Foster Youth Ombudsman


What is a Foster Youth Ombudsman

The Foster Youth Ombudsman reports directly to the Secretary of the Department of Human Resources. This position was created to provide youth in Maryland's foster care system a neutral advocate who can represent their interests, protect their rights, and promote their safety, permanency and well-being. The Foster Youth Ombudsman establishes a process for youth in foster care and any individual acting on their behalf to file a complaint. The Foster Youth Ombudsman is charged with ensuring youth in foster care are aware of their rights and the laws, regulations, and policies that affect their care. By identifying practice trends that violate best practice, the Foster Youth Ombudsman will make policy recommendations that will create systemic change needed to ensure Maryland's foster care system is a child welfare center of excellence.

Vision of the Foster Youth Ombudsman

The Foster Youth Ombudsman envisions a Maryland where youth in foster care have a voice, they are safe from abuse and neglect, have a loving permanent home, and are happy, healthy, and successful.

Mission of the Foster Youth Ombudsman

The Foster Youth Ombudsman will advocate on behalf of youth in foster care in a fair, objective, and impartial manner to ensure that their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed. In addition, the Foster Youth Ombudsman will work with diligence and integrity to protect the rights of youth in foster care while also promoting their safety, permanency, and well being.

Role of the Foster Youth Ombudsman

The role of the Maryland Foster Youth Ombudsman is to:

  1. Establish a procedure for youth in foster care, or any individual acting on behalf of a youth in foster care, to file a complaint.
  2. Receive, investigate, and resolve complaints from youth in foster care or any individual filing a complaint on behalf of a youth in foster care.
  3. Provide information to youth in foster care and interested parties on the rights of youth in foster care and the policies, regulations, and legislation that affect them.
  4. Provide service information to youth in foster care and make service referrals, when appropriate.
  5. Identify problematic practice trends in Maryland's foster care system.
  6. Recommend policy changes that will improve child welfare practice in Maryland.