Multijurisdictional Collaboration -- Unnatural Acts Between Non-Consenting Adults

Hope Melton, Ramsey Co. All Children Excel (ACE) Prg.

Research recommendations for targeted early intervention with child delinquents emphasize the importance of having a multidisciplinary professional team with flexibility and authority to guide service integration across multiple domains. These typically include such diverse departments as Child Protection Services, Corrections, Mental Health Services, Financial Services, and Public Health. A number of challenges to multidisciplinary collaboration can limit the effectiveness of this otherwise valuable approach. These challenges occur at both the system level and personal level. At the system level, different departments have different missions, different indicators of success and often are prevented by confidentiality statutes from sharing information or developing joint case plans. At the personal level, there are differences in disciplinary perspective, concerns about increased workload as a result of collaboration, and potential conflicts in perspective. An advocate for a battered woman, for example, may view placement of her child in foster care as punishment of the mother rather than protection for her abused child. This paper will review these and other issues that need to be considered when designing an effective multidisciplinary intervention, along with examples of solutions that work and challenges that remain.

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Updated 05/20/2006