History of the National CRP Conference

Citizen Review Panels (CRP) were mandated by Congress in 1996 through amendments to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). They are intended as mechanisms for public participation with multiple opportunities for citizens to collaborate with state and local child protection services (CPS) personnel in assisting the CPS agencies be more responsive to community needs. Panel members are volunteers, broadly representing the community from which the panel is drawn, and should include those with experience and expertise in child protection. Each state was expected to have at least three panels (in some cases one panel) by 1999. By 2013, there were more than 340 CRPs across the country, engaging hundreds of volunteers.

A CRP’s statutory mandate is expansive, and includes three distinct components – review, outreach, and advocacy. CRPs are unique among public participation mechanisms in that they provide opportunities for participation through active roles for volunteers in evaluation, public outreach, and advocacy.

Recognizing the expanse and complexity of their mandate, coordinators and members from fifteen states came together in 2002 in Lexington, KY, to discuss their common challenges. In the years since, this gathering evolved into the current National CRP Annual Conference, currently in its sixteenth year.

Each year, the National CRP Advisory Panel invites interested local CRPs to host the conference. So far, the conference has been held in 11 different locations in 10 different states. Approximately 150 representatives from more than 25 states attend the conference each year, including CRP volunteers, CRP staff, CPS staff, researchers in child protection, and other professionals from allied fields. It is the annual marquee event for CRPs across the nation, and serves as a forum for exchange of best practices and innovative ideas on structuring and enhancing public participation in child protection.

The conference features multiple plenary sessions, several breakout sessions, and community cafes. Keynote and plenary sessions feature nationally prominent speakers and people in responsible and influential positions. Breakout sessions include presentations, workshops, and panel discussions. These sessions cover a variety of topics, including ways to effectively use media for public outreach, most effective ways to work with your legislators, and mental health and substance abuse assessment. Community cafes allow attendees to talk specifics about CRP processes and procedures.

Year Dates* Location Theme*
2002 Lexington, KY
2003 Lexington, KY
2004 Lexington, KY
2005 Outer Banks, NC
2006 May 25-26 Louisville, KY
2007 May 23-25 Lexington, KY
2008 May 21-23 St. Paul, MN The River Rushes On
2009 May Jackson Hole, WY
2010 May 26-28 Lexington, KY
2011 May 18-20 Charleston, SC A Force for Change
2012 April 15-17 Washington, DC
2013 May 21-24 Jackson Hole, WY
2014 May 19-21 Atlanta, GA Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success
2015 May 18-20 Portland, OR People, Programs & Performance: Piecing Together Successful Citizen Review Panels
2016 June 6-9 Phoenix, AZ Achieving Meaningful Citizen Involvement in Child Welfare
2017 May 10-12 Anchorage, AK Citizen Participation in Child Protection: Common Goals, Many Paths
* Information unavailable