Our Strategies: Vision into Action
Investigation - The Ombudspersons make recommendations on cases regarding non-compliance with state or federal laws and policies. These cases include, but are not limited to possible bias, discrimination, lack of culturally appropriate services, and inadequate linguistic and cultural sensitivity.
Taking Complaints - Complaints include a person making a specific claim against a county child welfare agency, or its agent; a public or private child placing agency, or its agent; the courts; the Guardian Ad Litem Program; and others. A person may call to complain about current laws, policies, and practices. Specific examples of types of complaints include but are not limited to the following: Children not placed with their families or relatives; relatives and families not being considered for permanency placement; transportation limitations; untimely or unavailable treatment; inadequate housing; confusion from the court process/system; unhelpful public entities (e.g., county child protection, public defender office); and lack of cultural sensitivity.
Monitoring – (a) Monitor agency compliance with all laws governing child protection and placement that impact children of color; (b) document and monitor court activities in order to heighten awareness of diverse belief systems and family relationships; (c) ensure experts from the appropriate community of color are used as court advocates and are consulted in placement decisions that involve children of color; (d) ensure Guardians ad Litem and other individuals from communities of color are used in court proceedings to advocate on behalf of children of color; and (e) provide training programs for bilingual workers.
Public Policy Development - The Ombudspersons work to effect policy changes when current policies do not reflect best practices. Examples of some of the initiatives on which the Ombudspersons have worked include the Minnesota Supreme Court Children’s Justice Initiative (CJI); Minnesota Department of Human Services Children’s Justice Act (CJA) Task Force; Minnesota Child Welfare Training System (MNCWTS); Ramsey County Citizen Advisory Panel; and Hennepin County Child Protection Task Force. These initiatives and task forces have had an ongoing and positive impact on reducing racial disparities and disproportionality in child welfare; and improving outcomes for children and their families involved in child protection cases.