Office of the Child Advocate
At a Glance
JEANNE MILSTEIN, Child Advocate
Christy Scott, Esq., Associate Child Advocate
Mickey Kramer, RN-C, MS, Assistant Child Advocate
Moira O’Neill, Assistant Child Advocate
Heather Panciera, Assistant Child Advocate
Faith Vos Winkel, Assistant Child Advocate
Denise Scruggs, Administrative Assistant
Janet Santiago, Processing Tech
Statutory authority - CGS 46a-13k, et seq.
Central office - 18-20 Trinity Street,
Hartford, CT 06106
Number of employees - 9
Recurring operating expenses - $616,060
The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) speaks for Connecticut’s children. The OCA was created in 1995 to be an independent voice for children rather than an administrator of programs. OCA’s mission is to oversee the care and protection of Connecticut’s children and to advocate for their well-being. OCA is committed to ensuring that all children receive the care and supports they need.
The statutory responsibilities include evaluating the procedures for and the delivery of state-funded services to children; investigating inquiries or complaints regarding children; recommending changes in state policy; conducting programs of public education; legislative advocacy and proposing systemic reform; reviewing conditions and procedures of all public and private facilities where children are placed; providing training and technical assistance to children’s attorneys; initiating or intervening in court cases on behalf of children; serving on the Child Fatality Review Panel and conducting a fatality review on the circumstances of the death of a child due to unexpected or unexplained causes and to facilitate development of prevention strategies to address identified trends and patterns of risk and to improve coordination of services for children and families in the state.
During its six-year history, OCA has brought about significant change for Connecticut families and children. OCA helps families by educating and informing them about services for children, coaching them through various public systems, reviewing individual cases, advocating for children at risk, and addressing broad public policy issues. These reviews and investigations not only help the OCA address individual problems, but also assist the OCA in identifying the systems issues that need to be addressed. The activities of the OCA benefit the children of this state, and serve as a catalyst for policy and legislative change.
This year, OCA established a fully operational ombudsman's office to fulfill one of its chief responsibilities: reviewing and addressing citizen inquiries and concerns about children's issues. OCA addresses every concern and responds by taking further action or referring citizens to the appropriate agency that can address their concern. From October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001, OCA received 1968 contacts from the public. Of those, 64 percent (approx. 1260) were referred to other agencies, and 36 percent (approx. 708) warranted further investigation by OCA.
The OCA created new partnerships to better advocate for children. New collaborations were created with schools, police, business community, faith community, parents, non-profits, health care providers, attorneys, concerned citizens, lawyers, Judges, and children's advocates.
The OCA implemented a structured administrative system for the Child Fatality Review Panel. A relational database was created to collect information on all unexpected or unexplained child fatalities. A reporting system was developed to generate reports looking at trends such as the leading causes of death, and the characteristics of the children who have died.
The Office of the Child Advocate is committed to regular reviews of its current operating procedures aimed at reducing waste and increasing efficiency. The OCA has implemented operating policies and procedures and has computerized office operations. There is more reliance on e-mail than regular mail in an effort to reduce waste of paper.
The Office of the Child Advocate has developed an affirmative action plan which complies with Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 46a-70 through 46a-78.
As mandated by Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-13k(f) and 46a-13q(a), the Office of the Child Advocate and the Advisory Panel submitted a joint annual report for the period of October 1, 2000 through September 30, 2001. The Child Advocate has filed her annual reflecting the period October 1, 2000 through September 30, 2001.