CALiO Library, which has extensive resources for CAC and MDT professionals. Consider attending the “One Loud Voice” conference hosted by CACs of Mississippi in Biloxi, MS April 8-10.
 
 
My knowledge about MDTs is mostly limited to the wraparound model, where a lot of emphasis is placed on youth and family participation. Now, I'm involved as an evaluator for a project with youth who are (or may be) commercially sexually exploited, and there is some push-back about including youth and family on the multi-disciplinary teams for these youth, because of the sensitive nature of the youths' situations. Do you know if there is a resource for best-practices related to honoring the youth and family voices without their direct participation? Alternatively, do you know about best practices for including youth and/or family on teams where the nature of their needs is particularly sensitive, or requiring a great deal of confidentiality? Thank you.
 
1.  Cyndi King
 In many MDT's the client is not a part of the formal process. This MDT serves as a time for the professionals to get together and discuss their role, responsibility and what is working and what is not. I would be very concerned with having a youth in the MDT since the youth may not want to share certain pieces of information or they may be conflicted emotionally. MDT are different than Family Group Decision Making or Wrap Around meetings.
 
2.  Jen Burkmire
 Answer Part Two: Although I have not worked directly in a situation where the youth or family is part of the team, I am aware that some child protection agencies are using a Team Decision Making model to include families and their support systems in case decisions. It may be helpful to research that model to see if it could be adapted for your purposes.
 
3.  Jen Burkmire
 Answer Part One: My experience is in working with MDTs that do not include victims/families sitting on the team. The team includes victim/family advocates that work directly with the individuals. Advocates participate on the team and bring information to the MDT “table” that can be useful to the evaluation or investigation. Also, the advocate acts as the team’s “voice” back to the victim/ family. This approach ensures the integrity of an investigation is not compromised. It also gives the victim/family one central point of contact throughout the life of case, so as to avoid confusion for the family and make the most effective use of the team’s resources.
 
 
Can the tools identified in this forum be adapted for a variety of multidisciplinary teams i.e. family and friends of suicide victims, individuals living with mental illness etc or is this approach specific to crime victims?
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 There are many kinds of MDTs, also known as Interdisciplinary Teams. They are widely used in the medical field, too. The reason for a team such as this is collaboration toward a common goal, while keeping the victim/patient/etc. as the central focus of the team. The concept can be modified to fit the type of case or field you're working within. There is extensive information regarding all types of MDTs and Interdisciplinary Teams online.
 
 
Fledgling MDTs that are not affiliated with a CAC may be overwhelmed during initial MDT protocol development. Do you have any sample MDT protocols or suggested elements to include in MDT protocols for new local MDTs without a CAC? Also, do you have any protocol examples or suggestions for including ICAC investigators on the MDT? thanks!
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 Even though you don't have a CAC, contact the Southern Regional CAC at www.nationalcac.org for protocol development tools. Also, check your state's statutes regarding MDTs to ensure you're following the law there. Can you have an MDT without a CAC? ICAC can be included as any other agency, as long as your protocols define each agency's role and the team's goal(s).
 
 
What to do when Sheriffs Office and/or PD refuse to become members of the Team?
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 LE’s reluctance to share information due to concerns that cases will be compromised is sometimes a reason they do not engage. Non-LE agencies must earn the trust and respect of LE. Communication and relationships are key. Each discipline must understand the roles of the others. Assist LE and prove that your agency can be trusted, and LE will look at your organization as a partner. Start with an invitation to tour your agency or a conversation over coffee to beginning to build the relationships. When team members get to know each other as real people, it’s more difficult to throw up roadblocks and avoid working together in a professional manner.
 
2.  John Rosiak
 Hi Joy, Getting partners to the table can sometimes be a challenge, as we all know. One strategy that seems helpful is getting to people who can get to those partners who are reluctant. That will differ by community and issue. Could be the judge who asks a partner. People has a hard time saying no to a judge. Could be constituents. Sometimes partners are elected, and with the right pressure or education from constituents, people can be persuaded. Also, time brings people to the table, when they see they are left behind. Any of these helpful? John Rosiak
 
3.  Cyndi King
 This is a common problem on MDT's. However they are essential to engage. Law enforcement does not view themselves as other members of the MDT do. Their goal is to catch the bad guy and make sure that she is successfully prosecuted. You have to really develop this relationship by demonstrating to them that a collaborative MDT can assist in their successful prosecution. I meet with them on their turf and I always bring food!
 
 
please suggest some ways to "break the ice" among prosecutors, law enforcement & child protection.
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 We found that activities such as off-site team training, where they are "forced" to spend time together and get to know each other as people, actually helped build relationships between individuals, and ultimately agencies. Also, simple as it sounds, activities around food are good ice-breakers. MDT Development Training through the Southern Regional CAC www.nationalcac.org is an amazing team-building experience.
 
