Who We Are

About the Ventura County Ombudsman Program

Our Mission

The Ventura County Ombudsman Program’s mission is to assure the highest quality of life and care possible for our elderly and disabled in long-term care facilities throughout Ventura County.

The Ventura County Ombudsman Program is founded on the principle that elderly and disabled persons unable to care for themselves are entitled to dependable and consistent care.

Our Story

Residents in long-term care facilities are among the most frail and vulnerable in Ventura County. Because many cannot represent themselves, they need assistance to improve their quality of life and care. The Ventura County Ombudsman Program advocates for the highest quality of life and care possible for all our elderly living in long term care facilities. 

In 1978 Congress amended the Older Americans Act to establish long-term care Ombudsman (a Swedish word that means “advocate”) to serve the frail vulnerable elderly residents in long-term care facilities. This was a much-needed action and a result of the serious problems that surfaced when the nursing home industry exploded following the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

In Ventura County, in 1981, two members of the National Council of Jewish Women founded the Ombudsman program. In 1988 the founders, Bee Ellisman and Shirley Radding, created Long Term Care Services of Ventura County, Inc., a not-for-profit charitable corporation, to administer the Ombudsman program.

The Ombudsman is trained, certified and mandated by federal and state authority to identify, investigate, and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents and to provide services to help in safeguarding their health, safety, welfare and rights. Pre-admission counseling and support group services are also provided as valuable and much-needed services. Visits are unscheduled and unannounced.

To ensure quality care, the Ombudsman coordinates with licensing and regulatory agencies as well as law enforcement.


Ellisman, Radding and Taylor-Stein

Our Team

Sylvia Taylor-Stein

Executive Director

Allison Peck

Ombudsman Program Coordinator

Vicky Odle

Executive Assistant & Placement Counselor

Naty Avila

Ombudsman & Data Assistant

Debby Nell

Field Services Specialist

Sherri Finn-Werber

Field Services Specialist

Mat Bennett

Field Services Specialist

Yvonne Nino

Accounting Manager

Our Board of Directors

Our all Volunteer Board of Directors is a dedicated team of advocates, business leaders, and professionals who have served an average of 15 years. They are committed to the mission of ensuring all residents in long term care have access to an ombudsman who can address their needs and help resolve their concerns to enable them to live out their remaining years with the highest quality of life possible.

Meet the Board

Awards & Recognition

The Ventura County Ombudsman Program receives national and local awards