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About the Office

  • The OCA is housed in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget as an independent agency.  
     
  • Empowerment through knowledge: If you have general questions about the child welfare system in Michigan, we may be able to assist you in providing insight.
     
  • If you believe that your experience with Michigan's child welfare system (child protective services, foster care, adoption and/or juvenile justice) can highlight a system wide issue or deficiency or can be used as a case sample to improve the child welfare system as a whole, please contact our office or file an online complaint.
     
  • The OCA may be able to use your experience to highlight areas where the Child Advocate can make recommendations for change to improve the child welfare system.

The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) was originally established as the Office of Children's Ombudsman by the Michigan Legislature in 1994 to bring greater accountability to Michigan's child welfare system. Public Act 303 of 2023 instituted a name change to the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA). The Child Advocate Act establishes the OCA as an independent state agency housed within the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget. The OCA has primary responsibility to receive and investigate complaints concerning the administrative actions of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and contracted entities providing Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Adoption, and state, county, court, or privately owned/operated residential facilities providing Juvenile Justice services. The OCA is also responsible for reviewing the administrative actions of MDHHS and residential facilities for children when a child has died. In addition to addressing citizen complaints, the OCA makes recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature, certain residential facilities, and MDHHS for changes in child welfare laws, rules, and policies to improve outcomes for Michigan's children. Michigan's Child Advocate is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Michigan Legislature, and is supported by a multi-disciplinary team of investigators and analysts.