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September 2008Vol. 9, No. 7Do You Have What It Takes to Be a CFSR Reviewer?

The Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) are the most ambitious and thorough examination of State child welfare services ever conducted. The process requires a team of dedicated and knowledgeable reviewers, including Federal and State agency staff and consultant reviewers. To obtain consultant reviewers, the Children's Bureau recruits and trains qualified consultants with appropriate child welfare experience. Read more about the CFSR process below to see if you might be interested in applying to become a reviewer.

To prepare for a 4-day Onsite Review, reviewers spend time reading the Statewide Assessment, State Policy Submission, and other documents. The onsite days are long—often 12 to 16 hours—as reviewers conduct focus groups and interviews, review case records and other documents, participate in group meetings and briefings, and complete necessary instruments and final summaries. While the work is arduous, it also can be rewarding, as reviewers learn about promising practices that have been implemented or progress that a State has made in its placements or services.

To maintain the high standards that have been set for the CFSR process, the Children's Bureau continually seeks qualified reviewers interested in serving on the CFSR teams. Reviewers receive substantial training and are compensated for their time, travel, and expenses. Those who meet the qualifications and receive training are expected to participate in multiple reviews.

Successful reviewers will have an excellent command of Federal practice expectations, to include family-centered practice, community-based services, individualizing services that address unique needs of children and families, and strengthening parental capacity to protect and provide for their children.

Interested? If you have the above-mentioned background and experience, you may qualify to serve as a consultant reviewer on the CFSR teams. In addition, individuals who are multilingual are encouraged to apply. To find out more about the requirements and application process, visit the Children's Bureau website:

As one reviewer commented, "Despite the fact that I have more than 30 years as a child welfare practitioner, I am amazed that participation on CFSR reviews allows me to continue to examine my own values and principles about child protection, permanency, and well-being. Each review re-energizes my passion for our work."