Intended Use

1.1 Purpose

This policy recognizes that it may be necessary to include links on the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website to websites outside the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds’s control. The purpose of this policy is to clearly state that the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website is not a public forum for communication and debate. Links to external websites from the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds pages are established and retained at the discretion of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds. The policy also provides guidelines on when links to external sources are inappropriate.

The Purpose of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website is to promote public service to citizens and businesses by:

  • Expanding business and citizen access to government services and government information;
  • Offering an easy and convenient process to conduct online transactions with State government;
  • Accelerating the delivery of quality online government services;
  • Improving the level of customer service from State government; and
  • Extending online government services to all citizens in Washington State.

1.2 Definitions

"Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website" shall mean the Internet portal operated and maintained by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds. The Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds is not a forum for public communication and debate. The criteria outlined in this Policy have been established to ensure that the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website remains a non-public forum.

"Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds Internet Properties", "Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds Web pages" and "Web pages operated by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds" shall mean Web pages whose content is under the direction and control of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, including the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds Public website, and other Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds websites. (These terms do not include intranet sites controlled or operated by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds.)

"Purpose" shall mean the stated purpose of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website in this policy.

"External website" shall mean all websites other than the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website.

1.3 Applicability

This policy applies to the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website and other Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds Internet properties. Links to the following types of Web pages may be included in the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website:

  1. Other Governmental Units & Educational Institutions – Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds may provide links to other federal, state, and local governmental units that provide additional services and information that the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website users may find of interest.
  2. Private Organizations – Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds may provide links to private organizations if these organizations offer services that complement the Purpose, information and services offered by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds and if the links meet the Acceptance Criteria stated in this policy.

Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds may provide links to websites that are not controlled, maintained, or regulated by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, and as such the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds is not responsible for the content of those websites.

Use of information obtained from External websites is voluntary. Any information obtained from an External website is not guaranteed by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds and the user should review the accuracy of any information before relying upon it. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, or otherwise does not represent endorsement or recommendation by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds.

1.4 Guidelines for establishing a link from the agency’s website to an external website

Using the following Acceptance Criteria, the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds will review every link and decide whether it is appropriate and relevant:

  1. The External website corresponds with the Purpose of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds.
  2. The External website is appropriate with respect to the Purpose of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds. An inappropriate website may include, but is not limited to:
    • A commercial website which charges a fee for products or services online;
    • A website that exhibits hate, bias, discrimination, pornography, libelous or otherwise defamatory content;
    • A website that advocates or promotes the use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs;
    • A website that lobbies, advocates, or advances the policies and priorities of a particular industry, organization or enterprise. This includes sites of non-profit organizations;
    • A website that belongs to or supports a political affiliation;
    • A website that furthers the agenda of a political organization or candidate running for office;
    • A website that promotes or makes available adult or sexually oriented entertainment or materials;
    • A website that promotes, opposes, or makes available weapons or gambling.

Additionally, the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds reserves the right to deny links if it determines that a website contains misleading or unsubstantiated claims, conflicts with the Purpose of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds or does not meet one or more of the criteria set forth in this policy.

1.5 Guidelines for establishing a link to the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website From an external website

Advance permission to link to the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website is not necessary; however, website users should be aware that the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website sub pages, including the pages of other state agencies and local governments, may change at any time without notice. Anyone linking to the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website should continuously verify links to sub pages.

Anyone linking to the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website shall not display the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds Web pages within frames, present the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds content as its own, or otherwise misrepresent the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds content, and they should not misinform users about the origin or ownership of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds content. Certain information on the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds may be trademarked, service-marked, or otherwise protected as intellectual property. Protected intellectual property must be used in accordance with state and federal laws and must reflect the proper ownership of the intellectual property.

1.6 Link oversight and monitoring

Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds shall establish procedures to monitor the implementation and continuing oversight of this policy.
These procedures shall include:

  1. A process to review all new requests for links from a Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds Web page to another Web page to ensure compliance with this policy prior to granting the request; and
  2. A quarterly review of not less than seven (7) percent or a quantity of thirty-five (35) of the then current external content links for each Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds Internet Property, whichever is less, to ensure that such links still comply with this policy.

1.7 Removal of content

Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove links if it determines that an External website contains misleading or unsubstantiated claims, conflicts with the Purpose of the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, or does not meet one or more of the criteria set forth herein.

Links from the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds website will be reviewed regularly and may be removed for any of the following reasons:

  • The link no longer points to the original information or resource to which it was intended to point;
  • The website contains inaccurate or misleading information or has changed such that it is no longer in compliance with the acceptance criteria;
  • Access to the information has become difficult due to non-standard formatting, lengthy download times, or intrusive advertising;
  • The website is permanently unreachable or remains unavailable for a lengthy period.

Removal of external links on the above bases will be permitted whether or not the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds is legally obligated to act upon any information of which it is aware.