Melissa Goemann


If your home was overrun with spirits in the movie Ghostbusters, it was easy to know who to call-Ghostbusters! But for a child or parent to navigate through the maze of Virginia bureaucracies to figure out whom to call when questions or concerns arise about a child in state care can be difficult, if not impossible. A desire to simplify that process formed the impetus for recent Virginia legislation to establish a children's ombudsman office. Indeed, the ombudsman legislation would elevate the ombudsman beyond the role of simply "ghostbusting," or handling each complaint in a vacuum. It would also require the ombudsman to analyze these complaints along with other data, and to make recommendations to the agencies for systemic improvements. Finally, the ombudsman would shed light on the workings of the child-serving agencies by submitting annual reports to the General Assembly detailing the complaints handled each year and making recommendations for improvements.