Children's Law Center represents the best interests of hundreds of children in foster care, as well as representing foster parents and relative caregivers of children who are in or at risk of entering DC's child welfare system. While we commend DC's Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) for significant recent progress, we also recognize that CFSA cannot meet the needs of DC's foster kids alone. To that end, we have advocated the DC Council to establish the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children. We strongly believe an Ombudsperson for Children is critical to helping meet these needs, and we are gratified that the Council has been dedicated in making the Office a reality throughout this budget season, as noted by op-ed author Jonetta Rose Barras in The DC Line:
The mayor submitted her $17.5 billion budget on May 28, a proposal I described as smart public policy and shrewd politics. Each council committee subsequently held public hearings on the portion of the budget that affects agencies under their oversight.
After reviewing committee recommendations, it appears many embraced significant portions of Bowser’s proposal...Still, council members charted their own spending course, making some significant adjustments in allocations to agencies.
Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau’s Committee on Human Services voted to spend $935,000 to fully fund the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children. The mayor had vetoed its establishment; the council overrode the veto but delayed funding. Fortunately, legislators responded to strong appeals from advocates like Judith Sandalow, executive director of the Children’s Law Center.
Photo credit: Chris Kain/The DC Line