We provide a citizen voice on the safety, stability, and supervision of children in foster care through impartial case review and advocacy.
Citizens will shape public policy and actively promote conditions to ensure that every child lives in a safe, secure, healthy, and permanent home, preserving families whenever possible.
"Citizen participation in the legal system is not novel. The citizen jury is the foundation of the adult justice system. Some of the most important and critical legal decisions are entrusted to these panels of citizens. What more important and critical legal decisions can the justice system make than those that affect the lives of our most vulnerable children. The citizen voice in this process is critical."
— Nancy Miller, Former Director
Court Programs & Services Division
In 1985, Oregon's legislature created a statewide foster care review program of citizen volunteers to help state courts ensure that case plans and services meet the needs of children in foster care and youth offenders in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority. These citizen volunteers and the staff who support them are the Citizen Review Board, known as the CRB.
The legislature purposefully placed the CRB in the state judicial branch under the direction of the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, independent of the state's foster care programs. The CRB checks and balances child-welfare and juvenile-justice agencies in Oregon's executive branch that serve Oregon's children, youth, and families.
Oregon law requires the CRB to:
- review the case plans of children and youth offenders in substitute care to ensure that their placements and services are appropriate and timely,
- advocate for effective policies, procedures, and laws in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
In reviewing plans and services for children and youth, local boards seek to ensure that:
- each abused or neglected child has a safe and nurturing permanent home as quickly as possible and that everyone in the case gets the services they need,
- delinquent youth are accountable and the public protected from their harmful acts.
In reviews of cases involving an abused or neglected child, local boards invite parents, foster parents, attorneys, caseworkers, court-appointed special advocates (CASAs), other interested parties, and the child, if appropriate, to attend the CRB review and discuss plans for the child. The board then makes findings and recommendations to the Juvenile Court and the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Local boards also review information about youth offenders in substitute care in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA). These reviews focus on public safety, youth offender accountability, and reformation.
In addition to the board reviews, the CRB makes recommendations to juvenile courts, Department of Human Services, Oregon Youth Authority, and the legislature concerning services, policies, procedures, and laws that affect children, youth, and families.
See Our Reviews for more information on the review process and the underlying state policy.
Volunteer Board Members
For local boards, the CRB recruits citizens with interest in or special knowledge of foster care and child welfare to serve on panels of 3 to 7 members who represent the diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and cultural populations in their county.
Oregon's Chief Justice appoints local board members from a list provided by the presiding judge of their local circuit court. Approximately 350 citizen volunteers on 83 local boards now serve statewide, in all but the three least populous counties.
Local volunteer board members receive 16 hours of orientation and 8 hours of continuing education each year after that. Volunteer board members must meet several other requirements, as well. See I Want to Help for more information on qualifications, the job description, and how to apply to become a volunteer board member.
For more information on CRB activities, see CRB News.
To contact CRB staff see CRB Staff .