Toolkits The Team Response to Child Abuse and Maltreatment

Understanding the Minnesota Multidisciplinary Team Statute

260E.02[1]: Multidisciplinary Child Protection Team

The Multidisciplinary Child Protection Team statute is the primary statute that defines the scope of a multidisciplinary team’s purview. This guide reviews each section of the statute in plain language to assist teams in their interpretation and application. While each team may vary somewhat in their team structure and approach, all teams are encouraged to interpret the statute in accordance with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Child Welfare agencies across Minnesota.

The Alliance also recommends that teams consult with their County Attorney’s Office to ensure successful implementation of the statute.

Subdivision 1: Establishment of Team

By law, all Minnesota counties are required to establish a multidisciplinary child protection team (MDT). The statutes allow this team to include local/regional representatives from the following fields and disciplines (prioritizing membership of directors/supervisors/administration, but allowing for qualified designees from within each agency):

  • Child Protection/Welfare
  • County Attorney
  • Healthcare (Medical and Mental Health)
  • Law Enforcement
  • Parent Groups
  • Probation/Juvenile Corrections
  • Tribes
  • Human Service/Community-Based Organizations, including (but not limited to):
    • Schools
    • Social/Family Services
    • Mental Health Collaboratives (and other relevant Collaboratives)
    • Children’s Advocacy Centers (“CACs”)[2]
    • Early Childhood and Family Education Programs
    • Head Start
    • Safe Harbor Agencies (if sexual exploitation/trafficking is suspected)
    • Other agencies serving children and families

One member of the team must be designated as the lead person responsible for the planning process to develop standards for its activities, especially with non-County-based agencies. Many teams choose a representative from their child protection/welfare agency. This is not a requirement, though it has proven to be a successful model.

After helping guide their team through the process of developing a written protocol to govern the MDT’s actions and logistics, the team lead typically continues to assist with the bulk of scheduling meetings, case reviews, and periodic team check-ins on a fixed schedule (e.g. quarterly, biannually, etc.). Some teams have chosen to rotate these duties so as to decrease role fatigue and to allow multiple members to gain expertise.

Subdivision 2: Duties of the Team

Your MDT may do the following:

  • Provide case consultation to your local welfare agency and/or community-based agency.
  • Offer public and professional education.
  • Develop resources for prevention, intervention, and treatment.

In this context, case consultation specifically refers to a case review process where members make recommendations regarding service provision to the child and their family/caregivers. Generally, most MDTs across the state focus primarily on offering case consultation/case review, though the statute does allow a team to increase its scope if resources allow.

In addition to child protection/welfare agency requesting case consultation, other community-based agencies may request that an MDT provide case consultation regarding a child/family with whom they are working. This consultation may be performed by the entire MDT or a subcommittee of members composed of all or some of the aforementioned disciplines in Subdivision 1. The MDT may also identify and include individual stakeholders involved in a specific child/family’s case.

A team’s logistics (i.e., how often to meet, length of meetings, meeting agendas, etc.) are up to each county, flexible based upon the specific circumstances an MDT operates within. Many teams have chosen to hold meetings weekly, biweekly, or monthly, with options for “immediate” case consultation (within 24 or 48 hours) via videoconferencing available as needed. This option allows for structure while maintaining flexibility when severe and/or pressing cases arise (i.e., when a sexually exploited/trafficked youth is identified by a participating agency/team member).

Subdivision 3: Sexually Exploited Youth Outreach Program

An MDT may work with participating agencies or other private organizations to develop outreach services for sexually exploited youth (SEY). This includes “at-risk” homeless, runaway, and truant youth. These services may include counseling, medical care, short-term shelter, alternative living arrangements, and drop-in centers – teams may not require that SEY provide evidence or testimony to receive services.

In choosing to develop such a program, an MDT is then required to add at least one representative of a “youth intervention program” (or, if unavailable, a representative of another nonprofit serving youth in crisis) to the MDT’s membership. The Minnesota Department of Health offers Youth Outreach/Engagement Materials and Safe Harbor services for these populations, both of which are already well-established and offered free of charge. Contact your Safe Harbor Regional Navigator for information specific to your county/region.

Subdivision 4: Information Sharing

Confidentiality and data/information sharing are important topics of consideration for an MDT. In general, team members can share information acquired in their professional capacity during case consultation, and the child protection/welfare agency may share all records they collect and maintain under 260E[3].

In order to share any “not public data,”[4] all members must annually sign an approved data sharing agreement, such as an MDT Data Sharing Agreement. All information shared amongst team members and records of the case consultation is confidential[5] and not subject to subpoena or discovery.

Nothing may be shared outside of case consultation except to the extent necessary to carry out the case consultation plan. These may not be introduced into evidence in any civil or criminal action against a member/agency arising from the case consult’s subject matter/s of consideration.

Information otherwise available from original sources are not immune from discovery/use in any civil/criminal action merely because they were presented during a case consultation meeting. Similarly, members sharing information with the team are not then prevented from testifying as to matters within their knowledge. However, in a civil or criminal proceeding, a member cannot be questioned about their sharing of information to the team or about opinions formed as a result of the case consultation. Anyone violating this subdivision is subject to the civil remedies and penalties of chapter 13.

[1] Formerly 626.558, this statute was reorganized via Article I, Section II of HF 1732, 1st Engrossment – 91st Legislature (2019-2020)

[2] 260E.02, subd. 5 defines CACs as: organizations using an MDT approach whose primary purpose is providing abused children and their nonoffending family/caregivers with support and advocacy, specialized medical evaluation, trauma-focused mental health services, and forensic interviews. CACs also provide multidisciplinary case review and tracking/monitoring of case progress.

[3] Formerly 626.556, this statute was reorganized via Article I, Section I of HF 1732, 1st Engrossment – 91st Legislature (2019-2020)

[4] Defined by section 13.02, subdivision 8a as, “any government data classified by statute, federal law, or temporary classification as confidential, private, nonpublic, or protected nonpublic”

[5] Defined by section 13.02, subdivision 3 as, “data made not public by statute or federal law applicable to the data and [that] are inaccessible to the individual subject of those data”

Technical Support to Develop Your Team

The Minnesota Children’s Alliance provides facilitation support for teams developing, reviewing, and refining their collaborative response to child abuse investigations. Contact Marcia Milliken for an initial consultation.

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