The Foster Care Review Board (FCRB), a program within the Dependent Children’s Services Division of the Arizona Supreme Court, is seeking volunteers. Statewide, the FCRB has about 108 boards and a little over 500 volunteer positions filled by dedicated board members who have a desire to advocate on behalf of children in Arizona’s foster care system. In Pinal County, the FCRB facilitates eight boards, which are each comprised of five citizens from the community. The board members are appointed by the presiding Judge of Pinal County’s Juvenile Court. We have an urgent need to fill vacancies in this county.
Foster Care Review Board volunteers commit to meeting one weekday per month to review the cases of children who are in out-of-home care. The meetings are completed via video conference. Each board reviews its assigned cases until permanency is achieved. As children return home, are adopted, have guardianship granted, or age out of the system, new cases are added to the board’s review day. The board makes recommendations to the Juvenile Court and interested parties involved in the case. Currently, boards in Pinal County are reviewing the cases of about 800 children. Volunteers receive the training needed to serve in this role.
In preparation for a board meeting, volunteers receive court documents and other case materials via a secured website about 10 days before the review date. Board members prepare questions to clarify and gather information with the attending interested parties (case managers, attorneys, parents, foster parents, counselors, licensing workers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, etc.).
On the day of the review, an FCRB staff member (program specialist) facilitates the case reviews. Interested parties for each case have an opportunity to appear before the board and speak about their concerns, successes, wants, and needs. The board asks questions and considers all information available before making recommendations. The program specialist prepares a written report, which includes the board’s recommendations and statements given by the interested parties. The report is distributed to the Juvenile Court and all case participants.
Steve Rosen, who is a resident in the Saddlebrook community, has been a volunteer with the Foster Care Review Board for about two years. During that time, he has become a great support and advocate for children in out-of-home care.
To become a volunteer, you must be at least 21 years of age and pass a fingerprint background check. You can request an application by going to the FCRB website www.AZFCRB.org or by calling 520-388-4300. You can also email [email protected] to request an application. Another way to get involved is a program with similar requirements called Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), in which volunteers are appointed by the court to advocate for a specific child with whom they are paired. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, visit www.AZCASAVolunteer.org.