Frequently Asked Questions about FCRB

Q: Are foster care review boards meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A:
Yes, with all possible safety measures in place. Most meetings are currently virtual.

Q: How much time does it take to be an FCRB volunteer?
A: FCRB volunteers average approximately 10 hours per month reading case documents and attending the monthly meeting. This varies considerably, depending on the number of children who are scheduled to be reviewed in a given month. During the first six months, additional time is generally needed to become acquainted with the specific cases of the children assigned to the board. However, once a volunteer becomes familiar with a case, subsequent reviews require only being updated.

Each FCRB volunteer is assigned to an existing board, which meets on a specific day and location each month (e.g.  second Tuesday at a local church). The meetings take place during the day, generally starting at 9:00 am and continuing until the agenda is completed, but rarely past 4:00 pm. Some FCRB meetings are scheduled for half days, depending on the number of children needing a review. Agendas are distributed at least 30 days prior to the meeting, so volunteers know well in advance the length of their next meeting. In addition to the actual meeting time, volunteers spend time on their own preparing for the meeting by reading the confidential documents that are provided, such as court orders, social histories and case plans.

Q: What is the make-up of the local boards?
A: There are five to seven volunteer members on each board, with a chair and vice chair designated. A staff person facilitates each board. There must be three board members present to have a quorum. Two board members are permitted for questioning in situations, with specific approval, where postponement of the case would cause undue hardship for the interested parties or missing court proceedings. A third member would need to be available to make findings and recommendations. The FCRB is required to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that each board represents the socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic groups of the county in which it serves.

Q: Who is invited to reviews?
A: The Iowa Code lists the people to be notified. Invitations are sent to the child (age 14 and older), parents, placement, DHS caseworker, service providers, guardian ad litem, child’s attorney, parents' attorneys, and the county attorney.  We encourage attendance, because participation by all parties leads to a more rounded discussion and is helpful as we make findings and recommendations.

Q: Which children are selected to be reviewed?
A: The number of children selected is dependent on the resources available to the specific county or cluster of counties.  If all children cannot be reviewed, selection criteria have been developed in consultation with the judges and the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Q: What happens at the Review Board meeting?
A: 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.  At the conclusion of the review, the Board will make findings and recommendations for the child’s best interest related to safety, permanency and well-being.

Q:Who receives the Board's Recommendations?
A: The FCRB reports, with recommendations, are sent to the juvenile court judge. Copies of the report are also sent to the parents, the foster parents, counselors, attorneys, the supervising agency, and other appropriate interested parties. The juvenile court judge will review the report and take into consideration the recommendations at the time of the next court hearing on the case. The FCRB makes recommendations that are advisory only.

Q: Is the FCRB part of DHS?
A: No. The FCRB is administered by the Iowa Child Advocacy Board under the umbrella of the Department of Inspections and Appeals.  This arrangement was created intentionally so that the FCRB can review and report on the work of all parties involved with children in out-of-home placements.

Q: When is the child's case no longer reviewed?
A: The child's case no longer requires a review when the child: is successfully returned to live with the parent(s); is adopted; has reached the age of 18 or when the court relieves the FCRB of the responsibility or dismisses the case.

For Parents and Interested Parties

 
Q: Why should I come to a Review Board meeting?
A: 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.  At the conclusion of the review, the Board will make findings and recommendations for the child’s best interest related to safety, permanency and well-being.

Q: What if I disagree with the Board's Recommendations?
A: Be sure to attend any court hearings concerning the child, contact your attorney, and make your opinions known.

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Printed from the Iowa Child Advocacy Board website on August 13, 2020 at 9:02pm.