Treatment Planning and Case Management

An introduction to the topic from Teresa Huizar, Executive Director, National Children's Alliance.

Key Points for CAC Directors to Know

What is the Role of Mental Health Professionals and the MDT in Treatment Development?

With required releases signed by the child's legal guardian, the family and multi disciplinary team (MDT) collaborate with the mental health professional to develop and implement an Evidence-Based treatment plan (EBTP). The collaboration necessary to both develop and monitor EBT planning can take place through the CAC MDT Case Review process. The steps involved in developing the EBTP include a standardized trauma assessment completed by the mental health professional to determine the need for and focus of treatment. However, this standardized trauma assessment is only one part of the assessment as other MDT members, such as medical and educational professionals, also offer information to better understand the needs of the child and family. MDT partners then integrate all of the assessment information with the mental health professionals and participate in identifying measurable treatment goals to meet the needs of the child and family. 

How are Treatments Goals Identified and Included in the Treatment Plan?

When a child has experienced potentially traumatic events, a referral to a mental health provider for a trauma specific assessment is the first step. The purpose of assessment is to determine if the child needs treatment and, if so, what treatment. Treatment goals evolve out of the assessment process and are related to the symptoms and specific problems identified through assessment. The purpose of treatment is to reduce those symptoms and problems. Measurable behavioral outcome goals are identified (i.e., reducing nightmares from 1 per night to 3 per week) and the mental health professionals and MDT identify the evidence-based treatment most likely to successfully address and meet those treatment goals. 

What are the Steps to Collaborative Case Management Monitoring to Treatment Completion?

Once the initial steps of assessment and the identification of treatment outcome goals are completed, the MDT works with mental health provider/s to identify the most appropriate evidence-based treatment to meet the treatment goals and to identify a mental health provider who has specific training in the mental health intervention model identified. Once a referral is made to a provider for a specific evidence-based treatment, that provider collaborates with the MDT and participates in the case review and provides information regarding the progress of the child/family in treatment. This information includes the engagement of the child and caregiver as measured by attendance and participation in weekly treatment sessions; the adherence of the mental health professional in delivering the evidence-based treatment with fidelity as measured by the delivery of the treatment components; any barriers to treatment; and the treatment progress and outcome as assessed using standardized measures.   

Regular collaboration through case review and reviews with the family, sharing documentation of the treatment process with results, and using the MDT case review for this collaboration offers the MDT an opportunity to quickly identify and reduce barriers, solve problems, and make changes to interventions as needed for treatment success.

This level of collaboration and participation is critical to the MDT partners as they accept their role and responsibility for treatment outcomes for children and families and for the success of MDT interventions.


Questions and Answers

Q: Why Is Mental Health Treatment Important for All Child Abuse Victims?

Dave Labahn, president and CEO of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, explains why mental health treatment is important for all child victims and their caregivers.


Length of the video - 1 minute and 7 seconds

Q: Why Is Collaboration Important to Evidence Based Treatment Planning?
Dr. Ben Saunders from the Medical University of South Carolina explains the essential elements of developing evidence based treatment plans, including the importance of community collaboration.


Length of the video - 0 minute and 39 seconds

Q: What Are The Elements of an Evidence Based Treatment Plan?

Dr. Ben Saunders describes the steps that should be taken when developing an evidence based treatment plan including the use of assessment, goal setting, and progress monitoring.


Length of the video - 1 minute and 32 seconds

Q: How Can the MDT Collaborate in Evidence Based Case Management for Monitoring Treatment Progress to Successful Completion?

Dr. Ben Saunders discusses the importance of being parsimonious in staging services for families through MDT collaboration to increase their likelihood for successful treatment completion. 

Length of the video - 2 minute and 10 seconds


Additional Resources

Click here to download a printable summary of the information on this page.

Visit to gain access to the following resources:

 1.  Steps to Evidence Based Treatment Planning
 2.  Strengths, Needs and Problems Matrix
 3.  Measurable Outcome Treatment Goals
 4.  Case Management Monitoring
Material in this module: Copyright 2008, the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, the Medical University of South Carolina and the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center, Charleston, SC.