The investigation of child abuse is a team effort. In order to promote healing in victims and their families, the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) facilitates, coordinates and integrates the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and treatment services of child sexual and physical abuse cases in Chautauqua County.
Working Together Smarter
The case coordinator brings together team members and schedules team interviews of children when they are conducted as part of an investigation for the CPS and Law Enforcement. She follows through with Team recommendations and makes appointments for children to have Forensic Medical Exams.
Police detectives are assigned to investigate every criminal case. They are responsible for collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses and alleged perpetrators, making arrests when appropriate, and helping to ensure the child and family’s safety.
Law enforcement will be responsible for contacting the District Attorney’s office and initiating criminal action when appropriate.
Investigators with active cases will participate in periodic case reviews with the team as scheduled. Participating law enforcement agencies should be represented at all case review sessions.
Assistant District Attorney
prosecutors decide whether someone should be charged with a crime, which crime to charge, who should be charged, and also presents evidence in court to a judge and/or jury.
The District Attorney’s Office has general authority to direct investigations, which lead to criminal charges giving appropriate consideration to the police agency’s internal chain of command procedures.
The investigating team will consult with the District Attorney’s Office regarding any special problems arising during or from the investigation.
Advocates are the “link” between the child and family and the Team. They are the main contact for the family throughout their case, providing information about victim rights, addressing safety concerns, providing referral information, and accompanying the family through the court process. The Family Advocate is also available to address any concerns that the child and non-offending parent may have about their safety or the impact of domestic violence. The Advocate assesses risk of violence and provides supportive services, safety planning, information, and referrals.
Child Forensic Interview Specialist
Interviewers have specialized training in conducting forensic interviews of children who may have been abused or witnessed serious crimes. Interviewers can be either CPS workers or LE officers and speak with children about their experience while the rest of the team observes in another room using a closed circuit Video connection. Their training and skill ensures that reliable information is elicited from the child in a legally, clinically, and culturally sound manner.
Child Protective Services or CPS
CPS workers have a primary mandate to ensure the safety of children in an environment free from abuse and neglect, while preserving family life when possible.
CPS shall make appropriate referrals to CAP to assist the victim and non-offending family members through the process by providing support and advocacy.
CPS shall evaluate the immediate safety and risk of the child named in the report and any other children in the home to determine the risk to such children if they remain in the home. If the children are assessed to be in immediate danger, a plan must be made sufficient to remove the danger such as the offender leaving the home, the child staying with a relative or taking the child into protective custody, or other appropriate safety interventions.
Mental Health Consultant
Mental health Consultants are specially trained therapists with experience providing evaluation and counseling services to children. They provide suggestions and recommendations regarding follow-up evaluations and counseling. They also assist in identifying services that will be helpful for the child and family.
Counselors providing therapy for the child victim must meet on of the following educational criteria: Masters prepared in a related mental health field, Student intern in an accredited graduate program, Licensed/ certified or supervised by a licensed mental health professional, or A training plan for 40 contact hours of specialized, trauma-focused mental health training, clinical consultation, clinical supervision, peer supervision, and/ or mentoring within the first 6 months of association
Must make mental health services available and accessible to all CAP clients regardless of ability to pay.
Pediatricians with experience in child abuse conduct thorough medical evaluations and collect forensic evidence when necessary. The medical consultant also reviews medical records to assess a child’s injuries and interpret medical findings for investigation teams and Case Review.
Medical professionals must meet one of the following training standards to be part of the CAP Multidisciplinary Team: Child Abuse Pediatrics Sub-board eligibility, Child Abuse Fellowship training or child abuse Certificate of Added Qualification, Documentation of satisfactory completion of competency-based training in the performance of child abuse evaluations, or Documentation of 16 hours of formal medical training in child sexual abuse evaluation.
The medical professional will utilize the information obtained from the forensic interview to avoid duplicated interviewing