Welcome to the Office of Children's Ombudsman
What Does the OCO Do?
- Independently investigate complaints about children involved with protective services, foster care, adoption services, and juvenile justice.
- Determine if an action or decision was made according to the laws, rules and policies governing the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and private child placing-agencies.
- Take all necessary action, including legal action, to protect the rights and welfare of a child.
- Investigate cases involving children who have died as a result of child abuse or neglect when there has been previous agency involvement.
- Make recommendations to the Governor, Legislature and the DHHS Director to improve the child welfare system.
- Educate the public about child welfare laws and policies.
What Should I Do Before Calling?
First, try to resolve your problem by contacting DHHS or the child-placing agency handling the case. Many times an agency official can explain a specific policy or correct a problem. When you contact the agency remember to:
- Have all the relevant information. It helps to write down the problem and your questions ahead of time.
- Talk to the right people. If you cannot resolve the problem with the caseworker, ask to speak to the worker’s supervisor. If you are still not satisfied, contact the program manager and agency director. Be sure to clearly state what you want the agency to do.
- Keep careful notes and records of who you spoke to, the dates, times and phone numbers and what you were told.
- Carefully read all information that is sent to you since there are often rules and deadlines that must be followed.
The OCO Does Not Investigate:
The OCO has no legal authority to investigate complaints that exclusively involve:
- Friend of the Court issues (custody, parenting time, child support)
- School problems
- Law enforcement
- Court orders
- Training about child sexual abuse
- May 2015 - Anne E. Casey Foundation's New Guide
The Annie E. Casey foundation has an interesting article from April that discusses their new tool for child welfare leaders. "New Guide for Child Welfare Leaders Provides Improvement Roadmap for Kids and Families" It talks about strategies you can use to help improve your agency.
- Are you a grandparent in Michigan?
Under the new statutes, Michigan law may allow you visitation rights with your grandchild.