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July/August 2013Vol. 14, No. 6Theologians on Multidisciplinary Child Protection Teams

A recent issue of CenterPiece, the official newsletter of the National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC), discusses the 12 potential roles for a theologian on a child maltreatment multidisciplinary team (MDT). Those possible roles include:

  1. An investigative consultant on abuse occurring within religious settings
  2. A consultant with mental health professionals working with victims
  3. A support for victims testifying in court
  4. A resource, through the congregation, in meeting the needs of families and offering assistance that child welfare agencies cannot provide
  5. A voice for prevention
  6. A spiritual advisor for vicarious trauma victims
  7. A consultant on culturally appropriate child placements
  8. An advocate and supporter for victims disclosing abuse
  9. An advocate and supporter for offenders disclosing abuse
  10. A leader in the faith community
  11. A spokesman to the faith community about the role and actions of MDTs
  12. A promoter of ethical responses to abuse 

The authors note that religious leaders may need additional training on the issues of trauma and vicarious trauma as a result of working in child welfare. The authors also note that, in a national study of more than 400 clinical psychologists, only 5 percent had been trained on addressing the spiritual issues raised by their clients. This is an area where a chaplain or other theologian can fill an important gap on an MDT.

"Chaplains for Children: Twelve Potential Roles for a Theologian on the MDT," CenterPiece, is available on the NCPTC website: (3 MB)