Tennessee Citizens Review Panels Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the role and responsibilities of Citizen Review Panel members?
Panel members are required to examine the policies and procedures to determine whether state and local agencies are effectively discharging their child protection responsibilities and are in compliance with the state Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA). However, because the mandate is so broadly defined, it does not give a clear sense of direction. Ultimately, panel members’ role is to be a community partner of the local child welfare agency and to address issues concerning the child protection system in a manner that is supportive and unbiased.
- What is the Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA)?
This federal act authorizes grants to States for the purpose of assisting States in developing, establishing, and operating programs designed to improve the child protection system such as (1) the handling of child abuse and neglect cases in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child victim; (2) the handling of cases of suspected child abuse or neglect related fatalities; and (3) the investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect.
- What is the makeup of Panel members?
The federal legislation requires that the individual CRPs be “broadly representative of the communities in which such panel is established.” Panel members should be familiar with the intricacies of CPS work. Representatives from DCS, law enforcement, school system, CART, colleges of social work and organizations such as state chapters of Child Advocacy Centers, Prevent Child Abuse, and CASA typically reflect panel members.
- How often do members meet?
Panels must meet at least quarterly.
- Does the federal law allow one panel to review agency compliance with the CAPTA plan, another Panel to review agency performance in the area of coordinating with foster care and adoption services and a third to review only a local agency and its performance?
No, each panel must perform each of the enumerated functions. However, one panel, for instance might conduct in-depth reviews of a small number of child protective service cases, another examine broader number of case files, and yet another examine the information available through the statewide data system.
- How do Panels go about deciding which policy or procedure to examine?
First, you should determine how your local panel can be helpful to the CPS system and what particular areas of the system would most benefit from outside review. This can be done by looking at the agency’s discharge of its duties and at the interactions, strengths, and weaknesses of the CPS system as a whole, including community-based services and other agencies such as the Tennessee Center for Child Welfare (TCCW).
- How does Citizen Review Panels (CRPs) differ from Citizens Advisory Board (CAB)?
Citizen Review Panels are established by federal statute and funded by CAPTA and explore issues to support child protection systems while Citizens Advisory Board is a state initiative designed to support the implementation of MRS. Also, CABs focus primarily on the issue of service delivery unique to that local community.
- What are some examples of policies or procedures can or have panels examined?
- Focus groups to assess service delivery, job satisfaction, inter-departmental relationships, culturally responsive practice, etc.
- Evaluate CPS specialty training, qualifications of trainers and CPS staff, job turnover, etc.
- Identified successful community-based child protection systems and approaches for replication elsewhere.
- Developed web-based Child Abuse Reporting guide.
- Examine assessment tools and case finding.
- Conduct case reviews.
- Are Panels required to produce a report to DCS?
UT staff prepares an annual report documenting the panels’ activities and recommendations to improve CPS at state and local level. In addition, UT staff prepares materials for meetings, assist with facilitating meeting, and maintain records and minutes.