This brief publication addresses the importance of tribes having the authority and capacity to care for and protect their children; it provides the definition of a Multidisciplinary Team, explains why it is important, why tribes should consider taking ownership of the MDT response, and why MDTs and Child Advocacy Centers are a powerful way to protect children.
This document asserts that ensuring tribes have the authority and capability to care for and protect their children is a fundamental value throughout Indian Country. The document explains what a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) is, and how it can play an important role in responding to child abuse allegations by providing representation from law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, medical providers, mental health providers, and victim advocates. It notes that MDTs may be associated with established Child Advocacy Centers (CACs), or they may be standalone teams. The document notes that without an MDT, the different organizations and individuals investigating child abuse allegations will often struggle to coordinate their actions, and the victims’ wellbeing may not be prioritized; it also notes that Tribal MDTs are uniquely positioned to minimize confusion and delays associated with the complexity of jurisdictions and service systems in Indian Country. Finally, the document provides a listing of what the Native Child Advocacy Center (NCAC) provides, including training and technical assistance, guidance on partnership building, and connections with peer networks of CACs or MDTs run by Native nations and their partners.
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