For Immediate Release - September 10, 2015

AG Healey Appoints Judge Gail Garinger as Director of New Child and Youth Protection Unit

Formerly The Child Advocate for the Commonwealth, Garinger’s Entire Career Dedicated to Youth Protection and Services

BOSTON – Touting an entire career dedicated to protecting and serving youth throughout Massachusetts, Judge Gail Garinger has been appointed director of the new Child and Youth Protection Unit, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Judge Garinger has devoted her professional career to protecting and serving the children of the Commonwealth.  Governor William Weld appointed her to the Juvenile Court bench in 1995. After 13 years as a Juvenile Court Judge, seven as First Justice of Middlesex County, Judge Garinger was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick as the Commonwealth’s first statewide Child Advocate in 2008.  During these past seven years, Judge Garinger has established herself and the Office of the Child Advocate as a forceful and respected voice for children, primarily those receiving services from state agencies.

“There is no one better to lead our efforts to protect the health and well-being of the more than 1.5 million children in our state,” AG Healey said. “Judge Garinger will lead a thoughtful, focused and coordinated approach to engage with the child advocacy community to better serve our youngest residents. Under Judge Garinger’s leadership we can build on the good work that has already been done by so many and create new opportunities for effective collaboration.”

“I eagerly look forward to being a part of this exciting initiative,” Judge Garinger said. “I believe the Attorney General’s Office can play an important role in advocating new approaches for protecting our children and youth and fostering positive youth development.”

The Attorney General’s first-of-its-kind Child and Youth Protection Unit will consolidate all of the office’s work focused on improving opportunities and outcomes for children across the board.

The unit will engage experts in various fields relating to children to inform initiatives, pursue public-private partnerships, and work closely with children organizations, state and local agencies and courts to improve delivery of care and services for this vulnerable population.

Since taking office, AG Healey has made youth services a focus of her administration. In March, the AG filed legislation with Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez (D – Jamaica Plain) to prevent the sales of e-cigarettes to children, prohibit promotional giveaways and require that e-cigarettes be out of the reach of all consumers.

AG Healey also joined 100 students from middle schools across the state at a leadership conference for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) in May to discuss substance abuse.

In June, the AG’s Office announced more than $300,000 in grants to fund over 200 summer jobs across the state and in July, staff met with the Office of the Child Advocate and the Boston Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to explore an alliance on a program that supports youth who are “aging-out” of foster care.