In January 1996, the Executive Director of the Department of Human Services created the Utah Office of Child Protection Ombudsman, independent from Child and Family Services, where the public could report concerns about cases under Child and Family Services' jurisdiction. In 1998, the Utah Legislature codified the role and authority of the Ombudsman's Office by enacting Section 62A-4a-209 of Utah Code, which states:
"...the ombudsman shall, upon receipt of a complain from any person, investigate whether an act or omission of the division with respect to a particular child: (i) is contrary to statute, rule, or policy; (ii) places a child's health or safety at risk; (iii) is made without an adequate statement of reason; or (iv) is based on irrelevant, immaterial, or erroneous grounds..."
The purpose of the Ombudsman's Office is to receive and investigate complaints, provide a voice to the consumer/complainant, promote a way whereby concerns or disputes are addressed at the lowest level possible, and ensure that Child and Family Services is providing adequate services to their clients. Currently, the Ombudsman's Office is the only independent office in State government where complainants can express their concerns about child welfare cases. For this reason the Ombudsman's Office is a unique resource to Utah's citizens.
The website for the Ombudsman is: http://ocpo.utah.gov/