Ombudsman for Children (complaints by children or adults on their behalf)

About the Ombudsman for Children (OCO)

The main areas of work of the OCO are:

  • Promoting and monitoring children’s rights and welfare;
  • Independent complaints handling;
  • Advising Government Ministers on law and policy relating to children;
  • Consulting children directly and highlighting issues of concern to them;
  • Encouraging public bodies to improve their practices and procedures in the interests of children.

This means that the OCO can:

  • Support people, including children and young people, to find out more about children’s and young people’s rights;
  • Find out what’s important to young people and let the Government and others know what matters to young people themselves;
  • Carry out research to get a better understanding about things that are really important in children’s and young people’s lives;
  • Give advice to the Government and others about doing what’s best for children and young people;
  • Receive and, where possible, look into complaints made by young people or by adults on young people’s behalf.

Who can complain to the OCO?

The Ombudsman for Children can receive, examine and investigate complaints made by children and young people up to 18 years or adults on their behalf.

What complaints can I take to the OCO?

The Ombudsman for Children can look into complaints against a range of organisations funded by the State (known as ‘public bodies’), such as schools, hospitals, the HSE (Health Service Executive), local authorities, or a public body that provides a service to children and young people up to the age of 18.

What complaints can I not take to the OCO?

  • Complaints about persons over the age of 18
  • Complaints against private organisations
  • Complaints against organisations specifically outside the remit of the Office, such as An Garda Síochána.
  • Where legal proceedings have been initiated on behalf of the child unless special circumstances make it proper to do so

Can I complain about public or private care, or both?

You can only complain to the Ombudsman for Children about public care.

How do I make a complaint to the OCO?

You can make a complaint:

  • by telephone
  • by letter
  • by email
  • in person

When should I make a complaint?

Before bringing a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children you should first bring it to the organisation you are complaining about. This will give them a chance to sort it out.

Is further explanatory information available?

Available Leaflets:

  • Information pack detailing the Ombudsman for Children’s work including its complaints process
  • How to make a complaint (aimed specifically at children and young people)
  • What we do when we receive a complaint (aimed specifically at children and young people)

Contact details

Office of the Ombudsman for Children
Millennium House,
52-56 Great Strand Street,
Dublin 1

Phone: 1800 202040 or 01 865 6800

Page last updated: 13 May 2011