An ombuds is an official who collects and investigates complaints made against a government agency or administration. The ombuds also reports concerns and possible program improvements to the government.
The Washington State Legislature created the Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds (DD Ombuds) because there are still high rates of abuse and neglect against people with developmental disabilities. All people have the right to be free from abuse and neglect. The DD Ombuds program is a way to have eyes and ears on the ground to collect complaints, as well as find and fight abuse against people with developmental disabilities.
No. The Office of the DD Ombuds is not a part of the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) or the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The Office of the DD Ombuds is funded by State Legislation through the Department of Commerce and is a program of Disability Rights Washington.
The DD Ombuds collects and investigates complaints brought by those who use developmental disabilities services. The DD Ombuds resolves complaints at the lowest possible level. The DD Ombuds protects choice, autonomy and makes sure people with disabilities have access to advocacy. The DD Ombuds promotes the well-being of people who receive state services, and all DD Ombuds services are resident-directed and person-centered.
The DD Ombuds also monitors service procedures, reviews service facilities, provides information on rights, writes reports, and recommends changes to Washington State Government.
The DD Ombuds team is comprised of staff with extensive experience in serving the needs of people with developmental disabilities, including several people who experience developmental disabilities. They have offices in Spokane, Seattle and Olympia that cover all three regions in Washington State.
Yes. DD Ombuds protect the identity of the person making the complaint and keep all identifying information, including name, telephone number, and likeness strictly confidential.