In spite of a few high-profile cases with unfortunate outcomes, Iowa’s child welfare system and juvenile court officials are doing many things to accomplish and support appropriate family reunifications, placements with relatives, and timely adoptions.
Programs and services also exist that are trying hard to meet the needs of children experiencing both short and long stays in foster care. However, cases involving a child’s removal from parents are always complex, and they challenge our often overburdened child welfare system.
The FCRB serves as a less formal forum to hear about the progress or problems being encountered, and to suggest solutions in the form of recommendations from trained and invested citizens with a variety of life experiences to draw from. The review process also identifies systemic barriers to safety, timely permanency, and child well-being, as well as monitoring Iowa’s compliance with important federal funding requirements.
Citizen review remains a cost-efficient and effective means of assisting the courts, DHS, the legislature, as well as other interested parties by providing an objective perspective on the foster care case management process. The FCRB allows ordinary Iowa citizens to use their collective talents to positively affect the lives of vulnerable children and families, and it provides system officials with a clear sense of how a concerned public views our government’s intervention into the lives of Iowa’s children and families.