Office of the Family and Children's Ombuds: 2016 Annual Report. Washington State Office of the Family and Children's Ombuds.
Washington State Office of the Family and Children's Ombuds.
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 Ombuds' (OFCO) activities from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016 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 778 complaints in 2016, the most OFCO has ever received in a single year, and completed 727 complaint investigations regarding 1,121 children and 681 families. As in past years, the separation and reunification of families and the safety of children living at home or in substitute care 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: the shortage of foster care placements and the use of hotels as emergency placements for children in State care; child fatalities related to opioid use; improving outcomes for children in group care; and engaging incarcerated parents of children in State care. Recommendations for meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning children are also discussed, as well as for complying with Executive Order 16:03 relating to realigning State programs serving children and families. Appendices include charts showing complaints received by region and office, child demographics, and adverse findings by office. 37 references.
Washington; ombudspersons; state programs; statistics; policy formation; child protective services; child welfare services; family reunification; child safety; separation; investigations; foster children; child fatalities; opioid addiction; group homes