Q1. What is a Foster Care Review Board (FCRB)?
A1. An FCRB is a county-based panel of five to seven trained volunteers, who care about the welfare of Iowa’s foster children. Our responsibilities include conducting scheduled reviews for children in out-of-home placements to determine if satisfactory progress is being made toward the goals of the child’s permanency plan. Depending on the populations, one or more counties may be merged together for reviews by one of the local boards located across Iowa.
Q2. Which children are selected to be reviewed?
A2. The number of children selected is dependent on the resources available to the specific county or cluster of counties. If not all children can be reviewed, selection criteria have been developed in consultation with the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Q3. How are the FCRB members selected?
A3. All members are community volunteers who have completed an application process, background checks and mandatory training. Those selected to serve are approved by the Iowa Child Advocacy Board, and complete a confidentiality oath with a local Judge. FCRBs consist of people from various social, economic, racial and ethnic groups, and represent a variety of educational and employment backgrounds.
Q4. Who is invited to the Review Board meeting?
A4. The Code of Iowa lists the persons to be notified. Invitations are sent to the child (age 14 and older), parents, placement, HHS case manager, service providers, guardian ad litem, parent’s attorneys, intervenors and their counsel, and the county attorney. We encourage your attendance, as participation by all parties leads to a more rounded discussion, and is helpful as we make findings and recommendations.
Q5. What can I expect?
A5. The FCRB meetings are held in a community site, such as a church or public building. Whatever the location, extreme care is given to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings. There may be times when a review is held virtually due to unforeseen circumstances (weather, unavailability of the meeting location, etc.)
Q6. Can the child be present?
A6. The law requires us to notify children aged 14 or older. Given the circumstances of cases and nature of the discussion, it may not be in younger children’s best interest to be present during a foster care review.
Q7. What happens at the Review Board meeting?
A7. During the average 40 minutes allowed for the review, the focus will be on the progress being made on the issues of concern raised in the Case Permanency Plan. Each person present will be offered the opportunity to address any or all of the listed concerns.
Q8. How can I provide information if I’m not able to be present?
A8. If you are unable to attend the review, you may send an email or letter, and there is also an option to leave a recorded statement. All local contact information will be provided in the notification letter. Your contribution will be shared at the review meeting and will be included in the report.
Q9. What happens with the Review Board’s findings and recommendations?
A9. The FCRB report is sent to the Juvenile Court Judge. The recommendations are advisory to the Judge, who will make the final decisions about what should occur in a case.
Q10. Will I receive a copy of the Review Board’s report?
A10. Yes. Every person who is invited to participate in the review will be sent a copy of the report within 15 days, regardless of whether they participated at the meeting.
Q11. What if I disagree with the Board’s recommendations?
A11. Be sure to attend court hearings or contact your attorney to make your opinions known.
Q12. If I have questions about the review, whom do I call?
A12. Questions about the review process, recommendations, or other issues related to the FCRB program can be directed to the local office; contact information is included in the review notification.