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Minnesota Citizen Review Panels
Federal law requires that each state have at least three citizen review panels in order to receive federal funding for child protection efforts. Panels currently operate in Chisago, Hennepin, Ramsey, Winona, and Washington counties. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) plans to expand citizen review panels throughout the state.
Citizen Review Panels involve community members in ensuring that the child protection system works well and protects children from abuse and neglect. Panel members review and evaluate various aspects of child protection systems at the state level and in their communities. Panels have 11 to 16 citizens and representatives from:
The following are examples of activities done by Citizen Review Panels:
Requirements for panel members
These community volunteers, appointed by the DHS commissioner and county commissioners, serve an initial two-year term. Panel members must be sensitive to diversity, maintain confidentiality, and. take training on:
New members are encouraged to view the new panel member orientation (PDF). This PowerPoint presentation provides detailed information about the panels and how they function.
Role of panel members
Panel members provide their outside perspective on the internal workings of the child protection system. To accomplish this, they:
Guidelines for staff who work with Citizen Review Panels
The Minnesota Department of Human Services would like to expand citizen review panels, on a voluntary basis, in counties and tribes throughout the state. To support county and tribal child-protection workers and community leaders, DHS has prepared Guidelines (PDF) on ways to invite citizen participation and encourage community investment in the protection of children.
To learn more, contact the DHS citizen review panels expert by e-mail at Dhs.Child.Safety-Permanency@state.mn.us or call 651-431-4660.
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