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Child Abuse Negl. 2001 Jan;25(1):65-80.

Patterns of interactions in multidisciplinary child protection teams in New Jersey.

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  • 1The University of Stirling, The Department of Applied Social Science, Scotland, UK.



The objective of this study was to gain an understanding of how multidisciplinary team members in child protection worked together within the team, meeting to provide assessments of, and services to, children and families.


Fifteen multidisciplinary child-protection teams in New Jersey were observed during one meeting of each team. The interaction among team members was recorded and analyzed using a structured observation method, Bales' Interaction Process Analysis.


There was a wide variation in participation among team members, with some contributing nothing to the meeting and others contributing a great deal. In some teams, participation by members was more equal than others. Some professional groups and agencies contributed very little to any meeting while others contributed a great deal to many meetings.


Professionals are members of multidisciplinary teams because they are expected to contribute to the investigation of child maltreatment cases and to the planning for further work with cases. However, the findings from this study suggest that there is a considerable degree of inequality in levels of participation in multidisciplinary meetings. It is particularly noticeable that staff from the prosecutor's offices participate in every meeting and either the agency as a whole or individual members of it dominate many of the meetings.

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