Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)
DCCSAN is the coordinator for the Delaware County Multidisciplinary Team. Our Multidisciplinary Team meets once a week to discuss the current cases of child abuse in our county. We bring representatives from law enforcement, DHS, mental health, medical and the staff at DCCSAN together, to conduct comprehensive joint investigations. The MDT makes decisions regarding the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases in Delaware County.
Forensic Interview and Evaluation
Interview – When children are brought to DCCSAN by Law Enforcement or DHS Child Protective Services, a Forensic Interview is conducted with the child. The Forensic Interviewer is a highly trained professional who conducts the interview in a non-leading, non-biased and legally Sound manner. Most of the children who come to DCCSAN for a Forensic Interview have already disclosed the abuse to someone. The Forensic Interview allows the children to tell what happened in a safe, child-friendly environment. The interview is video recorded reducing the number of times the child is interviewed, insuring that the child is not re-traumatized. The Forensic Interview is used as evidence throughout the investigation process. Unfortunately, today’s laws still require the child’s testimony in court.
Evaluation – In most child abuse investigations, the efforts of the MDT and DCCSAN yield adequate information for decision making regarding prosecution and child protective issues. In some cases, however, the team needs additional information due to serious concerns that children may have been abused, but are unwilling or unable to talk freely about their experiences.
Specialized medical evaluation and treatment services are available to all DCCSAN clients. To assure that the child receives this specialized medical evaluation the Forensic Interviewer will make arrangements for our Certified Sexual Abuse Examiner to examine the victim when the Investigator or the District Attorney’s office feels that an exam is warranted. Sexual Abuse Exams are conducted off site, with our Sexual Abuse Examiner.
DCCSAN’s focus is to foster healing by minimizing potential trauma to children and intervention begins at first contact with the family. DCCSAN clinical staff provides evidence based, trauma focused therapy in order to reduce the impact of trauma and the risk of future abuse. Family involvement is critical to a child’s recovery therefore DCCSAN offers mental health treatment to caregivers and siblings as well as the child.
DCCSAN subscribes to NCAtrak. NCAtrak is a computerized, web-based case tracking system that was developed by the National Children’s Alliance to help Child Advocacy Centers track specific case information. The information collected over the year provides statistical information about child abuse in Delaware County that is provided to potential grantors, MDT and the community.
A crisis refers to any situation in which the individual perceives a sudden loss of his or her ability to use effective problem-solving and coping skills. Crisis intervention is offering immediate, short-term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, or behavioral distress or problems. Crisis intervention is focused on minimizing the stress of the event, providing emotional support and improving the individual’s coping strategies in the here and now. Crisis Intervention is available to victims and their families. This service is coordinated by our victim advocate and provided by our mental health professional.
Child Abuse Prevention Services
DCCSAN offers free Safe Touch presentation to the public schools and head start programs in Delaware Co. each year. We also offer a prevention presentation on (what child abuse is and how to report), to any organization in our community that is interested. Please contact us if you would like DCCSAN to do a child abuse presentation for your organization.
If a child is asked to testify in court, our therapist will work directly with the child and parents/guardian in preparation for court. We work in conjunction with the DA in charge of the case and the District Court Victim Witness Coordinator to insure the child is prepared mentally for the court process.
Victim Advocacy and Support
DCCSAN’s Victim Advocate meets with the family at the time of the forensic interview or medical assessment to offer support. The advocate’s responsibility is to assist the non offending parent/caregiver when they are experiencing emotional turmoil, and help them to make healthy, rational decisions, so they can better support the child. The Advocate provides ongoing assistance to the family throughout the investigation including updates on the progress of the criminal investigation, and links the family with resources in the community.