Ryan Speidel:

The Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) Acting Director, Ryan Speidel, has nearly two decades of public service in law enforcement, the regulatory field, and leadership.  He has served for the City of Jackson, the Michigan Department of State, the Office of Inspector General, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and the Office of Children’s Ombudsman.

Ryan earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in criminology and criminal justice from Eastern Michigan University.  Ryan is also a graduate of the 72nd Mid-Michigan Police Academy.  Ryan served with the City of Jackson Police Department for approximately eight and a half years as a Police Officer, Narcotics Detective and Patrol Sergeant.  He has experience as a Regulation Agent with the Michigan Department of State and as an Assistant Inspector General with the Office of Inspector General (OIG).  After his time with the OIG Ryan was the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) Chief Investigator and Compliance Section Manager. At MCOLES Ryan was the sole individual responsible for the Commission’s investigations, administrated the Michigan Public Safety Officer Benefit, Private University Security Force license, the Private Security Police license, and managed MCOLES’ statutory over-sight of Michigan’s twenty police academies.

Because of his professional experiences prior to the OCO Ryan has had direct involvement and over-site of countless criminal, civil and administrative law investigations. In 2019 Ryan was promoted to Deputy Director at the OCO.  As the OCO's Deputy Director Ryan rewrote the OCO’s policy and procedure manual, managed the OCO’s development of a new complaint management system and aided the Ombudsman with a restructuring of the OCO.  Ryan continues to improve our relationships with the public and outside agencies using a guiding principle of improving Michigan’s child welfare system.

 

Christopher Kilmer:

Chris Kilmer as over 20 years of experience in the human service field.  Chris spent nearly seven years serving as a police officer for the City of Jackson before moving into the non-profit field.  Chris worked for the Community Action Agency (CAA) of Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale Counties as both a Grant Manager and Program Director.  After his time with CAA, Chris was the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Jackson County before transitioning to the State of Michigan.  With the State, Chris has been a CPS worker, Foster Care Education Planer, CPS Trainer and Training Manager.  Chris is now an Investigator with the Office of Children’s Ombudsman and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Ferris State University and Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Spring Arbor University.

Chris currently serves as the OCO’s Acting Deputy Director.

 

Tobin Miller:

Since 1997, Mr. Miller has served in various capacities in Michigan’s child welfare system. As an employee of the State Court Administrative Office, Mr. Miller provided publications and training to Michigan court employees and jurists in the areas of child protection, juvenile justice, and crime victim rights.  Mr. Miller has also worked in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Services Administration and Office of Legal Services. He has been employed by the Office of Children’s Ombudsman for nine years, where he is currently Chief Investigator. A member of the State Bar of Michigan since 1996, Mr. Miller served as chairperson of the Children’s Law Section from 2015 to 2017. Mr. Miller is the proud father of two sons.

Tobin currently serves as the OCO’s Chief Investigator.

 

Rebecca Taylor:

Becky Taylor came to the Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) in 2019 as the Senior Executive Management Assistant (SEMA) to prior Ombudsman, Lisa McCormick. Prior to joining the OCO, Becky worked at the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office as the administrative assistant for the Chief Assistant Prosecutor for ten years. Becky has other experience working as a judicial assistant in the circuit court, deputy clerk and court recorder in the district court, as well as assisting in the management of a law office. 

Since coming to the OCO, Becky has assisted in creating changes to the OCO communication procedures. In addition to her duties as a SEMA, Becky has worked out of class as an intake analyst conducting preliminary investigations and has taken on the responsibility of assisting the intake staff with the handling of new complaints.

Becky currently serves as the Director’s Executive Assistant.

 

Michelle Brandel:

Michelle Brandel came to the Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) in 2017 as the Intake and Communications Coordinator. Michelle graduated with a bachelor’s in social work from the University of Michigan-Flint. Prior to coming to the OCO, Michelle worked as a Children’s Protective Services worker in Shiawassee County as well as Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. Michelle assisted in the training of new employees within these county offices. Michelle was also previously a Licensing Worker and Case Aide.

Michelle’s primary role at the OCO is handling new complaints, conducting preliminary investigations on child deaths and complaints from the public as well as providing information to the public on the child welfare system policies and procedures. Since coming to the OCO, Michelle has helped create and implement new intake policies and procedures to help the OCO work more efficiently. Michelle is involved in the development of the OCO’s new case management system, yearly production of the OCO annual report and the ongoing updates to the OCO website. Because of Michelle’s hard work, dedication and expertise, Michelle is the recognized resource for intake and communications at the OCO.

Michelle currently serves as the OCO’s lead Intake and Communications Coordinator.

