Independent Review Board (IRB)

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Governance

The Independent Review Board, established by Executive Law section 523-I, is responsible for advising the OCFS Commissioner on matters relating to the Ombudsman’s Office and the resolution of youth complaints and grievances.

Purpose

The Independent Review Board is responsible for advising the OCFS Commissioner on matters relating to the Ombudsman’s Office and the resolution of youth complaints and grievances. It is an advisory board that may ask the Ombudsman’s Office or the Commissioner’s Office to conduct investigations; inquire about the legal rights of youth in OCFS facilities; examine and evaluate the effectiveness of the Ombudsman’s Office; and visit OCFS facilities, inspect records about the facilities and speak with youth and facility staff. All Ombudsman and IRB reports are confidential and may only be accessed by the OCFS Commissioner or designated agency officials.

Membership and Proceedings

TThe IRB consists of 15 members, who are not employed by OCFS and who are knowledgeable in the areas of juvenile justice and youth rights. Board members are appointed by the OCFS Commissioner to three-year terms, which may be renewed once. There must be at least one representative from each of the following groups unless otherwise specified: a former facility resident or parent of a resident; a psychologist or other clinician; an individual knowledgeable on juvenile legal rights matters; a family court judge; and an individual knowledgeable on the criminal justice system. The board meets six times per year.

Meetings

All IRB meetings are confidential.

Reports

All Ombudsman and IRB reports are confidential and may only be accessed by the OCFS Commissioner or designated agency officials.

Contact

Departmental Affiliation

Office of the Ombudsman, New York State Office of Children and Family Services

Contact Information

Address: 52 Washington St., Rensselaer NY 12144

Email: info@ocfs.ny.gov or email Office of the Ombudsman at myallies@ocfs.ny.gov

Phone: General information: 518-473-7793
Office of the Ombudsman Helpline: 1-888-219-9818