COORDINATED AND COLLABORATIVE RESPONSES Implementing a Multidisciplinary Approach to Child Protective Services in Montgomery County, Maryland Utilizing a Child Advocacy Center Model (CAC)
DESCRIPTION OF THE CAC MODEL • Incorporates a multidisciplinary team approach to respond to allegations of child abuse to minimize the potential traumatic impact of disclosure • Teams of Child Protective Service workers and law enforcement conduct joint forensic interviews using video equipment and a standardized protocol (R.A.T.A.C. – Rapport building, Anatomy identification, Touch inquiry, Abuse scenario and Closure) • Forensic medical examination by Board certified Child Abuse pediatrician • Collaboration with the State’s Attorneys Office to review the forensic interview • MDT review and decision making (CPS, FCD, SAO, OCA)
CAC Services • Mental health evaluation and assessment by Board Certified Forensic Social Worker • Referral for Treatment • Crisis Intervention and emotional support • Victim Advocacy • Forensic Medical Services • Nurse Case Management • Mental Health Treatment • Education, Prevention and Training • Transportation Services
CAC vs CPS models • Particular to MoCo (other CACs in Maryland) • CPS: Non forensic interviewing without video Possible need for multiple interviews Police not present Location may not be child friendly CAC: Offers immediate intervention Child friendly environment Centralized point of service Coordinated and collaborative response Inclusive of other disciplines
Case examples • Guidance counselor calls CPS screening – case assigned to CPS S/A unit for investigation. • FCD and CPS conduct joint forensic interview • 14 y.o. girl discloses sexual abuse by father over period of 5 years • Safety plan with non-offending parent • Police asked alleged perpetrator to come to station • Father admitted sexual relationship • Police obtained warrant and searched home – confiscated camera and computer • Child assessed by mental health specialist (EL) and referred for treatment • Forensic Medical evaluation and exam • Continuing CPS assigned; MDT convened for case review • SAO prepares case for prosecution • Mother doesn’t believe child; not supportive or cooperative with services • Child dissociating in therapy; attending Support Group; child recants • CPS considers removal/court action/convenes FIM and another MDT • Father accepted plea and was sentenced to 15 years
Implications for Future Research • Comparison study of CAC models – disclosure and recantation rates • Prosecution rates using MDT • Revictimization rates • CAC’s impact on Non-Offending caregiver (ability to protect)
References • Cross, T.P. et al. (2008). Evaluating Children’s Advocacy Centers: Response to Child Sexual Abuse. Juvenile JusticeBulletin, No.218530. Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. • Faller, K.C. & Palusci, V. J. (2007). Children’s Advocacy Centers: Do they lead to postive case outcomes? Invited Commentary. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(10), 1021-1029. • Wolfteich, P. & Loggins, B. (2007) Evaluation of the CAC Model: Efficiency, Legal and Revictimization Outcomes.Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 24(4), 333-352.