Discovery: Parents will have full access to MOUs, working protocols, and evidence from MDTs related to their case

What is an “MDT” – it is a multidisciplinary team. It can consist of caseworkers, CPS investigators, special investigators, or any other employees of CPS deemed appropriate, Child Advocacy Center staff, law enforcement, medical personnel, including doctors, nurses or social workers from hospitals, service providers, and any other type of professional deemed necessary for a particular investigation or case.  The only party specifically EXCLUDED from this team is the parent and/or their attorney.

MDTs are used in hospitals and child advocacy centers.  The federal government encourages the use of MDTs in the child welfare system; HOWEVER our federal government NEVER said they were supposed to meet in secret, conduct covert investigations, meetings and discussions about you and your family or that information gathered under MDTs could be withheld from an accused parent and/or their attorney.  In fact, if proper due process is being followed in a case, just like in criminal cases, both sides of a case should have access to equal information (see Evidence Policy).  Parents and their attorneys should not have to “discover” what was said about them during an investigation. This needs to stop!

Furthermore, for transparency purposes, parents and their attorneys should know exactly who is on the team that is being used to investigate their case.  The list of possible members on the MDT for each separate Child Advocacy Center or hospital should be public information and the protocols of the operation of such teams and Memorandums of Understandings they operate under should be posted on the organizations websites.  Parents and their attorneys should also be given the specific names of the members assigned to their case because these MDT members can vary depending on the accusations. How would anyone know if a team is operating properly or in good faith if they don’t even know who is on the team or the protocols for operation?  Like any other aspect of the child welfare system, organizations and participants should be held accountable at all levels and this includes MDTs (see System Accountability Policy).