What does the word Ombudsman mean?


Merriam-Webster Online defines an Ombudsman as:

  • A government official appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials.
  • One that investigates reported complaints (as from students or consumers), reports findings, and helps to achieve equitable settlements.

What is the Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman?

The Maine Child Welfare Services Ombudsman is an impartial office that specializes in assisting people with resolving concerns and complaints with the State of Maine’s Child Protective Services Department of DHHS.

Who can the Child Welfare Services Ombudsman help?

Anyone who has a concern or complaint about the way Maine’s DHHS Child Protective Services Department is handling a child’s case. The Ombudsman office often learns of children in need of our service from relatives, service providers, or state legislators.

The Child Welfare Services Ombudsman wants to hear from you if you or someone you know:

  • Has a child in protective custody and feels that his or her rights are not being protected.
  • Feels that their rights as a parent are being violated by the child protective system.
  • Disagrees with the plan developed by the child’s DHHS caseworker.
  • Wants further information about the Ombudsman office.

What is the Child Welfare Services Ombudsman process?

When you call the Ombudsman office, you will be asked by our Administrative Assistant to give your name, address, and phone number. Within about two weeks, our Intake Coordinator will call you to gather further information and to answer any questions you may have. Depending on the situation, the Ombudsman office may complete a review of the Child Protective file and make recommendations to all parties on ways to resolve the conflict.

What else can the Child Welfare Services Ombudsman do to help me and my children?

The Ombudsman office can answer questions on a variety of topics that pertain to children, including general questions about Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services.

How do I contact the Child Welfare Service’s Ombudsman?

You can contact the Ombudsman office at 1-(866) 621-0758  or  (207) 213-4773, or email [email protected]

You have the right to express your complaints and voice your concerns. When you make a complaint, you may request that your name be kept in confidence. Services are free of charge.