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Peer Review

What is Peer Review?

Peer Review can be defined in many different ways. For the purposes of CBCAP, Peer Review is an important part of the continuum of evaluation approaches that programs should use for continuous quality improvement. Peer review is a process that brings together family support and prevention programs in a process of self-assessment and sharing. For example, the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention defines peer review as... "an opportunity for you to develop a supportive relationship with your colleagues and learn from one another so that families receive the best services possible."

Why should Lead Agencies design peer review programs?

Title II of CAPTA includes language that requires CBCAP programs to implement a peer review process. The legislation and 2011 CBCAP Program Instructions from the Children's Bureau has not in the past included information on specific parameters for states. Recently, FRIENDS has been working to develop specialized technical assistance and provide more concrete information to states in this area.

What purpose does peer review serve?

Peer Review answers key questions for programs about the environment, culture, and practices of the agency. Peer review, by itself, is not an evaluation. Evaluation asks "Did our families improve?" while peer review asks "Did our program provide an environment where families could improve?" The Children's Bureau also considers peer review to be a vital part of any comprehensive evaluation plan within states to improve services to families and children.

Another key component of peer review is that it is NOT a mechanism for funders to monitor performance of grantees. Peer review is an opportunity for agencies to collaborate as mentors to share best practices and challenges. It is a process that CBCAP Lead Agencies can use to build and cultivate learning communities or communities of practice for child abuse prevention at the State and local levels. It is important to note that peer review is not meant to be a punitive exercise. It should not be utilized as a way to ensure that contracts are adhered to, that is a contract review which is a very different process. Peer review is a way to bring together programs that are part of the Statewide prevention network for the purpose of learning, sharing, problem solving and working towards the common goal of improving services for the children and families that they serve.

What are the required components of peer review?

There are no required components within peer review under CBCAP. FRIENDS has designed some guidelines to help programs understand and move forward with their peer review process. These guidelines were developed after a national survey of states to determine current peer review practices. Data from this survey, interviews with CBCAP agencies, and feedback from the peer review workgroup were all combined to develop guidelines that were based on the current peer review practices and trends.

For more information and to read these guidelines, click here

What are states doing in peer review?

Peer review across the nation is very diverse and many states have developed useful tools and instruments in their practice. FRIENDS has compiled a list of states, their process, and contact information. To view this table, click here.

State Resources in Peer Review
Illinois Assessment Tool
Kansas Assessment Tool
Massachusetts Assessment Tool
South Dakota Assessment Tool
Wisconsin Assessment Tool

How do I find an assessment tool to use for peer review?

FRIENDS worked in conjunction with states to develop a CBCAP specific peer review tool. It has questions in areas such as Program Administration and Continuous Quality Improvement. This tool is in the public domain and can be used free of charge. The assessment can be found in Peer Review in CBCAP: A Source Document for Assessment and Best Practice.The assessment has an accompanying database to help programs in their analyzation of data. The database and read me file can be downloaded below. The database is an Access 2007 file but does not require Access on your computer to run.

FRIENDS Resources in Peer Review

icon Peer Review in CBCAP: A Source Document for Assessment and Best Practice
 icon Peer Review Assessment Database Version 2(this is a large zip file, please be patient as it downloads) This file is in an Access 2007 file format, but does not require Access on your computer to run.
icon Peer Review Database Readme File
 icon Peer Review Checklist for Respite Programs