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Becky Miller Updike chosen to serve in new child protection ombudsman position

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Colorado has chosen its first child protection ombudsman: Becky Miller Updike, whose résumé includes sixteen years of child advocacy, most recently at the Tennyson Center for Children in Denver. As ombudsman, she will review complaints about the state's child welfare system -- a job that was born of a long bureaucratic process and several sad stories.

As explained in the Westword feature "Death Knell," former Governor Bill Ritter formed a committee in 2008 to study Colorado's child welfare system after learning that thirteen children in the system had died the year before. They included seven-year-old Chandler Grafner, whose story of being starved to death by his caregivers made headlines.

The committee came up with dozens of recommendations, some of which were controversial. One called for the creation of a child protection ombudsman, an independent office to field complaints and make recommendations for how to improve the child welfare system -- in part to prevent further deaths.

Senator Linda Newell, a Littleton Democrat, sponsored a bill to create the ombudsman office and helped draft a detailed plan for how it would operate. Last week, the state Department of Human Services announced it had chosen the Aurora-based National Association of Counsel for Children to run the office and Miller Updike to be ombudsman.

"This office will be a beacon of light for abused and neglected children," Newell said.

The office hopes to begin investigations by the end of the summer. It also plans to embark on a listening tour to gather feedback "not just on particular cases, but on systemic issues that people might see," says Liz McDonough, DHS spokeswoman.

In the meantime, the ombudsman can be reached at (303) 864-5321 or safekidsco@gmail.com.

More from our Follow That Story archives: "North High: How many seniors graduated from school that used credit recovery courses?"


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3 comments
Josh
Josh

If the ombudsman investigates the children matters who is addressing the social workers and their wrongdoings? Who is investigating the social workers? What if there is a known problem with a social worker? They seem to be untouchable.....

Linda Rosa
Linda Rosa

In order for an ombudsman to be effective, that person must be appointed by the governor's office, not DHS. 

joseph claps
joseph claps

My comment to senator Newell and the ombudsman Becky Miller Updike  would be this . If you think you are going to make any kind of difference you had better take a serious look at the depth of corruption in the Department of Human Services at the county levels and the Judicial system. What I have seen over the last year is shocking. The corruption dosent just stop there either. I have evidence that will show so much more.Including other agencies and there employees that work directly with Social services to bring false information,false medical issues and more against you so it can be used in thier ultimate goal to terminate parental rights and sell your children to the adoption system. I am free to show you what evidence I have please for all the innocent children and families who are made victims.Start looking into all the D&N cases in Adams County.   

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