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Enhancing the Foster Care Review Process: The Case of Kentucky's Interested Party Review Program


  • Valerie Bryan, MSW, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at the University of South Alabama, in Mobile. Her research interests primarily involve child welfare systems, juvenile justice issues, and substance abuse interventions.
    Crystal Collins-Camargo, MSW, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work. She conducts research in child welfare and juvenile court topics, and teaches graduate-level social policy.
    Stephanie Rhee, MSW, is a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work.

  • Authors' Note: The AFCARS data utilized in this article were made available by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and have been used by permission. Data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System were originally collected by the Children's Bureau, Department of Health and Human Services. Neither the collector of the original data, the funder, the Archive, Cornell University, or its agents or employees bear any responsibility for the analysis or interpretations presented here.

  • Funding for this study was provided through a contract with the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, Juvenile Services Division (#3048075700).


In order to promote timely permanency for children in out-of-home care, citizen foster care review programs employ volunteers to monitor progress for children in the child welfare system. In addition to case file reviews, Kentucky implemented an Interested Party Review system in which foster care review board members meet with family members and child welfare staff in order to glean more detailed and multi-faceted information to submit to the court. This article describes a mixed-methods program evaluation demonstrating the contribution of such a review process to judicial decision making and child outcome, as well as recommendations for program improvement.

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