This independent agency was created in 1987, in part as a result of the federal Welsch Consent Decree, to promote the highest attainable standards for treatment, competence, efficiency, and justice for persons receiving care and treatment for mental illness, developmental disabilities, chemical dependency, and emotional disturbance from a Minnesota agency, facility, or program.
In 2005 the Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Mental Retardation was renamed the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
The Governor also appoints a 15 member Ombudsman Committee for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities to advise the Ombudsman. From this group a Medical Review Subcommittee is selected to work with office staff in the review of deaths and serious injuries. The Ombudsman, after consultation with the Governor, can go public with findings and recommendations.