The New Road | Proposal 8: DHHS Ombudsmen Oversight
Explore critical details about the reasoning behind each proposal and the intended effect to increase transparency and effectiveness of NH's Child Protection System.
Read the long term Cost Analysis statement associated with leaving NH's Child Protection System "as is."
8. DHHS Ombudsmen Oversight
The word Ombudsman comes from a Swedish word that means 'steward' or 'representative.' From Ombudsman.org, "The Ombudsman's objective is to contribute towards a development of a public service culture characterized by fairness, dedication, commitment, openness, accountability, and the promotion of the right to good public administration."
The DHHS Ombudsman is supposed to investigate complaints from families who feel DCYF has mishandled their child's case. These investigations should be thorough, accurate, and unbiased towards both the family or DCYF. However, that is not what happens when a family complains. The current Ombudsman is an attorney with no knowledge of child protection who has been sanctioned by the NH Bar Association. After reviewing reports issued by the Ombudsman's Office, when they are issued at all, the reports are riddled with subjective statements, inaccuracies, and clear bias towards protecting DCYF. Emails from families often go unanswered and items that are supposed to be followed up on are not.
The Ombudsman is unfamiliar with the best practices of child protection, has made outrageous and inappropriate comments to families, is unconcerned with DCYF policy violations, and has stated that they do not know why DCYF has policies. This is an unacceptable level of conduct and competence for any state employee, let alone one who has such an important role. The Ombudsman has never been held accountable, and it is time that changes. NH deserves better.