What is a Citizen Review Panel?
Citizen Review Panels (CRP) are statutorily mandated mechanisms for public participation in child protection policy and practice. They were mandated through amendments to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 1996. Several states enacted state statutes reflecting the federal statute. The Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the federal Children's Bureau implements all components of CAPTA, including the CRP provision. Each state should have at least one or three active panels, depending on the level of funding they receive under Title II of CAPTA. CRPs are composed of volunteer citizens, broadly representative of the population from which the panel is drawn, including some with expertise in treating or preventing child maltreatment.
For information about your state's CRPs, please visit the National Citizen Review Panels Virtual Community.
What does a Citizen Review Panel do?
Each CRP is tasked with providing a diverse array of opportunities for citizens to participate in child protection policy and practice. Congress intended for the panels to provide these opportunities in three primary ways:
- Reviewing the policies, procedures, and practices of their state and local child protection services (CPS) systems
- Conducting public outreach to collect comment and assess the impact of CPS policies, procedures, and practices on children and families
- Advocating for relevant changes in policies, procedures, and practices
How many panels do we have in the country?
Beyond the minimum required, Congress suggested that there be as many panels as necessary. There are more than 340 active panels across the country, in each state, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC. There are many models of how panels operate and meet their mandate.