HISTORY OF CRPs
For the past several years, the federal government has been holding states more accountable with regard to the services they provide to abused and neglected children. With the passage of federal laws such as the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA) and the Adoption and Safe Families Act, states are being encouraged (some would say forced) to prove that they are doing a good job at protecting children. The child protective services systems throughout the nation have also realized that they cannot protect children alone; citizens in the community must take an active interest in and responsibility for abused and neglected children.
From this new way of thinking came the Citizen Review Panels, which were implemented by a 1996 amendment to CAPTA. All states receiving money through this federal grant were to create at least three Citizens Review Panels by July, 1999. Kentucky established three CRPs in the Spring of 1999. These are located in Lexington, Louisville, and Mayfield (the Purchase region). Since then, new Panels have been formed in the Gateway Buffalo Trace and Big Sandy Regions.
The purpose of the Citizen Review Panels is to provide an evaluation of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. This is done by looking at how well the Cabinet adheres to its policies and procedures, whether or not the adoption and foster care systems are working well together, and whether or not the Cabinet is coordinating with others in the community to serve children and families. Panels may also look at any other part of the system, including staff training and turnover, child fatalities, etc.