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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ombudsman Offices Are They Really Helpful????

Throughout the last few years on our Discussion Group the question of the effectiveness of this office came into question. To date, most comments from members have not been positive. FYI, is a copy of our web page listing the offices and a few members comments, by states. If you have any factual information on your experiences with the Ombudsman Office, in your state, please email me.

Here is the primary function of the Ombudsman Office:
Ombudsman offices have been established in a variety of state, municipal, county, local, federal, academic organizations and businesses.  As an independent, impartial and confidential complaint handler, an ombudsman serves as an alternative means of dispute resolution.  The U.S. Ombudsman Association describes an ombudsman as "a public offical appointed by the legislature to receive and investigate citizen complaints against administrative acts of government."

Ombudsman Offices
Knowledge is Power
Link to this Page: http://nfpcar.org/Ombudsman/

According to the National introductory statement, this is what Ombudsman Offices are supposed to do:
What Are Ombudsman Offices?
Ombudsman offices have been established in a variety of state, municipal, county, local, federal, academic organizations and businesses.  As an independent, impartial and confidential complaint handler, an ombudsman serves as an alternative means of dispute resolution.  The U.S. Ombudsman Association describes an ombudsman as "a public official appointed by the legislature to receive and investigate citizen complaints against administrative acts of government."
If you have contacted any of these offices, please email me with your comments. As I receive comments, I will be adding them to the appropriate state, for others to view.
Index to State Ombudsman Office
Click on your state or country to see a list of child ombuds specialists, general jurisdiction offices and other relevant information.
Alabama
Delaware
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Louisiana
Mississippi
Nevada
New Jersey
North Carolina
North Dakota
Pennsylvania
South Dakota
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin




In 1975, Alaska was the 4th state to establish a state ombudsman. Alaska now has state ombudsman offices in Anchorage and Juneau to help people across the state with questions and complaints about state government agencies and the University of Alaska. Juneau residents may call the Ombudsman for help with municipal issues as well. The Alaska Ombudsman is authorized under Title 24, Chapter 55 of the Alaska Statutes, 24.55.010 - 340.

How to Contact:
Anchorage
P.O. Box 102636
Anchorage, AK 99510-2636
(907) 269-5290
Fax: (907) 269-5291
Toll Free: 1-800-478-2624

Juneau
P.O. Box 113000
Juneau, AK 99811-3000
(907) 465-4970
Fax: (907)465-3330
Toll Free: 1-800-478-4970


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ARIZONA
The Arizona Ombudsman is authorized under Title 41, Chapter 8, Article 5 of the Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated, which establishes the office of the Ombudsman/Citizen's-Aide. They also recently established a Children's Ombudsman.

How to Contact

Arizona Ombudsman/Citizen's Aide Office
3737 N. Seventh Street, Ste. 209
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 277-7292
Fax: (602) 277-7312
Toll Free: 1-800-872-2879


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ARKANSAS
How to Contact:

Office of Youth Advocate (re: Children)
Division of Children and Families
Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 1437, Slot 700
Little Rock, AR 72203-1437
(501) 682-8765
Fax: (501) 682-8666

For other assistance with child related issues, one may contact:
Arkansas Partnerships in Public Child Welfare
Psychology and Sociology Department
Southern Arkansas University
Peace Hall
P.O. Box 9293
Magnolia, AR 74753-5000
(870) 235-4933


CALIFORNIA
The California ombudsman is established under the California Health & Safety Code &sect1596.872.

How to Contact:
  • Children's Service Bureau
    6950 Levant St.
    San Diego, CA 91977
    (619) 694-5130
    Fax: (619) 694-5241
  • County of Santa Clara
    Social Service Agency
    P.O. Box 1210
    San Jose, CA 95108-1210
    (408) 993-9442
  • Children & Family Services -- Alameda County
    401 Broadway
    Oakland, CA 94607
    [510] 268-2365 


Sen. Newell and Senate Give Final Approval to Major Child Protection Reform Bill
Monday, April 5 2010
Description: Description: http://coloradosenate.org/home/images/8t.jpg
Bill Will Close Gaps in Colorado’s Child Protection System
DENVER—Today the Senate gave final approval to Senator Linda Newell’s (D-Littleton) bill to reform Colorado’s child protection system. The bill now will go to the House.

The bill, SB 171, creates an independent ombudsman office to help protect children through impartial oversight.  This office will provide accountability of the child welfare system. Currently, 29 other states have created an Ombudsman office to oversee child protection.

