Who Can Be a FCRB Volunteer?
Persons age 21 and older can apply to serve. The FCRB members represent various social, economic, racial, and ethnic groups and occupations. Court and Department of Human Services employees, child-placing agency staff, employees of ICAB, and foster parents providing care are not eligible due to conflict of interest concerns.
“Being a FCRB volunteer has been a life changing and fulfilling experience.”
—Traci Kelley, FCRB Membe
How much time does it take to be a FCRB volunteer?
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 6-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 (eg, 2nd Tuesday at a local church). The meetings take place during the day, generally starting at 9:00am and continuing until the agenda is completed, but rarely past 4:00pm. Some FCRB meetings are scheduled for ½ 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 which are provided, such as court orders, social histories and case plans.
“For me one of the best things about being a volunteer on the FCRB is being able to advocate for children. It is especially rewarding to work with professionals who really care and to experience great joy when children and families succeed. I am thankful I have the opportunity through the FCRB to be part of the process that strives to provide stable and secure homes for Iowa's children.”
—Karen Baker, FCRB Member
What kind of training and support do FCRBs receive?
All FCRB volunteers are provided with an initial 15-hour training, which includes information regarding applicable laws, organizational information, and a “mock review” which portrays the actual review of a child. Each new FCRB volunteer is teamed with a “seasoned” volunteer who serves as a mentor as they learn the “job” of board member. In addition, a paid facilitator attends every child’s review to assist the FCRB and to write the report to the Court.
Ongoing training is also provided so that the volunteer is kept up-to-date with current social work practice, new services and laws, and other topics of interest. In addition to the facilitator, all boards are supported by a local program coordinator and support staff who are available to answer questions, provide for needed ongoing training, and to act as liaisons between the boards and the Court, DHS, and other entities.