Overview

What is the Independent Ombudsman?

The Independent Ombudsman is a state agency established for the purpose of investigating, evaluating, and securing the rights of the children committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). 

Responsibilities include:

  • Review complaints, other than those alleging criminal behavior, filed with the IO and investigate each complaint in which it appears that a child may be in need of assistance.
  • Provide assistance to a child in the custody of TJJD who the IO determines is in need of assistance, including advocating with an agency, provider, or other person in in the best interests of the child.
  • Inspect periodically the facilities and procedures of the facilities where a child in the custody of TJJD has been placed to ensure that the rights of children are fully observed.
  • Review the procedures established by TJJD and evaluate the delivery of services to children to ensure that the rights of children are fully observed.
  • Review reports relating to complaints regarding juvenile probation programs, services, or facilities and analyze the data contained in the reports to identify trends in complaints.
  • Report a possible standards violation by a local juvenile probation department to the appropriate division of the department. 

Who is the Independent Ombudsman?

JD Robertson is TJJD’s Independent Ombudsman. A retired Major with the Texas Rangers, his career has spanned nearly three decades of service to the Texas Department of Public Safety. As a former Commander of the Texas Rangers Special Operations Group, Roberston managed the special weapons and tactics team, bomb squad, reconnaissance team, special response teams, crisis negotiations unit, and border security operations. He is a member of the FBI National Academy Associates and a former member of the National Tactical Officers Association and the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts. Robertson was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force after six years of service. He is also a graduate of both the FBI National Academy and the United States Naval Post Graduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security Executive Leadership Program. Robertson received an Associates of Applied Science with a focus on Industrial Security from the Community College of the Air Force, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland University College, and a Master of Science in Applied Criminology from Texas A&M University – Commerce.

You can contact him at  or (512) 490-7993.

What makes us independent?

The IO reports to the Governor and the Texas Legislature. The IO is not a part of TJJD and does not report to TJJD Executive Management or the TJJD Board. 

When should you call the Independent Ombudsman?

Before contacting the IO, you should try to resolve complaints through the TJJD grievance process. After going through the grievance process, if the problem remains unsolved, contact the Independent Ombudsman for assistance. When you believe the health, safety, welfare, or rights of a youth in TJJD have been negatively affected, it is important that you call us. 

Contacts

Toll free: (855) 468-7330
Austin: (512) 490-7973
Fax: (512) 490-7626

Email:

Mail:
Independent Ombudsman for TJJD,
Building H,11209 Metric Blvd
Austin, TX 78758

Public Comment

Sunset Advisory Commission Invites Public Input on the Office of the Independent Ombudsman for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department

The Sunset Advisory Commission is reviewing the mission and performance of the Office of the Independent Ombudsman (OIO) for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and welcomes public comments on ideas to improve its operations and services. The Texas Sunset Act requires the Sunset Commission to periodically review OIO and recommend whether to change state law to improve the agency’s efficiency and effectiveness. The Legislature ultimately will decide whether to adopt Sunset’s statutory recommendations. The Sunset Commission also may adopt management directives for OIO that do not require statutory change.

The Sunset process has three stages. First, Sunset staff will evaluate OIO, seek public input, and issue a report recommending solutions to problems found. Second, the Sunset Commission will hold two public meetings: a hearing on the staff report and the agency, and a decision meeting to adopt recommendations to the Legislature based on the report and public comments. Third, the Legislature will convene in January 2023 and will consider Sunset’s statutory recommendations in a Sunset bill for OIO.

Here are several ways to provide comments and suggestions to Sunset staff on OIO’s mission, operations, and services: ·

  • Send an email to  
  • Submit comments online at www.sunset.texas.gov
  • Send a letter to Sunset Advisory Commission, Attn: OIO, P.O. Box 13066, Austin, Texas 78711
  • Call (512) 463-1300 to speak to Rachel Gandy, project manager of the OIO review

Please provide your comments by February 1, 2022 to ensure Sunset staff can fully consider your input while conducting their review. Comments submitted before the staff report is published in May 2022 will remain confidential.

Stay informed! Visit www.sunset.texas.gov to sign up for email alerts on the Sunset staff report and the Sunset Commission’s public meetings on OIO.