We must restore funding to the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children

Councilmember Nadeau delivered the following remarks at the April 25, 2024 Committee on Facilities & Family Services budget oversight hearing for the Child and Family Services Agency and the Office of Ombudsperson for Children.

Good morning, and thank you to our public and government witnesses for taking the time to testify today.

In the Mayor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget, a troubling trend emerges: a slew of cuts targeting social services programs. However, one cut stands out starkly—the complete elimination of funding for the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children. This isn’t merely a budgetary adjustment; it represents a deliberate policy choice made by the Executive.

As many of you know, I chaired the Human Services Committee and led the effort to create the Ombuds office and it was to ensure the rights of families and children are upheld. Before the agency was created, CFSA was plagued with issues and lacked severe oversight. For instance, I frequently received distressing reports of child fatalities within families under investigation for abuse or neglect, shedding light on CFSA’s deficiency in conducting impartial and thorough investigations. Additionally, CFSA often cloaked itself in the guise of “strict confidentiality” policies, which, in reality, impeded oversight and transparency. It got to a point where the agency was unable to take constructive criticism and would force families to court for resolution. It was clear to me that an independent agency was imperative.

Despite these glaring issues, the Mayor refuses to give the agency a chance. We cannot continue to balance a budget on the backs of our most vulnerable residents or by eliminating services that are fundamental to our community’s wellbeing.

Rest assured, I am committed to collaborating with Councilmember Lewis-George to rectify this situation and ensure that funding is restored to the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children. Together, we will champion the cause of our constituents and uphold the principles of justice and equity in our great District.


On Friday, immediately after the announcement, I sent a letter to Mayor Bowser asking that the city work with the owner of the property to collaborate on a plan to keep Rosemount open where it is.

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