The office will be an outlet for citizens to report suspected child abuse and potential gaps or problems in the child protection system.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously (34-0 with one excused).
Past Contact before the Proposed Ombudsman Office
How to Contact:

Complaint Resolution Process
Colorado Department of Social Services
1575 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203


CONNECTICUT
How to Contact:
State of Connecticut
Office of the Child Advocate
165 Capitol Ave., Room 223
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
(860) 566-2106
Toll Free: 1-800-994-0939
Fax: (860) 566-2251



Comments From Group Members:
·         In Connecticut, the Ombudsman's office is under the umbrella of CPS.  So they have the discretion to do what they want, look into what they want, and squash what they want.  One of the things I would like to see changed is for the Ombudsman to be 'independent', cause I have legitimate complaints, citing specific statutes and policies - but I was ignored due to liability of my case.  Now it is up to me to pursue it through a lawsuit and I believe that CPS is banking that I won't.  (WRONG!!)

FLORIDA
The Florida ombudsman is authorized under the Human Rights Advocacy Committee, Florida Statute Ch. 402.165 - 402.167.

How to Contact:

Statewide Human Rights Advocacy Comm. (HRAC)
State of Florida
Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services
1317 Winewood Blvd.
Bldg. 1, Room 400
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700
(904) 488-6173
Fax: (904) 922-5312


HAWAII
In 1967, Hawaii was the first state with a law establishing a state ombudsman office. The Hawaii Ombudsman is authorized under Chapter 96, Hawaii Revised Statutes. This is a statewide office of general jurisdiction.

How to Contact:

Hawaii Office of the Ombudsman
KeKuanoa Bldg., 4th Floor
465 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 587-0770
Fax: (808) 587-0773



ILLINOIS
The ombudsman statute is found at Illinois Annotated Statute Ch. 325 § 20/1 et seq. Illinois also has a number of locally created offices to assist individuals with their complaints.

How to Contact:
  • Ombudsperson's Office
    Dept. of Children & Family Services
    406 E. Monroe, Station 10
    Springfield, IL 62701

(617) 524-2029
Fax: (217) 524-3345
  • Cook County Public Guardian
    2245 W. Ogden
    Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 433-4336

Comments From Group Members:
  • The Ombudsman office gossiped about our case rather than help as they were supposed to do.  The funny thing is that their conversations were in the report they sent us.  Don't expect any help and be very careful what you tell them.



IOWA
In 1970, Iowa was the third state to establish a legislatively created statewide ombudsman program. The Iowa Ombudsman is known as a Citizens' Aide under Chapter 2C, Iowa Code Annotated.

How to Contact:

Iowa Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman
Capital Complex
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0231
(515) 281-3592
Toll-Free: 1-888-IA-OMBUD
Fax: (515) 242-6007



KANSAS
How to Contact:

Ombudsman Program
Social & Rehabilitation Services (re: children)
Perry Building
300 SW Oakley
Topeka, KS 66606
(913) 296-4687
Fax: (913) 296-6960



KENTUCKY
Kentucky has an ombudsman program established under the Cabinet for Human Resources and authorized under Kentucky Revised Statutes Annotated § 194.010 et seq.

How to Contact:
  • Offices of the Ombudsman
    Cabinet for Human Resources
    275 E. Main St., IE
    Frankfort, KY 40621

(502) 564-5497
Fax: (502) 564-7573
  • Citizens' Advocate Office
    200 E. Main Street
    Lexington, KY 40507-1315
    (606) 258-3230
    Fax: (606) 258-3250 

Comments From Group Members:
  • I'm in KY and they govern themselves as well. The Ombudsmans office here was helpful and seem to do a good job of governing or CPS wouldn't have backed down in my case. It might just depend on the state. But, I bet we could find someone they have to answer to.


MAINE
The ombudsman statute is Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Tit. 22 § 4087(1) et seq.


How to Contact:

Governor's Office for Children, Youth & Families
301 W. Preston St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 767-4160


MASSACHUSETTS
Massachusetts has a general office responsible for dealing with all areas of state government and community interaction.

How to Contact:
  • Governor's Office of Constituent Services
    State House, Room 159
    Boston, MA 02133

(617) 727-6250
Fax: (617) 727-9725
  • Department of Social Services
    24 Farnsworth Street
    Boston, MA 02210
    (617) 727-0900 x 517
    Fax: (617) 439-4482


MICHIGAN
Michigan currently has ombudsmen in the areas of children, small business, student affairs, corrections, mental health, long term care, and environment. The Michigan Children's Ombudsman is authorized under P.A. 204 of 1994.