2.  Cyndi King
 I think training as a group, is always a good ice breaker. It might be helpful to offer a training sponsored by all of the potential MDT members with the goal of formulating the MDT immediately following the training. The training can include roles/responsibilities of each member, the value of a team, barriers to forming the team, etc....
 
 
What are the most important ingredients for community efforts forming strong multi-agency information sharing agreements?
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 Clarifying the role of each agency and how it can share information and participate on the team is crucial. Most agencies have other non-team related duties (i.e. police write traffic tickets, but that is not their role on the MDT). Confusion and conflict occurs when roles and parameters are not clear and understood by all team agencies. Define the roles and information sharing parameters in the Memorandum of Agreement and in the written protocol. Consult your state statutes regarding information sharing within MDTs.
 
2.  Cyndi King
 Involve the Agencies/Organizations that you need to and try to hand-pick the individuals on the team. I have every director or officer of each MDT member sign a Letter of Agreement to work together so that they are dedicated to the process from the top down. Then I launch a media blitz where the director and their MDT member is present. It makes individuals accountable to the process when their name is in the paper.
 
 
I would like more information on "Connecting the Dots" and how to progress current CCR into a more multi-disciplinary focused team, in hopes of increasing commitment and strengthening collaborative efforts.
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 Thanks for the clarification. If you already have a group of agencies coordinating, transitioning to a formal MDT makes sense if your community is READY. That is key. If the agencies are not ready to engage in a formal commitment, it probably won't work. Convene a meeting to begin the conversation. If they're ready, begin by drafting a Memorandum of Agreement and work on developing protocols. Consult www.nationalcac.org (CALiO link) for protocol development tools. Also see: www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/170020.pdf
 
2.  Laurie
 I'm new to this field, too. I was told that a CCR is "Coordinated Community Response". I would guess it was suggested by federal funding source.
 
3.  Jen Burkmire
 Can you please clarify what a "CCR" is? Thank you.
 
 
First of all I would like to introduce myself, my name is Lori, I am victim specialist with the San Carlos Apache Tribe, victim assistance program under the Prosecutors office. This site was introduce to me by my consultant/program coordinator. I do have some questions. What is the purpose of developing a multidisciplinary team? How would it benefit my program.How would I begin in developing a multidisciplinary Team? who would I need to involve?
 
1.  Susan Samuel
 Hi Lori, I'm with the Southwest Region National Child Protection Training Center located at New Mexico State University. Our service area includes AZ. We may be able to help you. Please contact me at childpro@nmsu.edu so we can continue the dialogue.
 
2.  Susan Samuel
 There is a well-written paper titled (something like) "Establishing a CAC in Indian Country".
 
3.  Jen Burkmire
 Useful links about MDTs: www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/170020.pdf www.nationalcac.org (go to CALiO link) http://www.wrcactoolkit.org/Multidisciplinary-Teams.html
 
4.  Jen Burkmire
 Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) are very useful and effective, as they bring all the agencies working on a case together to share information and collaborate toward a common goal. Effective MDTs are supportive to the victim, cost effective, and result in stronger cases. The National District Attorneys Association strongly endorses the MDT model. www.NDAA.org. I will list some useful links in part 2 of this response.
 
 
What is the purpose behind having an MDT?
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 Useful links about MDTs: www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/170020.pdf www.nationalcac.org (go to CALiO link) http://www.wrcactoolkit.org/Multidisciplinary-Teams.html
 
2.  Jen Burkmire
 Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) are very useful and effective, as they bring all the agencies working on a case together to share information and collaborate toward a common goal. Effective MDTs are supportive to the victim, cost effective, and result in stronger cases. The National District Attorneys Association strongly endorses the MDT model. www.NDAA.org. I will list some useful links in part 2 of this response.
 
 
We have had one(1) MDT organizational meeting and one(1) MDT Meeting. The communication and sharing of information is great. It greatly assists with prosecution and assisting the victim.
 
1.  Jen Burkmire
 That's great news! Strong, effective MDTs are of great value to the victims, the participating agencies, and the community as a whole. Best wishes for continued success!
 
Return to Discussion