Social Work Office of Research & Public Service

Citizen Review Panels (CRPs) and
Joint Task Force on Children’s Justice & Child Sexual Abuse (JTF)

The Joint Task Force (JTF)

…is a multi-disciplinary group of professionals representing federal and state legislatively-mandated categories from the fields of child protection, law enforcement, medical, mental health, attorneys for prosecution and defense, criminal and civil court judges, state child-serving agencies, parent advocates, individuals experienced in working with children with disabilities and homeless children, and adults with lived experienced in child welfare to address critical child welfare issues related to improving the child protection service (CPS) system. Specifically, the JTF charge is to improve the prevention, intervention, investigation, prosecution, judicial handing and treatment of cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation as well as other forms of severe child abuse and neglect.


  • Created a “What Happens in Dependency Abuse and Neglect Cases in Juvenile Court” booklet to help child welfare and justice professionals prepare children for appearing in court.
  • Developed a Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minor (CSEM) document for child welfare clinicians – the document looks at current practice for therapeutic interventions for serving youth who have been sex trafficked.
  • Developed an Erin’s Law guide to help Tennessee public schools, child care agencies and other organizations that serve children and youth with resources for providing age-appropriate instruction related to child sexual abuse.
  • Developed a Child Protection Investigative Team (CPIT) manual, which focuses on issues related to multi-disciplinary teams’ coordination and response to severe child abuse and neglect cases and in addressing the child protection needs of their communities.

Citizen Review Panels

The CRPs are a federally mandated group of citizens with expertise in the field of child protection. They assist state and local child protection systems in their response to addressing community needs and in improving the child protection service (CPS) system. The panels do this through evaluation, public outreach and advocacy.


  • Developed the online training session on Tennessee’s mandatory child abuse reporting law.
  • Addressed the issue of long waiting periods for calls to the Child Abuse Hotline (CAH) that had been reported by schools; this resulted in the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) implementing a CAH number for dedicated use by school personnel.
  • Assessed gaps in services for youth aging out of care; this resulted in the panels developing a comprehensive handbook to empower Tennessee youth in their transition from foster care.
  • Collaborate with DCS and other child protection agencies yearly to host events related to promoting child safety and improving the foster care program.

Child Welfare Consultant

Toni Lawal