Office of the Child Advocate
At a Glance
JEANNE MILSTEIN, Child Advocate
Mickey Kramer, Associate Child Advocate
Julie McKenna, Assistant Child Advocate
Moira O’Neill, Assistant Child Advocate (1/4 time)
Heather Panciera, Assistant Child Advocate
Faith Vos Winkel, Assistant Child Advocate
Sharon Dexler, Administrative Assistant
Janet Santiago, Processing Technician
Elysa Gordon, Assistant Child Advocate (3/4 time)
Established - 1995
Statutory authority - CGS §46a-13k, et seq.
Central office – 999 Asylum Avenue,
Hartford, CT 06105
Number of employees - 9
Recurring operating expenses - $787,737
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, in order 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.
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.
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. We continue to utilize resources electronically rather than printing all necessary documents. We also continue to make more frequent use of our website to distribute reports. We also have a specific energy savings plan.
The OCA has set the following priorities for the next fiscal year:
The OCA will:
· Complete analysis of the numbers and outcomes of children under the age of 6 in congregate care.
· Continue to provide significant oversight of children in out of home care, and in particular DCF operated facilities-Riverview Hospital and the CT. Children’s Place.
· Will continue to work with the DOC to improve services for children at York and Manson.
· Educate and advise policymakers on ways to improve safety and care of vulnerable children.
· Participate in a working group to develop ways to improve mental health system for children in CT.
· Advocate for implementation of recommendations made in the joint report with the Attorney General on abuse and neglect by school employees.