Virginia’s 1st Children’s Ombudsman to Protect Kids

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced this week the appointment of Eric J. Reynolds as Virginia’s first director of the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman.

The office was established by the General Assembly and approved by Northam during the 2020 legislative session to serve as a mechanism for reporting concerns about the treatment of children within Virginia’s foster care system.

“The role of the Children’s Ombudsman is to ensure every child in Virginia has a safe and permanent home,” Northam said. “Eric Reynolds is a compassionate leader with extensive experience working in our foster care system and with agencies that serve children—he is the right person for this important position.”

The office is an independent agency that is authorized to receive complaints and investigate and review actions of the Virginia Department of Social Services, local departments of social services, child-placing agencies, or child-caring institutions.

Prior to the creation of this office, the only way for families to file a complaint with a local department of social services was with the agency itself or with the Department of Social Services. It will also monitor and ensure compliance with relevant statutes, rules, and policies pertaining to child protective services and the placement, supervision, treatment, and delivery of care to children in foster care and adoptive homes.

The Children’s Ombudsman has the ability to advocate for legislation…

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