In 1991, the Legislature created four ombudspersons for families positions to operate "independently but under the auspices of" each of Minnesota's four minority councils: the Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs, the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, and the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans.
In 1994, statutory language was changed to indicate the ombudspersons "operate independently from but in collaboration with" the four minority councils. The four ombudspersons together comprise the Office of Ombudspersons for Families, which is described as an "independent state agency."
Until 2021, there were four community-specific boards, also known as "ombudsperson boards," who select the ombudsperson for their specific community. In 2021, the Ombudsperson Board for Indian Families was replaced with the American Indian Community-Specific Board. This new board appoints the Ombudsperson for American Indian Families.