Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman 14th Annual Report 2016.
Alberi, Christine E.
Maine Office of Child Welfare Services Ombudsman.
State Resource Technical Report
Maine Office of Child Welfare Services Ombudsman
P.O. Box 2057
Hope, ME 04847
Tel: 866-621-0758 207-213-477
The Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman office investigates general complaints to ensure that the state's response to children's needs is equitable and efficient. The 2016 Ombudsman's report begins by reviewing factors that are reviewed in determining whether or not to open a case for review, and reporting data for the period of October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. It reports In Fiscal Year 2016, 512 inquiries were made to the Ombudsman Program, a decrease of 17 inquiries from the previous fiscal year. As a result of these inquiries, 114 cases were opened for review (22%), 307 cases were given information or referred for services elsewhere (60%), and 91 cases were unassigned (18%). An unassigned case is the result of an individual who initiated contact with the Ombudsman Program, but who then did not complete the intake process. The highest number of contacts were from parents, followed by grandparents, then other relatives/friends and 28% of the contacts learned about the program through the Ombudsman website or prior contact with the office. Of the open cases, 55% of the 114 involved male children, 80% of the children were age 8 and younger, the highest number of opened cases were in the Augusta Showhegan district (25%), and the highest number of complaints were regarding foster care reunification, placement, and visitation, and Child Protective Services investigation, policies, and safety plans. During the reporting period, the Ombudsman Program closed 109 cases that had been opened for review that included 204 complaints. Of the complaints, 7 were found to be valid and were resolved, 39 were found to be valid and were not resolved, and 158 were found not to be valid. Policy and practice recommendations are made, and responses from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services are reported.
Maine; child welfare services; statistics; child welfare reform; ombudspersons; program evaluations; child protective services; investigations; foster children; family reunification