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Child Protection
Purpose
The purpose of the Child Protection Citizen Review Panel is to facilitate citizen participation and provide opportunities for members of the community to play an integral role in ensuring that federal, state, and county child protection systems protect children from abuse and neglect and meet the permanency needs of children.

• Minnesota Citizen Review Panels: Reaching out to protect children (August 2012)

In late 2012, the Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel decided as a part of their 2013 annual work plan to author several articles for the general public about factors affecting children/child welfare. So far in 2013, the Panel has published articles on safe sleep practices of infants, to how to choose quality child care and others and now have a  “parenting in public” in the queue to send out as a news release. Following the WC CRP media policy, individual members draft an article, it is circulated for members and county staff to give feedback and /or suggest changes; it is voted on (for approval) at the next CRP meeting. Once approved, the article is forwarded by county staff to the county’s communication manager to forward as a news release. Under Quick Links (to the right) see prior News Releases.

Composition 
The Child Protection Citizen Review Panel includes individuals with sensitivity to cultural, ethnic, and economic diversity; expertise in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect; and an understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence. The panel consists of no fewer than seven members and no more than 16 members.

Individuals may include, but are not limited to the following:
• concerned community members; 
• community leaders/activists;
• parent/consumer representatives; 
• clergy and representatives from communities of faith; 
• business/corporate representatives; 
• children's/parents' attorneys; 
• child advocates/guardians ad litem; 
• health, chemical health, and mental health professionals; 
• councils of color members/ombudsperson for families; 
• Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) advocates; 
• women's advocates; 
• foster parent;s 
• law enforcement representatives; 
• teachers and school administrators; 
• mentally or physically disabled persons representatives or advocates; 
• court services workers.

Qualifications for Appointment 
Members must complete an application and possess the following qualifications:
• must be at least 21 years old; 
• must not have a criminal record; 
• may not have been a perpetrator in a case where child maltreatment has
been determined; 
• may not currently be involved in a child protection, a child custody dispute, or criminal matter; 
• must maintain confidentiality;
• may not be a current county attorney's office, district court, social services, or court services employee or a foster care provider or an active guardian
ad litem of the county in which the panel operates.

Desired Qualifications:
• Genuine concern and compassion for those involved in the child protection service system. 
• Desire to have a positive impact on the child protection services system and those involved. 
• Desire to learn about the current child protection service system. 
• Ability to articulate ideas, concerns, and thoughts. 
• Ability to listen, be open minded, nonjudgmental and constructive. 
• Ability to work as part of a team. 
• Desire to promote needed changes in the child protection service system that are identified by the panel.

Objectives
• Review policies and procedures in consultation with county and state child protection staff to ensure the protection of children. 

• Examine the practices of the county and state child protection agencies to evaluate if the social work practices protect children from abuse and neglect.

• Review the consistency of social work practice and compliance with stated policies.

• Advocate for resources and make recommendations to resolve the disparity of the number of children of color involved in the child protection system.

• Participate in the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process. 

• Assist in the preparation, review, and monitoring of the Program Improvement Plan (PIP).

• Analyze trends and provide valuable insights that those working within the system may miss, as well as provide feedback on what is or is not working.

• Recommend policy changes to improve the child protection system.

• Provide outside validation of the successes of the system and the efforts of the staff.

• Increase community understanding, ownership, and investment in child protection.

• Promote cooperation among community resources and child protection services.

• Provide for public outreach and comment to assess the impact of procedures and policies upon children and families in the community.

• Advocate for needed resources to achieve the protection of children from abuse and neglect and ensure permanent homes for children in a timely manner.

• Prepare and make public an annual report containing a summary of the activities of the panel and recommendations to improve the child protection system.

• Monitor the implementation of the Citizen Review Panel's recommendations.

• Monitor the extent to which the Minnesota Department of Human Services is fulfilling child protection responsibilities in accordance with its Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Five-Year Plan, as required by the federal CAPTA.

Terms
Members of the Child Protection Citizen Review Panel are appointed by both the County Board and the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services. Citizen volunteers serve a term of two calendar years beginning July 1. A panel member may not serve more than three consecutive two-year terms.

Meetings
The Child Protection Citizen Review Panel meets at least once every three months. Written notice of the place, date, and time of the regularly scheduled meetings is sent or e-mailed to the panel members at least one week prior to the meeting. Meeting agendas are sent with the meeting notice.

Reimbursement 
Members are reimbursed for expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties on the panel.