hero image and priority content

About the Office

  •  

    • The OCO is housed in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget as an independent agency.  Ryan Speidel is the Acting Director of the Office of Children's Ombudsman (OCO).
       
    • 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 OCO may be able to use your experience to highlight areas where the Ombudsman can make recommendations for change to improve the child welfare system.

     

More About the Office

COVID-19

  • Attention:

    The Office of Children’s Ombudsman is utilizing remote working locations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Please not that we will not be able to receive the public in our office until further notice.

    We apologize for any inconvenience.  We appreciate your understanding as we continue to work hard for the people of the Michigan.

    OCO's Safe Return to the Workplace Plan 

     More on COVID-19

Safe Sleep Awareness

  •                                           

    Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared October 2020 Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month calling attention to the importance of preventing sleep-related infant deaths. Most people think this would never happen to them, but the sad reality is that a baby dies nearly every other day in Michigan and these deaths are overwhelmingly preventable.

    To help spread the word, the Safe to Sleep® Campaign is encouraging organizations and individuals to participate in this year's #SafeSleepSnap photo activity. They are also hosting a Safe Infant Sleep Social Media Block Party

     

     

     

    To keep babies 0-12 months of age safe, while sleeping at night and during naps, follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines:

    • Place baby on back, in a crib, bassinet or pack n' play for every sleep time.
    • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
    • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free – no pillows, blankets or toys.
    • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleep sack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
    • Remind everyone who cares for baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping. 
    • Keep baby in a smoke-free environment.
    • Support breastfeeding and immunizations.
     More On Safe Sleep

WHAT DOES THE OCO DO?

WHAT DOES THE OCO DO?

  • What does the OCO Do?

    When a complaint is filed with the Office of Children's Ombudsman (OCO), the Ombudsman's staff can conduct an investigation into Children's Protective Services (CPS), Foster Care, Adoption Services and/or Juvenile Justice when children are involved with these programs. 

    All complaints go through a preliminary investigation process where the Ombudsman determines if a full investigation is warranted and if so, an independent investigation into the complaint is conducted. 

    The OCO also conducts investigations regarding child death cases when there was an active CPS investigation, open services case, a rejected CPS complaint, open foster care case or closed foster care case in the previous two years. The OCO also must investigate any death of a foster child, unless the death resulted from natural casues and there were no prior CPS or licensing complaints concerning the foster home. 

    After an investigation is completed, the Ombudsman may present any relevant recommendations to the Govenor, Legislature and the MDHHS Director if the Ombudsman believes that the results will improve Michigan's child welfare system. 

    The OCO is also here to provide information for families involved in Michigan's child welfare system. The OCO intake staff can provide insight on the system's processes and connect a caller with the appropriate resource. 
     

    What Should I Do Before Calling?

    Try to resolve the matter with MDHHS or the child-placing agency handling your case by starting with the caseworker. If that does not resolve matters, contact the worker's supervisor, program manager or agency director. If you haven't attempted this, the OCO will direct you to do so. Please understand that MDHHS is prohibited by law from talking about cases in some instances. Be prepared and have all relevant information ready. Keep notes of who you talked to and when. You may be asked to provide these upon filing a complaint with the OCO.
     

    The OCO has no legal authority to investigate complaints that exclusively involve:

    • Employee issues (rude behavior, poor communication)
    • Complaints against a court, Judges, attorneys and law enforcement agencies
    • Friend of the Court issues (custody, parenting time, child support)
    • Guardianships
    • School problems
    • Court orders
    • Adult Protective Services
    • Individuals making false CPS complaints