March 17, 2022 | Press Release

CM Nadeau Responds to Bowser Elimination of the Ombudsperson for Children 

"Yesterday, Mayor Bowser disregarded the law when she unilaterally eliminated a District agency by completely defunding the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children in her Fiscal Year 2023 budget and for the rest of Fiscal Year 2022. This reckless decision to relitigate a battle the Mayor lost when the Council unanimously passed the law creating the Ombudsperson puts children at risk and takes all the guardrails off a child welfare system emerging from three decades of necessary federal court oversight.  I will work with my colleagues to defeat this vindictive abdication of the Executive’s responsibility to protect the District’s children and restore 100 percent of the Ombudsperson’s funding. 

Last year, the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children Establishment Amendment Act passed the Council unanimously.  The law created an agency tasked with improving child welfare in the District by facilitating coordination between agencies, investigating systemic concerns related to CFSA children, and supporting system-involved families presenting complaints. The Mayor disagreed with the creation of an office performing these necessary, uncontroversial functions, and so she vetoed the bill.  The Council overcame her veto by a 12-1 vote.  Then, the Council fully funded the Office at $935,000 a year on a recurring basis. 

The Council is now in the process of working with a nationally renowned executive search firm to identify the first Ombudsperson for Children.  The Mayor’s budget not only completely defunds the Agency now and in the future, but also seeks to prevent the Council from attracting top talent to protect our children and families.  

The Council won’t be deterred. I will continue to work my colleagues to make the District the best place in the country for all of our kids to grow up, we will re-fund this office, and we will attract the best possible candidate to lead it."

Contact: Jaqueline Castaneda, jcastaneda@dccouncil.us, (202) 262-8998