Mission: See schedule o.
Programs: Florida foster care reviews (ffcr) core program is the citizen review panel (crp) program. In preparation for the case review hearing, foster care review specialists spend hours reviewing all documents filed with the court, developing an overview of the childs experience in foster care and noting any red flags in the childs case. Prior to the start of each hearing, the crps volunteer members review this report and discuss potential issues, questions, and concerns with the review specialist. During the hearing, panel members interview case parties and participants - children, foster parents, guardians ad litem, and case managers - in order to gain an accurate assessment of the childs needs. This process is moderated by the review specialist who ensures that all questions are asked and who provides expertise and guidance to the volunteer panelists as needed. The crp members inquire about critical therapeutic, educational, medical, and other service needs for the child and family. They determine whether the case manager is visiting the child every 30 days and making unannounced visits every 90 days as required. The panelists determine whether foster parents are complying with all requirements and treating their foster children as normal children. They evaluate whether older youth are being taught independent living skills and, for those who will turn 18 and age out of the foster care system, the panel requires proof that sufficient pre-planning for the youths future has occurred. For children who are waiting for an adoptive family, crp members inquire as to the specific steps being taken to ensure that an appropriate adoptive family is identified and that the adoption is finalized in a timely manner. At the conclusion of each hearing, the parties are excused, and the crp members discuss the evidence presented. They then issue findings and recommended court orders that promote the childs safety, physical and mental health, and attainment of a permanent home. The review specialists then spend several hours generating a comprehensive report that contains the panels findings and recommendations. This report is submitted to the judge and, upon judicial approval and signature, the recommendations become binding court orders with which the foster care agencies must comply. Case review hearings before the citizen review panel typically take place every five to six months, affording the panels an opportunity to review case manager compliance with their orders from previous reviews before the citizen review panel. When urgent issues arise, in addition to recommended orders in the written report, the review specialists directly contact the case management agency for resolution or set the case before the judge if it is a matter requiring judicial decision-making or attention. In fy 14-15 (july 1, 2014 through june 30, 2015) ffcrs citizen review panel program conducted 804 case reviews for a total of 573 children and youth, or approximately 18-20% of the average number of children in the dependency court system during that time period. The crp review process resulted in the issuance of 4,183 orders related to improving the safety, permanency and well-being of children in miami-dades dependency court system. The panels also had the opportunity to determine agency compliance with 1,884 orders issued during earlier reviews.