Under current law, the office of the child protection ombudsman (ombudsman) has a duty to receive complaints made by or on behalf of a child relating to the child protection system. Once the ombudsman receives a complaint, the ombudsman may investigate and seek resolution of the complaint. The bill extends the scope of the ombudsman's duties to self-initiate impartial and independent investigations and ongoing reviews of the safety and well-being of unaccompanied immigrant children who live in a state-licensed residential child care facility (facility) and who are in the custody of the office of refugee resettlement of the federal department of health and human services. The ombudsman may seek resolution of such investigations and ongoing reviews by referring an investigation and ongoing review to the state department of human services (department) or the appropriate agency or entity and making a recommendation for action relating to the investigation and ongoing review of the facility. The ombudsman may request, review, and receive copies of information, records, or documents that the ombudsman deems necessary to conduct a thorough and independent investigation and ongoing review of the facility. The ombudsman shall report the results of the investigation and ongoing review in the ombudsman's annual report.
The bill requires the facility to notify the ombudsman and the department within 3 days after the arrival of an unaccompanied immigrant child.
The bill permits the department and the ombudsman to coordinate site visits to investigate and review a facility. The department and the ombudsman may share final reports based on their site visits.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)