Contact Person: Gretchen Ossenfort, Children’s Justice Act & Title IV-B Coordinator
Contact Address: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services, 2 Anthony Ave.
Augusta, Maine 04333
Contact Phone: (207) 624-7942
Founded In: The Maine Citizen’s Review Panel (CRP) was created in 2007-08 as an addition to the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Panel (CDSI) and the Child Abuse Action Network (CAAN) facilitating compliance with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
Funding: The CRP is federally funded through the Children's Justice Act. The CRP is a vital group of professionals and private citizens who are responsible for determining whether state and local agencies are effectively discharging child protective responsibilities pursuant to CAPTA.
Other information: The Maine child welfare system is state supervised and county administrated. Maine has 16 counties.
Annual Report: The 2009-2010 Report is completed and available on the website.
Total Membership: The CRP is comprised of 15-25 members representing providers, local citizens, consumers of the child protective services, former foster children over the age of 18, adoptive parents, civic representatives and members of the community at large. Membership of the CRP attempts to achieve a broad and diverse representation of the community including but not limited to law enforcement, biological parents, former youth in care, researchers, foster/adoptive parents, domestic violence professionals, mental health therapists, clergy, CASA, disabilities specialist, teachers, an attorney and medical professionals. Membership recruitment also weighs diversity of age, race/ethnicity, gender and class as critical to the make up the CRP. The DHHS Child Welfare Policy and Practice Director acts as a liaison to the panel and is an ex officio member of the panel.
Brief Description: The mission of Maine’s CRP is to ensure that the state system is meeting the safety, permanency and well being of children and families through assessment, research, case reviews, advocacy and greater citizen involvement. It’s the “greater citizen’s involvement” that is key to creating transparency within the Child Welfare system and increasing accountability and ownership in the outcomes for Maine’s children and families. The CRP creates an annual report of activities, research, and reviews. Recommendations are made following those reviews addressing relevant and current child welfare issues. The recommendations can be made immediately to the Commissioner of Health and Human Services or through the annual report. Recommendations can also be made through the Department liaison, the Office of Child and Family Services Director of Child Welfare Policy and Practice.
The CRP was begun in 2007 with the first year focused on developing bi-laws, training and membership. The first working CRP started in September of 2008 with membership training, electing the executive committee and beginning to lay down a foundation on how to work as group in this very broad mission of CRPs. The CRP currently meets once a month for two hours. All members are also divided into 2-3 subcommittees that focus on a specific topic area. Some of these committees meet independently to complete tasks. The committee has used literature reviews, case record reviews, surveys, youth panel discussions and guest speakers. In 2009 Blake Jones facilitated a Strategic Planning Retreat with the panel.
Sample of Work Projects: