Public child welfare agencies are ultimately responsible for making the difficult decision of whether to remove a child from their home due to suspected abuse or neglect. Team Decision Making (TDM) is a model developed by agency staff to inform decision making in these situations. TDM values serving families in a culturally sensitive, community-based, and minimally disruptive way by considering the needs and strengths of each child and family.
TDM is comprised of five key elements, of which the main component is a consistently held meeting between extended family members, formal and informal community agency representatives, and other supportive individuals to determine which services and assistance to offer to the family. A trained TDM facilitator guides meeting participants toward consensus on the least restrictive way to keep the child safe, with an emphasis on preventing removal of the child from home.
This fact sheet provides an overview of key findings from a Child Trends evaluation of two TDM implementation sites and offers broader implications for the child welfare field.