Open navigation menu. Close navigation menu.

Washington Post: Advocates criticize Bowser’s proposed defunding of ombudsperson’s office

April 4, 2024

Ellie Silverman from the Washington Post reports on D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s budget proposal, which includes plans to defund an office that provides oversight for children involved with the city’s Child and Family Services Agency.

Policy Director Sharra E. Greer and Tami Weerasingha-Cote, senior supervising policy attorney shared thoughts on how this would harm DC children and families:

They emphasized the essential role they say the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children plays as a resource for children and families who need help navigating the complexities of the child welfare system. Without the office, “no one is looking at what the agency is doing … because it is very much behind the wall of privacy,” said Sharra Greer, the policy director at the Children’s Law Center.

“These are children who have been abused and neglected. They’re in the care of the city,” Greer said. “It’s really important that there be an independent look at how they’re being cared for and whether or not the legal requirements are being met.”

“There’s a huge power dynamic between the agency that has your child and the birth family,” said Tami Weerasingha-Cote, the senior supervising attorney with the policy team at the Children’s Law Center. “Having the ombuds there to help families navigate, answer questions, problem solve, to be that intermediary … is really, really important.”