 

Pamela Bryant:

Pam began her career in public service in 1995 with the Tuscola County DHHS as a Children’s Protective Services Investigator.  From there she went to Saginaw County and Genesee County DHHS as a Children’s Protective Services Investigator and Ongoing Monitor.  As an Ongoing Monitor she was responsible for referring families to services to address barriers and monitoring progress of families in order to prevent removal from their home.  Pam has experience as a Juvenile Justice Specialist, Foster Care Specialist, Licensing Specialist, and Foster Care Manager.  She served on the Faith Based Committee to promote licensing for foster homes and recruitment by collaborating with faith-based organizations within the community and also served on the Safe Sleep Advisory Committee in Genesee County to promote safe sleep practices and reduce infant mortality.

Pam has also represented the OCO on the State of Michigan’s Safe Sleep Advisory Committee and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Pam currently serves as the OCO’s Intake Analyst. 

 

Brooke Brantley-Gilbert:

Brooke is a former DHHS employee with 7 years of experience as a Children's Protective Services (CPS) worker in Wayne County and 10 years of experience as a direct care worker in mental health services.   She has worked for the OCO for 19 years.  Brooke is also a licensed therapist.

Brooke currently serves as an OCO Investigator.

 

Paula Cunningham:

Paula is an investigator for the Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) and has been working in Child Welfare programs since 1993. Paula graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Prior to her work as an Investigator with the OCO she supervised children's protective services and foster care after having been an adoption specialist, foster care case manager and Child Protective Services investigator. Her strong accomplishments as a supervisor were in leading staff toward completion of management objectives by providing direction in the development of initiatives that focused on timely permanency for children and ensuring their safety.

Paula has served on various task forces such as the Mayors task force in Detroit, Liaison to the Bureau of Substance Abuse, Foster care Review Board member, and presenter for the State Court Administrative Office Child Welfare Issues Conference.

Paula’s current experience includes conducting complex and sensitive investigations into the actions of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and private child placing agencies concerning children involved in children's protective services, foster care, adoptions and juvenile justice and upon completion of the investigation make recommendations to DHHS, the legislature, and the Governor regarding changes in law and policy to improve the child welfare system and to advocate for children.

Paula is a resident of Dearborn and works predominantly in her Detroit office at Cadillac Place, while occasionally attending meetings with her colleagues in the Lansing office.

Paula currently serves as an OCO Investigator.

 

Tiffany Jackson:

Tiffany has more than 25 years of experience in Child Welfare with 17 ½ years concentrated in Children and Family Services.  Tiffany worked as an Independent Living Specialist in Adult Services, Children’s Protective Services Specialist, Children’s Placement Specialist, Certification/Recruitment and Training Specialist (for DHS and a private agency) and a Children’s Foster Care Specialist.  Her career with the Office of Children’s Ombudsman started in October 2010.

As an Independent Living Specialist Tiffany was responsible for completing case intakes, completing assessments for individuals to determine eligibility for Home Help Services & use of the Adult Services Comprehensive Assessment Program (ASCAP) to write reports and determine financial eligibility for providers.  As a Children’s Protective Services Worker her responsibilities included investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect of court wards in licensed and unlicensed placements and institutional settings as well as in parental homes.  As a Children’s Placement Specialist Tiffany was responsible for obtaining the least restrictive placement for children who were being removed from their homes or being replaced from their current placement.  As a Certification/Recruitment & Foster Home Training Specialist Tiffany was responsible for training current and prospective Foster/Adoptive/Relative Providers in the agency and State of Michigan Licensing guidelines ensuring Foster Home contract compliance and investigating complaints of non-compliance with agency and State guidelines.  As a Foster Care Worker she was responsible for providing reunification services to families for reunification, permanency planning and adoption.

Tiffany currently serves as an OCO Investigator.

 

Toni Dennis:

Toni has expertise in program management and has led multiple technical and research projects to protect vulnerable populations at Michigan State University and the State of Michigan. She has managed multi-agency collaborative programs including operations, contact management, program development, strategic development and legislative initiatives and developed audits using system-generated data to detect non-compliance and fraud. Toni has consulted with states to design and implement online background check systems through Yale University and has served as a subject matter expert for the FBI Compact Council and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services. Toni has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. She has been an investigator at the Office of Children’s Ombudsman since April 2014.

Toni currently serves as an OCO Investigator.

 

Scott Clements:

Scott joined the OCO as an investigator in 2015. He is a licensed social worker who has nearly 20 years of experience in child welfare. Prior to joining the OCO, Mr. Clements spent almost ten years at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, where he worked to help locate families for children who’d been in foster care for extensive periods of time and conducted field investigations into allegations of child abuse and neglect. Before this, he provided therapeutic services to children who had been sexually abused and their families. Scott has also worked for a private agency foster care program providing counseling services to families whose children had just been returned home from foster care and casework services to children in foster care, their families, relative caregivers and foster parents.

Scott is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he was the recipient of a child welfare fellowship and earned a master’s degree in social work. He also has a bachelor’s degree in law and society from Michigan State University and has been qualified as an expert witness in child welfare.

Scott currently serves as an OCO Investigator.