Tennessee Citizen Review Panels Overview
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 1996 established Citizen Review Panels (CRPs) to evaluate the extent to which agencies are effectively discharging their child protection responsibilities in accordance with the State’s CAPTA Plan and any other criteria that the panel considers important to ensure the protection of children.
CAPTA states that the panels are required to:
- examine policies, procedures, and practices of State and local child protection service agencies;
- review cases with fatalities or near fatalities;
- maintain confidentiality and not disclose to any person or government official any identifying information about any specific child protection cases;
- produce an annual summary of their activities in a report format and make recommendations for improving the child protection services system;
- conduct public outreach and comment in order to assess the impact of current procedures and practices upon children and families;
- meet at least every three (3) months; and
- be composed of volunteers who broadly represent the community, including those who have expertise in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.
CAPTA instructs states to:
- provide staff assistance and support to the panels;
- provide to the panels access to information on child abuse or neglect cases that is necessary for the CRPs to carry out their duties;
- respond to the panels’ annual reports in writing within six (6) months of the recommendations; and
- submit a summary of the activities of the CRPs in their annual report to the federal government.
The members of the CRP represent individuals who are familiar with the intricacies of the child protective service system. Potential members may seek recommendation from a current panel member or other community leader.
DCS contracts with the University of Tennessee, College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (UT SWORPS) to provide administrative and logistical support to the CRPs.