How to Contact:

Children's Ombudsman
P.O. Box 30026
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-3077
Toll Free: 1-800-MICH-FAM
Fax: (517) 335-4471

Comments From Group Members:

They did an excellent job of investigation regarding my case. They
cited the contracted agency for CPS with violations. Although, they
did let me know that they could see no reason for my granddaughter to
be removed, that was really not a part of the investigation.

Once, their report is finished (about 6 months), they give the
agencies involved an opportunity to respond to what they are cited
for. This is done prior to the final report being sent to me. Then,
after a response is received from the agencies, a final report is
issued to me with the details of the agencies response to the
violations.

Basically, in my estimation the responses are "we will try to do
better next time". My question is - what about THIS TIME???? We all
know that next time, will be the same thing. No one is slapping them
with fines or license removal.

The Ombudsman office has no power to change anything. The report
does not even go to the judge. It goes no where except to agencies
involved. They only need to "try and do better next time"!

The only benefit I can see that can be gained by Ombudsman
investigation is that you can take the report to the legislators in
your attempts to get laws changed. But changed laws can always be
talked around and agencies will always be able to make something of
nothing!! Also, the report could be valuable in a lawsuit against
whatever agencies are involved. But, it will never help in a
courtroom in the actual case. The judges do not have to consider
the report for anything.




MINNESOTA
The Minnesota statute is § 257.0755 et seq.

How to Contact:
  • Ombudsman for Mental Health and Mental Retardation (re: children)
    Governor's Office
    Metro Square Building
    7th & Robert Streets, Ste. 202
    St. Paul, MN 55101
    (612) 296-3848
    Fax: (612) 296-1021
  • Ombudsman for Indian Families
    1450 Energy Park Drive, Ste. 106
    St. Paul, MN 55108-5227
    (612) 643-2523
    Fax: (612) 643-2539
  • Ombudsman for Asian-Pacific Families
    1450 Energy Park Drive, Ste. 106
    St. Paul, MN 55108-5227
  • Ombudsman for African-American Families
    1450 Energy Park Drive, Ste. 106
    St. Paul, MN 55108-5227


MISSOURI
How to Contact:

Human Relations & Citizen Complaints
415 E. 12th Street, Room 703
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 881-3670
Fax: (816) 881-3030


MONTANA
How to Contact:

Department of Family Services
P.O. Box 8005
Helena, MT 59604
(406) 444-5900
Fax: (406) 444-5956


NEBRASKA
In 1969, Nebraska was the second state to establish a state ombudsman office. The title in Nebraska is Public Counsel and is authorized under Sections 81-8,240 to 81-8,254, Revised Statutes of Nebraska.

How to Contact:
  • State Ombudsman's Office
    P.O. Box 94712
    Room 807 State Capitol
    Lincoln, NE 68509-4712
    (402) 471-2035
    Fax: (402) 471-4277


NEW HAMPSHIRE
Provided for in New Hampshire Law (RSA 126-A:4 III).

How to Contact:

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Ombudsman Office
6 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301
[603] 271-6941


NEW MEXICO
How to Contact:

Social Services Client Relations Liaison (re: children)
Children Youth & Families
P.O. Drawer 5160 P.E.R.A. Room 254
Santa Fe, NM 87502
(505) 827-8442
Fax: (505) 827-8480


NEW YORK
New York first established municipal ombudsman offices in Nassau County, Long Island (1967) and Jamestown, NY (1970).

How to Contact:

Public Advocate for the City of New York
1 Centre Street, Room 1500
New York, New York, 10007
(212) 669-7200
Fax: (212) 669-4701
Website: http://www.pub.advocate.nyc.gov


OHIO
Ohio has citizen complaint offices in various locations.

How to Contact:
  • Executive Director/Ombudsman
    Citizens of Cuyahoga County Ombudsman
    2800 Euclid Avenue, Suite 207
    Cleveland, OH 44113
    (216) 696-2710
    Fax: (216) 696-3317
  • Children's Ombudsman/Lucas County
    705 Adams Street
    Toledo, OH 43624
    (419) 327-3241
    Fax: (419) 327-3717


OKLAHOMA
On 1/13/98, Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City, proposed the creation of a children's ombudsman. The Oklahoma Office of Advocate Defender is authorized by Oklahoma Statutes Title 10 § 1403.3.

How to Contact:

Advocate General Office of Client Advocacy, Office of Advocate Defender
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 25352
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
(405) 521-3491
Fax: (405) 521-6684


OREGON
How to Contact:
  • Citizens' Representative Office, Office of the Governor
    1601 State Capitol
    Salem, OR 97310
    [503] 378-5116
  • Office of the Ombudsman, Mayor's Office
    City of Portland
    1220 SW 5th Avenue, Room 303
    Portland, OR 97204
    [503] 823-4120

Comments From Group Members:
  • Oregon ombudsman has not been entirely helpful to us. She instead contacted the case worker and then refused to help us based on whatever the CW said.


RHODE ISLAND
The Rhode Island ombudsman statute is found in Rhode Island General Laws § 42-73-1 et seq.

How to Contact:

State of Rhode Island
Office of Child Advocate
West Exchange Center
260 W. Exchange Street
Providence, RI 02930
(401) 222-6650


SOUTH CAROLINA
The South Carolina statute is South Carolina Code Annotated § 20-7-5210 et seq.

How to Contact:

Children's Case Resolution System
Governor's Office
Ombudsman Division
1205 Pendleton St., Room 308
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 734-0385
Fax: (803) 734-0385

South Carolina Families for Kids
A public/private partnership between the South Carolina Department of Social Services and the United Way of South Carolina, South Carolina Families for Kids offers a combination of commitment, experience and resources that have made the adoption and foster care system more responsive and responsible. South Carolina Families for Kids & South Carolina Children's Justice Task Force funds the Children's Law Project at the University of South Carolina which advocates on behalf of children.

How to Contact:

Children's Law Project
University of South Carolina
Carolina Plaza, 12th Floor
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-1646
Fax: (803) 777-8686


TENNESSEE
How to Contact:

Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth
Child and Family Services
Andrew Johnson Tower
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243-0800
(615) 532-1572
Fax: (615) 741-5956


TEXAS
How to Contact:

Mary Gordon Spence, Ombudsman
Texas Natural Resources Commission
P.O. Box 13087 Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711-3087
(512) 239-4000
Fax: (512) 239-4007

The Texas Department of Protective & Regulatory Services, through the Children's Justice Act Project (CJA), has supported the development of child advocacy centers and death review teams throughout the state.

How to Contact:

Texas Department of Protective & Regulatory Services
P.O. Box 149030
Austin, TX 78714-9030
(512) 450-4907
Fax: (512) 450-3525


UTAH
The Utah Division of Child and Family Services has a Child Ombudsman Office.

How to Contact:

Child Protection Ombudsman
Division of Child and Family Services
Child Ombudsman Office
120 N. 200 W., P.O. Box 45500
Salt Lake City, UT 84145-0500
(801) 538-4100
Fax: (801) 538-3993


WASHINGTON
How to Contact:

Office of Family & Children's Ombudsman
6720 Fort Dent Way, #240
Tukwila, WA 98186


WYOMING
How to Contact:

Wyoming Department of Family Services
2300 Capitol Avenue -- Hathaway Third Floor
Cheyenne, WY [307] 777-3679


MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES:
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law
1800 M Street, NW Ste. 200S
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-2670
Center on Children and the Law
740 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 662-1720
Fax: (202) 662-1755
United States Ombudsman Association
P.O. Box 30026
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-3077
Fax: (517) 335-4471
Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR)
1621 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Suite 400
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 265-1927
Fax: (202) 265-1968


How to Contact:

Office of the Antigua and Barbuda Ombudsman
Deaney Place and Dickenson Bay Street
PO Box 2049
St. John's, Antigua
[268] 462-9364


British Columbia
How to Contact:

British Columbia Office of the Ombudsman
931 Fort Street
Victoria, BC V8V 3K3
[250] 387-5855


How to Contact:

Province of Manitoba
750-500 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3X1
[204] 786-6483


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New Brunswick
How to Contact:

New Brunswick Office of the Ombudsman
767 Rue Brunswick Street
PO Box 6000
Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1
[506] 453-2789


How to Contact:

The Province of Nova Scotia Ombudsman Office
5675 Spring Garden Road, Suite 300
Halifax, NS B3J 3B7
[902] 424-6780


How to Contact:

Ontario Office of the Ombudsman
125 Queen's Park Road
Toronto, ON M5S 1C7
[416] 586-3485


How to Contact:

Protecteur du citoyen du Quebes
525, boul. Rene-levesque est.bureau 1.25
Quebec, PQ GIR 5Y4
[418] 644-6565


How to Contact:

Yukon Office of the Ombudsman
PO Box 2703
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2C6
[867] 667-8468


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Puerto Rico
 
How to Contact:

Ombudsman for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
PO Box 41088
Minillas Station
San Juan, PR 00940
[787] 724-7373


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