Legislature OKs CPS watchdog transparency, efficiency reforms

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan legislators have passed bills that will reform the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman, the independent office tasked with oversight of Children’s Protective Services.

With a unanimous vote Tuesday, senators approved House Bills 5248 and 5249. The bills now head to the governor for a signature.

Once signed, findings from OCO investigations will become public and the office will have more discretion in how it utilizes resources to investigate complaints involving the state’s child welfare system.

“If the public can’t see the findings of these child death investigations and the public and the Legislature and the media don’t know what’s causing major child welfare problems in our state, we can’t change those policies,” Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall, who championed the reforms, told News 8 after the vote. “When something passes unanimously it seems easy, but this was not easy. What we had to do is we had to shine a light on this issue.”

The bills passed with immediate effect.

A request for comment from the governor’s office went unanswered as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.