Foster Care Review Board
What is the FCRB?
The Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) provides independent third-party review of cases in the Iowa’s foster care system. Through the joint efforts of citizens, the legislature, and Governor Terry Branstad, the Iowa Citizen Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) program was signed into law in July, 1984. Local review boards were established to help ensure that children are safe and well cared for while in the state foster care system, and that their cases are being moved toward permanency in a timely and efficient manner. The FCRB was placed under the auspices of the Iowa Child Advocacy Board in July, 2002.
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 those children experiencing both short and long stays in foster care. However, cases involving a child’s removal from their parents are always complex and 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 serves to identify systemic barriers to safety, timely permanency, and child well-being, and to monitor Iowa’s compliance with important federal funding requirements.
The FCRB review boards are comprised of citizen volunteers from a variety of professions and backgrounds. FCRB program staff recruit, screen, and train the citizen volunteers on key aspects of the child welfare and foster care systems, including court policy and rules, case permanency planning, DHS policy, and state statutes regarding child protection.
Citizen review remains a cost-efficient and effective means of assisting the courts, DHS, the Legislature, and 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 impact the lives of vulnerable children and families and 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.
Not all counties in Iowa have a foster care review board; some counties have more than one active board, and some boards review cases from multiple counties.
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