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July/August 2010Vol. 11, No. 6Characteristics of Effective Citizen-State Child Welfare Partnerships

Research has shown that agencies can benefit from citizen participation in child welfare. A national study published in Children and Youth Services Review examines citizen review panels (CRPs) in particular, exploring the relationships between characteristics of CRPs—information flow between CRPs and States, group cohesion, and self-governance—and perceived effectiveness of CRPs. The study presents findings from online surveys completed by 426 CRP members and 42 CRP coordinators across the United States and from data analyses that identify and explain relationships among variables.

Findings from the study include:

  • Group cohesion predicted the level of perceived self-governance effectiveness, which, in turn, predicted whether or not members believed their work had a positive impact upon child welfare.
  • Information flow affected the perception of self-governance effectiveness and positive impact.
  • Perceived information flow between CRPs and States, group cohesion, and self-governance explained 53 percent of the variance in CRP members' perceptions of effectiveness.

The authors also offer recommendations for improving CRP effectiveness, including the need for panel autonomy, consistency in sharing information with panels, and intentional relationship building between panel members and State agencies.

"Key Features of Effective Citizen-State Child Welfare Partnerships Effective: Findings From a National Study of Citizen Review Panels," Children and Youth Services Review, 32(4), by Valerie Bryan, Blake Jones, and Emily Lawson, is available for purchase online:


Related Item

Visit the National Citizens Review Panels virtual community for information about CRPs: