Due to the fact that the Auditor General has locked all reports since I started publishing them for general accessibility, I have been reduced, for lack of resources, to posting a personally created, direct link to the final report. Here it is.
There are other reasons why the Ombudsman investigations into abuses of children under the auspices of the state are, in my words, perfunctory. It is because of:
(1) a lack of necessary resources and staff; and,
(2) a status quo culture.
A lack of necessary resources and staff:
The office has about 13 investigators to take on the entire State of Michigan child welfare system, far more than 39,000 children and youth. That equates to a responsibility of investigation of about 3,000 children per staff. The child welfare system includes cps, foster care, its child placing agencies, adoption services, juvenile justice, and mental/medical health, and education.
Typically, on any given day, there is only one person to man the phones for intake. Within a few minutes of the conversation with the concernedly distraught person, the "screener" can determine if there is a violation by, and I quote directly from a House Hearing a few years back when a representative from the office testified that she screened by, "thinking fast on my feet".
"Think fast on her feet" caused one kid to be murdered and a few others to be raped and tortured.
Out of about 1,000 calls a year, there are less than 10% that are investigated. Out of that number, many are designated into the category of "Valid, not open". This means that violations of law and policy were found but the office will not act upon it.
Acting upon a valid violation would mean that there is mandate for referral to the counties prosecutor or Attorney General for further investigation and prosecution but the office does not have the authoritative resources for this because the Ombudsman, Verlie Ruffin, takes the helm as the perfunctory prissy lil missy who has successfully made sure that the public and elected officials have no idea of who she is or what she does or what she has been doing throughout her tenure.
I am not one for scurrilous attacks, I just present the facts. Not one single referral has been made the counties prosecutors or Attorney General for violations of law or policy. See reference statute below:
Per the Children's Ombudsman Act 204 of 1994, MCL 722.927 §7(4) in relevant part:
If the ombudsman finds in the course of an investigation that an individual's action is in violation of state or federal criminal law, the ombudsman shall immediately report that fact to the county prosecutor or the attorney general. If the complaint is against a child placing agency the ombudsman shall refer the matter to the department for further action with respect to licensing.
The Office of Children's Ombudsman, under the failed leadership of Verlie Ruffin, has powers beyond getting hair and nails done once a week. The ombudsman has the blessing of Michigan's greatest Attorney General Frank Kelley, to investigate the Michigan Children's Institute (MCI). Not only has the ombudsman denied authority to investigate MCI, to date, it has never done so.
Attorney General Opinion of Authority for Office of Children's Ombudsman to Investigate Decisions of Michig... by Beverly Tran
It is my opinion, therefore in answer to your second question, that the Children's Ombudsman Act gives children's ombudsman the authority to investigate adoption decisions of the Michigan Children's Institute and to obtain adoption records of the Michigan Children's Institute.
Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley, 1996
The reason I mention MCI is not because the Auditor General has never, ever audited this secret operation which warehouses the guardianship for more than 7,000 children of the state under the legal authority of one, omnipotent Superintendent, Bill Johnson, it has never been investigated for the deaths, abuses and neglects of children who were subject to a class action settlement agreement. Not one time during the course of the entire lawsuit was MCI ever mentioned.
The status quo of OCO is to remain inconspicuous and do nothing to change operations. The more people know about the duties of the office, the more work must be done but in a culture of administrative stagnation in child welfare, the longer the administrative keystone cops can ride out a paycheck until they can safely retire, the greater the job security.
To prove my point that the Director, Verlie Ruffin has not done shit for the office, here is the direct link to the site. http://www.michigan.gov/oco
- The site has not been updated, revamped, edited since it was originally built.
- There are no social networks.
- There are no community networks.
- There is no history of the office.
- There is no referral policy for public or private agencies to give out its contact information.
- There is no appeal process when denied, in that quick on your feet telephone interview.
- There is no legislative action to ask for more funding and resources.
- There is no initiative to even privately subcontract.
- There is no complaint process against an investigation.
- There are no press releases on current statewide activities.
- There are no public speaking engagements.
- There are no guest appearances.
- There is no annual agenda of priorities.
- There is not even a logical explanation why only a selected few are granted a limited investigation.
- There is no reason why there are no referrals for criminal activities to the counties prosecutors or attorney general.
- There is not even a picture of Verlie Ruffin, the Ombudsman.
- Hell, the ombudsman is not even gender neutral considering the ombudsman is a woman.
- There are no community partnerships.
- There are no public awareness campaigns.
- There is no recordkeeping for suicides in foster care.
- There is no recordkeeping for sexual assaults in foster care.
- There is no recordkeeping for drug ovedoses in foster care (prescription or street)
- Five will get you ten there is no letter of appointment of the Governor, with advice and consent of the Senate, on file with the office of the Great Seal of the State Department.
I want to see a public database of the number of referrals, and other more detailed variables of investigative findings. It can be done on an excel spreadsheet by some interns without compromising confidential information. I even know where to find funding for these initiatives.
I want an audit of MCI and a separate division for investigations of complaints.
I know for a fact that DHS has refused to respond to investigative inquiries of the office since 2005. It is now 2013 and Ruffin has not done a damn thing to ensure her staff has full access to the databases and files of DHS. She knew about it and made sure to sweep the problem under the rug, just like she did over at Luthern Family Services.
All in all, the investigative staff of the OCO are wonderful people who engage in grueling work under pressure, in a politically constrained environment with limited resources. The ombudsman is lazy and refuses to participate in change. She lets people get away with murder and condones the filing of millions in false claims by these contracted child placing agencies. She covers up for her cronies like Steve Yager and Bill Johnson.
She needs to resign, yesterday. Bitch needs to go, now. I dare someone to challenge me on this.
Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©