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Ombudsman Investigates Public Guardian

In Front Page News, News by kate-omb

Concerned family members made a complaint about the guardianship of a man who died while a ward of the Public Guardian and the Office of Public Advocacy. The Ombudsman investigated whether the Public Guardian visited with the man, as required by state law, and whether they spent his limited resources in a way to provide him with safe and consistent housing. Based on the evidence, they had not. The Ombudsman also investigated how the Public Guardian managed his finances after his death.

Read the summary of the investigation, and the recommendations we made to the Office of Public Advocacy:

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Ombudsman Issues Statement on Complaints about SNAP Delays after Class Action Filed

In Front Page News, News by kate-omb

The Alaska State Ombudsman can no longer investigate complaints about the Department of Health Division of Public Assistance (DPA) that allege a delay in review, processing, or determination of Food Stamp (SNAP) cases, or complaints alleging that the Division’s Virtual Call Center (VCC) does not provide a realistic means of communicating with the Division. This is because state law and regulation clearly exclude matters subject to a judicial process from ombudsman review, and a class action lawsuit related to these issues has been filed.

Learn more about ombudsman authority and the exclusion of judicial actions from review here.

Kamkoff et al. v. Department of Health (3AN-23-04259 CI), filed January 20, 2023, in Anchorage Superior Court, is a class action lawsuit that alleges that the Division is not timely processing SNAP cases and is not offering meaningful communication through the VCC. So, beginning January 30, 2023, the Ombudsman will decline all complaints or requests for assistance related to SNAP delays or the Virtual Call Center. Intake staff will continue to provide referrals to agencies and resources that can assist the person with their complaint. We will continue to review complaints related to Medicaid, Senior Benefits, TANF/ATAP, and other public assistance benefits.

For information about the class action suit, contact the Northern Justice Project at (907) 308-3395.

People who have been waiting more than 30 days for a determination of their SNAP eligibility (whether a new application or recertification) can contact Alaska Legal Services Corporation for assistance at 1-888-478-2572 or apply online at

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Ombudsman Releases Report on Investigation of OCS

In Front Page News, Investigations, News by kate-omb

Alaska State Ombudsman, Kate Burkhart, released a report of an investigation of the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) today. The Ombudsman investigated allegations that OCS staff did not follow agency policies and procedures, disregarded relevant information in their decision-making process, and did not properly address the safety threats to the children.

Read the Press Release.

Read the Public Investigative Report.