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The MDT (Multidisciplinary Team)
The MDT is a community response by professionals from various agencies to help children who have been either physically, sexually neglected/abused or exploited. In order to prevent further trauma to these children, the MDT is committed to handling each case through a multidisciplinary approach, meeting each month to review referred cases of suspected abuse.
Child abuse and serious neglect of children occurs in epidemic proportions in the United States. In the case of child sexual abuse, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be a victim by the age of 18.
So many barriers exist for the child to report his/her abuse or serious neglect--- including shame, threats, lack of knowledge, self-blame, self-protection, relationship to and feelings for the offender, and more--- that only a small portion of cases are actually reported to authorities1. Once a child does disclose, often a period of time has passed since the abuse and, in the case of child sexual abuse, seldom is there physical evidence present.
In order to effectively investigate and prosecute child abuse cases, victims must be interviewed by trained personnel skilled in conducting forensic interviews. In many cases, children are interviewed more than once and by different people with varying skill levels. This not only traumatizes the child, but also hinders the investigation and prosecution of these cases. It is not unusual for the child to become overwhelmed by multiple interviews and act in ways that can prevent prosecution: recant, refuse to talk to police, refuse to testify, or alter facts.
An often-overlooked factor in investigation and prosecution in child abuse cases is intervention. In order for the child to begin to heal from the trauma of abuse, he/she and his/her family (non-offending) must receive support and therapeutic intervention from professionals with expertise in child abuse.
The most effective community response to child abuse involves coordinated efforts by professionals from various agencies and disciplines working together. While some child victims have the benefit of coordinated efforts and experienced interviewers in their community, this varies widely from place to place. All child victims of abuse deserve investigations that are thorough and not victimizing to the child, timely interventions for them and their non-offending family members, and prosecution that holds the perpetrator accountable for his/her actions. The MIT assures that each community in the Ansonia/Milford Judicial District has the best response to child abuse cases.
MDT Member Agencies
Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF)
The MDT is funded under a grant from the Federal Children's Justice Grant Act, which is administered through the Department of Children and Families.