PA District Attorneys Take Collaborative Approach to Investigating Child Abuse

December 3, 2021

Resources Available for Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Teams (MDIT)

Each year, Pennsylvania’s Childline receives thousands of reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. In Pennsylvania, when a report of suspected child abuse involves allegations that certain crimes have been committed, investigations are conducted by a Multidisciplinary Investigative Team (MDIT). The MDIT is a group of professionals who work together in a coordinated and collaborative way to investigate child abuse cases. The goal of the MDIT is to work together during a child abuse investigation in an effort to avoid duplication of fact-finding efforts and interviews and to minimize the trauma to the child.   

The law in Pennsylvania requires that the District Attorney convenes an MDIT that includes, at a minimum, a law enforcement official, a county caseworker and a health care provider. The district attorney and the local Children and Youth Agency must work together to create protocols for convening a MDIT and in Pennsylvania MDITs often include additional professionals such as prosecutors, forensic interviewers, child advocacy center professionals, victim or family advocates and mental health providers.   

Through collaboration with key stakeholders, Pennsylvania’s Children’s Justice Act Task Force has utilized federal Children’s Justice Act (CJA) funding to create useful resources for Pennsylvania’s MDITs. In July of 2021, the PA Department of Human Services released the Model Set of Standards for Pennsylvania’s Multidisciplinary Investigative Teams (Model Standards).  The Model Standards are designed to promote consistency across the Commonwealth and equip Pennsylvania MDITs with guidance about the effective development and ongoing operations of the county’s MDIT and investigative protocols.   

Click here to access the Model Standards.  

In addition to the Model Standards, PCCD has utilized CJA funding to work collaboratively with stakeholders to create an introductory MDIT webinar. The MDIT webinar can be utilized to familiarize new MDIT members with the MDIT process, the Model Standards and the roles and responsibilities of each team member.  

Click here to view the MDIT webinar.  

Additional resources for MDITs and CACs, including the current National Children’s Alliance standards for CACs can be found below. 

All of the links in this blog are available in the Resources section of the PDAA website under MDIT.

Greg Rowe, Esquire
Executive Director
Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association

Lindsay Vaughan, Esquire
Executive Policy Specialist
Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency