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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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Citizen review panels
Social Services (SOS) CHAPTER 55, ARTICLE 6, TITLE 1
§ 371-b. Citizen review panels. 1. There shall be established at least
three citizen review panels. At least one panel shall be established for
the city of New York and at least two panels shall be established for
social services districts or combinations of districts outside of the
city of New York. The panel in the city of New York shall create one
subcommittee for each borough for the purposes of evaluating the extent
to which the state and the social services district are discharging
their child protection responsibilities within that particular borough,
in accordance with subsection three of this section. The office of
children and family services shall make available resources to support
the needs of each citizen review panel.

2. Each citizen review panel shall consist of thirteen members, seven
of whom shall be appointed by the governor, three of whom shall be
appointed by the temporary president of the senate, and three of whom
shall be appointed by the speaker of the assembly. Each panel shall duly
elect a chairperson of such panel. Each panel shall be composed of
volunteer members who are broadly representative of the community in
which such panel is established, including members who have expertise in
the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. No person
employed by federal, state, county or municipal agencies which directly
deliver child welfare services may be appointed to a panel.

3. Each citizen review panel shall, by examining the policies and
procedures of the state and social services districts and, where
appropriate, specific cases, evaluate the extent to which the agencies
are effectively discharging their child protection responsibilities in
accordance with: (a) the state plan established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
5106a(b); (b) the child protection standards set forth in 42 U.S.C. §
5106a(b); and (c) any other criteria that the panel considers important
to ensure the protection of children. Each panel shall meet not less
than once every three months. Each panel may hold public hearings on
issues within the panel's jurisdiction.

4. Each citizen review panel shall have access to information on
specific cases in accordance with paragraph (A) of subdivision four of
section four hundred twenty-two of this chapter. Each panel shall also
have reasonable access to public and private facilities which are in
receipt of public funds and are providing child welfare services within
the panel's jurisdiction. Where necessary, the office shall assist a
panel in obtaining access to information or facilities as authorized in
accordance with this section. Each panel shall also have access to the
report prepared by the state pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 5106a(d).

5. Each citizen review panel shall prepare and make available to the
public, on an annual basis, a report containing: (a) a summary of the
activities of the panel; and (b) the findings and recommendations of the
panel. Each report shall be submitted by February first and shall omit
all confidential information used to prepare the report.

6. The members of each citizen review panel shall not disclose to any
person or government official any identifying information about any
specific child protection case. A member who knowingly violates this
duty of confidentiality may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed
one thousand dollars and removal from the panel.

7. The legal defense of a member of a citizen review panel shall be
governed by the terms of section seventeen of the public officers law.