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September 2007Vol. 8, No. 8Wyoming Conducts Mini-CFSRs

Wyoming conducts an annual assessment of the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and their families who are receiving child protective services through a unique partnership between the Wyoming Citizen Review Panel, Inc. (CRP) and the State Department of Family Services (DFS). The evaluation process is referred to as a "mini-CFSR" because both its approach and the items measured are similar to the Federal Child and Family Services Review (CRSR).

The State reviews nearly 100 cases per year with families who consent to be reviewed and who are randomly selected from all parts of the State. At least one case is reviewed from each DFS office annually. Each family is reviewed during a 2-day period by a team that includes at least one DFS employee and one citizen. Wyoming is the only State to pair a citizen with DFS staff to review case files.

The process seeks to measure outcomes and determine whether practice model principles are being followed, utilizing indepth interviews with everyone involved in the case, including the child and family as well as the caseworker and other service providers. Teaming with citizens as reviewers means community members have a chance to learn more about the work done with and for children and families.

The goals of the mini-CFSRs are to:

  • Improve accountability within the child protection system
  • Measure progress toward the State's Program Improvement Plan (PIP)
  • Give voice to children, their families, and community members
  • Help the State prepare for the second round of the Federal CFSRs
  • Aid in system improvement

Results are summarized at the end of each review and shared with local DFS staff, State management, reviewers, and interested community members. The CRP then submits an annual report of statewide review results and recommendations to the DFS, the Governor, and the legislature.

According to the most recent results of these reviews, Wyoming has shown improvement from 2002 to 2006 in all 23 items measured. The State also met its PIP goal in all 23 areas and successfully completed its PIP. The process identified areas where further improvement is now being addressed—particularly in providing permanency and preserving connections for children in out-of-home placements.

For more information about the mini-CFSR process, contact the State CRP or DFS representative:

Kelly Hamilton
Wyoming Citizen Review Panel

Glennda Lacey
Wyoming Department of Family Services

In addition, the CRP website provides application forms for Wyoming citizens who are interested in being considered as reviewers, as well as reviewer training and information on outcomes from the 2006 and 2007 mini-CFSRs: