Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman: 2017 Annual Report. Washington State Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman.
Washington State Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman.
State Resource Technical Report
Washington State Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman
6720 Fort Dent Way, Suite 240 Mail Stop TT-99
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel: 800-571-7321 206-439-3870
This report provides an account of the Washington State Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman's (OFCO) activities from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017 and provides recommendations for systemic improvements. The first part of the report reviews the role of the ombudsman to provide families and citizens across the Washington State with an independent and impartial review of the decisions made by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and other State agencies. The following part discusses the inquiries and complaints received during the targeted time period, and reports the ombudsman received 917 complaints, the most OFCO has ever received in a single year, and completed 956 complaint investigations regarding 1,393 children and 873 families. As in 2016, the separation and reunification of families and agency conduct and services were by far the most frequently identified issues in complaints. The next part of the report discusses systemic issues in the child welfare system that need to be addressed, including: strategies to better support foster parents; the use of hotels as emergency placements for children in State care and the need for a continuum of placement resources; and the Department’s involvement in family law disputes; and helping families when a child cannot return or safely remain in the home. The final part discusses the establishment of the Department of Children, Youth and Families, outlines DCYF’s goals and outcome measures, and describes OFCO’s expanded role in eh oversight of DCYF. Appendices include charts showing complaints received by region and office, child demographics, and adverse findings by office. 78 references.
washington; ombudspersons; state programs; statistics; policy formation; child protective services; child welfare services; family reunification; child safety; separation; foster parents; family support systems