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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 51D: Powers and duties of area directors; multi-disciplinary service teams

Section 51D. Each area director of the department shall be responsible for implementing subsection (k) of section 51B.

Each area director shall, in cooperation with the appropriate district attorney, establish 1 or more multi-disciplinary service teams to review the provision of services to the children and families who are the subject of 51A reports that meet the conditions of subsection (k).

Each team shall consist of the department's caseworker for the particular case, 1 representative of the appropriate district attorney, and at least 1 other member appointed by the area director who is not an employee of either office. The additional member shall have training and experience in the fields of child welfare or criminal justice and, as far as practicable, be involved with the provision of services to these families. No members of a team shall receive any compensation, or in the case of a state employee, any additional compensation, for service on the team.

For 51A reports specifically involving a sexually exploited child or a child who is otherwise a human trafficking victim, the multi-disciplinary service team may consist of a team of professionals trained or otherwise experienced and qualified to assess the needs of sexually exploited children or children who are otherwise human trafficking victims including, but not limited to, a police officer, as defined by section 1 of chapter 90C, or other person designated by a police chief, as defined in said section 1 of said chapter 90C, an employee of the department of children and families, a representative of the appropriate district attorney, a social service provider, a medical professional or a mental health professional.

The team shall review and monitor the service plan developed by the department under subsection (g) of section 51B. The team shall evaluate the effectiveness of the service plan in protecting the child from further abuse or neglect. The team shall make recommendations regarding amendments to the service plan, the advisability of prosecuting members of the family, and the possibility of utilizing diversionary alternatives. If the team finds that services required under such plan are not provided to the family, the case shall be referred to the commissioner.

The team shall have full access to the service plan and any personal data known to the department which is directly related to the implementation of the plan, notwithstanding sections 51E and 51F, chapter 66A, and section 135 of chapter 112. The members of the team shall be considered to be employees of the department for purposes of protecting the confidentiality of the data and the data shall be utilized solely to carry out the provisions of this section; provided, however, that the team may report to the district attorney if the family has failed to participate in the plan.

For 51B reports specifically involving a sexually exploited child, the purpose of the multi-disciplinary service team shall be to determine whether the child has been sexually exploited or is otherwise a human trafficking victim and to recommend a plan for services to the department that may include, but shall not be limited to, shelter or placement, mental health and medical care needs and other social services.

Each area director shall file a monthly report with the commissioner regarding the activities in the area which have occurred in the previous month pursuant to this section. The report shall be written on a form prescribed by the commissioner and shall include, but not be limited to, the number of cases reported under said subsection (k) of said section 51B, the activities of the teams, the availability of services described in the service plans, and the number of family members that are subject of the reports that have been prosecuted. The commissioner, after deleting all personal identifying information, shall combine these area reports into a monthly report that shall be filed with the secretary of health and human services, each district attorney, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, and the house and senate committees on ways and means.