Handling Procedures in HK ― Multi-disciplinary Case Conference on Protection of Child with Suspected Abuse (MDCC)

Handling Procedures in HK ― Multi-disciplinary Case Conference on Protection of Child with Suspected Abuse (MDCC)

What is MDCC?

Multi-disciplinary Case Conference on Protection of Child with Suspected Abuse (MDCC) is a forum by which professionals having a major role in the handling and investigation of the suspected child abuse case can share their professional knowledge, information or concern on the child(ren). The case conference analyzes risks and recommends actions to be taken in relation to the welfare planning of the child(ren) and the family. All the information and discussions would be kept confidential. The MDCC aims to achieve protection and welfare planning of the child(ren), not prosecution of the abuser. Even if concerns are only being expressed about one child, safety of all the children and other members (e.g. parents) in the household should also be reviewed by adopting a family perspective. Compare this with the policy framework of the UK.

When is MDCC required?

When there is suspected child abuse incident(s) with investigation conducted by social worker and other professionals. It should be held at the earliest available date and take place within 10 working days after receipt of referral / report by the investigating social welfare unit. In practice, the social worker/case worker providing services for the family, in consultation with his/her supervisor, is usually the one to decide whether a MDCC would be conducted. For new cases, the Social Welfare Department Family and Child Protective Services Unit (FCPSU) or Against Child Abuse would make the decision.

How is a decision made in the MDCC?

By consensus each member is given the opportunity to express and exchange his / her views with others. This is the basis of multi-disciplinary cooperation. This is particularly important as child abuse and the welfare plan for the child(ren) are very delicate issues that should not be dealt with simply by voting.

Who will participate in the MDCC?

Chairman

Normally the officer-in-charge / supervisor / senior social worker of the concerned units who provides casework service and conduct the social enquiry / investigation of the case

The Chairman, in consultation with the investigating social worker, should decide on the membership of the conference.

Professionals The following professionals will be invited to attend the MDCC as members:

  • who have direct knowledge on the child and his / her family and have a major role in the handling and investigation of the suspected child abuse case; or
  • those not involved in the investigation but can give particular information on the child or his / her family or professional advice to facilitate the discussion of case nature, risk and need assessment and formulation of welfare plan.

In addition to the social worker responsible for the investigation of the suspected child abuse case, members of MDCC may include, as appropriate :

  • medical personnel e.g. doctors, nurses, etc.;
  • school personnel e.g. teacher, principal, counsellor, etc.;
  • social worker e.g. medical social worker, school social worker, social worker of residential service unit, etc.
  • police officer;
  • clinical psychologist;
  • social worker of Family and Child Protective Services Unit, if not yet involved in the investigation; and

social worker who may follow up the case, if different from the investigating social worker.

Parent(s)/ carer(s) Parent(s) / carer(s) who are not the suspected abuser will be invited to attend the whole or part of the MDCC as deemed appropriate by the Chair with the consent of the members of the MDCC. The purposes is to enhance his / her understanding of the issues of concern, tap on his / her contribution to the formulation of welfare plan, and enlist his / her involvement in the implementation of the welfare plan.
Child(ren) In some cases, if the Chairperson considers that the child(ren) can benefit from attending the MDCC, the child(ren) will be invited to attend part or whole of the MDCC.
Relatives Subject to the consent of members of the MDCC, significant family members and relatives who have sound knowledge of the child(ren) and would be contributive to the welfare planning of the child(ren) can also be invited to attend the MDCC.

 

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