Collage Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman Logo Message from the Director Ombudsman

Link to Guidelines for Filing a Complaint

Other Places to Go for Help

What's New

Press Releases

Ombudsman Reports

Regional Advisory Committee Members

OFCO Staff Bio's

Job Announcements

Register to Vote


The Mission of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman is to protect children and parents from harmful agency action or inaction, and to make agency officials and state policy makers aware of system-wide issues in the child protection and child welfare system so they can improve services.

What We Do

The Family and Children’s Ombudsman investigates complaints about agency actions or inaction that involve:

  • Any child at risk of abuse, neglect, or other harm.
  • A child or parent involved with child protection or child welfare services.

    We intervene in cases in which we have determined that an agency’s action or inaction is unauthorized or unreasonable. In addition to addressing complaints, we work to identify system-wide issues and recommend appropriate changes in public reports to the Governor, the Legislature and agency officials.

    Key Features

    Important features of the Family and Children's Ombudsman include:

      We are part of the Governor's Office. We operate independently from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and other state agencies.

      We act as a neutral fact-finder, not as an advocate. We step in when an agency action or inaction is unauthorized or unreasonable.

      We do not disclose the identity of persons who have filed a complaint with us without their permission. Our records are confidential by law and cannot be obtained through public disclosure, civil discovery or court order.

      Access to Confidential Information
      We have unrestricted access to information and records held by DSHS and are authorized by law to receive confidential information from other agencies and service providers.


    The Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman was established in 1996 by the Washington State Legislature. The Legislature wanted to ensure that abused and neglected children and their parents are served reasonably and fairly by government agencies. The Legislature created the Ombudsman to intervene when children or their parents are subjected to unauthorized or unreasonable agency decisions. The Legislature also empowered the Ombudsman to recommend changes for improving the child protection and child welfare system.

    Contacting the Ombudsman

    6720 Fort Dent Way, Suite 240
    Mail Stop TT-99
    Tukwila, WA 98188
    (206) 439-3870 • 1-800-571-7321 • (206) 439-3789/TTY • (206) 439-3877/FAX