The Role of a Team Facilitator:
On a team with no clearly identified leader, who is responsible for ensuring that an MDT functions effectively?
By Greg Flett
The ideal answer to this question is everyone .… In a perfect world, the whole team is engaged in taking care of itself, listening for and meeting its needs, and sustaining the fragile mechanisms that keep it running smoothly. In reality, this task often falls to the team member who facilitates case review. This role of team facilitator, also known as MDT coordinator, can be vital in helping a team be the best it can be.

As more and more MDTs are recognizing the benefits of a coordinator position, we here at SRCAC often get asked what makes a great team facilitator. While there’s no perfect answer (good facilitators come from all backgrounds and experience levels), we know that those who want to succeed in this role need to be good at “boundary spanning.” Coined in the 1950s by social scientist Michael Tusham, boundary spanning refers to the art of keeping a team connected, promoting the transfer of information, and building strong relationships between diverse players. 

Boundary spanners often possess great communication skills, the ability to prioritize multiple goals across a team, a willingness to deal with conflict, effective coordination skills and the ability to see the bigger picture at play within a large system. For more on boundary spanning, check out this great article on Google’s re:Work website: https://rework.withgoogle.com/blog/nasa-communication-teams/ .

As valuable as the team facilitator can be on an MDT, the role is not without pitfalls. It’s often a lonely and isolating position without access to proper training and support. At SRCAC we’re working hard to provide team facilitators with the resources they need to grow their skills and support their teams, including offering our yearly Team Facilitator 2.0 training in Huntsville, Alabama.

Team Facilitator 2.0 focuses on developing both the role and the individual in that role. With a strong focus on the whole team process, not just what happens at case review, this training teaches skills, builds capacity, and supports facilitators in their efforts to strengthen and sustain an MDT. For more information about this training, check out our website at http://www.srcac.org/team-facilitator/ .

Participants who have gone through this training report higher levels of competence and confidence in their role as MDT facilitator. Many have been surprised by their ability to positively influence and support their team, as well as their team’s receptiveness to their efforts. We hope to see this role continue to grow and develop, helping teams function at their very best, with the goal of improving outcomes for the children and families they serve.
Greg Flett has worked with Multidisciplinary Teams for over 12 years. His webinar on team development titled Understanding Team Effectiveness – What MDTs Can Learn from Google is available for free on NCAC's Virtual Training Center . (You will need to register if you do not have a login.)

Readers are invited to reach out to Greg with questions about the team facilitator role or team development: gflett@nationalcac.org .
New Online Training Available from SRCAC: The Board of Directors Blueprint
Designed specifically for those who serve on the boards of directors of CACs, the Board of Directors Blueprint is a four-module, self-guided training that is available free of charge through the SRCAC website .

As we developed this course, SRCAC reflected on the numerous trainings our staff has delivered to CAC board members over the years and from these experiences, identified the key areas that we felt were essential for board members to understand in order for them to be valuable contributors to their organizations. 

Module 1: The CAC Model
The module covers the history and structure of CACs, why they were created, how multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) work, and the challenges and benefits of the CAC model.

Module 2: Hiring, Supporting and Evaluating an Executive Director
This module provides board members guidance in their roles when hiring, supporting and evaluating the often-challenging, and critical, Executive Director position.

Module 3: Roles and Responsibilities
The module reviews some of the factors that differentiate CAC boards from other types of boards and the challenges that these boards face. Specific roles and responsibilities of CAC board members are discussed, along with helpful guiding principles and the habits of healthy boards.

Module 4: Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Traumatic Stress
This module defines vicarious trauma and secondary trauma stress and focuses on understanding how working with child abuse victims can adversely affect CAC professionals and what the board of directors can do to support the CAC staff and MDTs—in addition to what can occur if these issues are not addressed. 

Each module is approximately 30 minutes and can be viewed separately if you are just interested in one or two particular areas—or the course can be viewed in its entirety. (Certificates of completion are available if all four modules are completed.)

If you have any questions or feedback about these trainings, please contact Caroline Rossi at crossi@nationalcac.org .
2019 Training Dates
Huntsville, AL
Registration will open later this year on the SRCAC website.

Team Facilitator 2.0 (Part 1) - February 19-21

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - May 1-3

Team Facilitator 2.0 (Part 2) - June 25-27

NEW! What Executive Directors Need to Know -
September 10-12

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - October 15-17


Stay tuned for more information!
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Spotlight is a newsletter prepared by Southern Regional CAC that focuses on current topics, ideas, trainings, and conferences which are designed to further the knowledge and practice of CAC professionals within the region. We hope you find the information helpful! Let us know if you have specific topics you’d like to see in future newsletters.
This publication is funded through grant #2016-CI-FX-K002 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components, operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this publication (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).
Southern Regional CAC | #justtryingtohelpsomekids | Vol. 1 No. 7: Sept 2018