Welcome to the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA)
The goal of the OCA is to ensure that every child involved with state agencies in Massachusetts is protected from harm and receives quality services. We are here to listen to the problems you encounter and identify resources and strategies that can help. We also work with legislators, social workers, doctors, administrators, and other professionals to improve services to children and families.
Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) Releases Final Report to the Legislature Regarding DCF Management
The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) is releasing its Management review of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) as required by the State Legislature. This report was prepared at the request of the Legislature in language contained in the General Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2015.
Office of the Child Advocate Releases Final Report Concerning the Death of Bella Bond
The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) was asked by Governor Baker to conduct an independent review of the Commonwealth’s involvement with two-year-old Bella Bond and her family during her short life. The OCA’s findings regarding DCF casework in 2012-2013 are similar to those identified in other recent case reviews released by the Governor and OCA and are being addressed by initiatives currently underway, including rebuilding DCF’s management structure, quality assurance processes, and policies to provide clear guidance and oversight to staff in assessing risk to children and monitoring families.
The complete OCA report is available here: Final Report Concerning the Death of Bella Bond
Press Release: Office of the Child Advocate to Review Involvement with Bella Bond’s Family
As Governor Baker has announced, the Office of the Child Advocate will examine the involvement of child welfare, all executive agencies, police and any other service providers with Bella Bond’s family to see if any opportunities were missed to raise issues about her safety and well being and what lessons can be learned to prevent another tragedy like this. Read the full Press Release: Office of the Child Advocate to Review Involvement with Bella Bond’s Family
OCA Files Interim Report on Review of DCF Management
On September 9, 2015, the OCA released an interim report regarding a review of DCF management. This review is being conducted by the Ripples Group under contract with the OCA. Child Advocate Garinger said, “This interim report provides timely information identifying preliminary findings and outlining next steps.” The final report will be filed by November 2, 2015. Read the Third Interim Report From the OCA Regarding Review of DCF Management
OCA Releases Annual Report FY 2015
From The Child Advocate, Gail Garinger: “I am pleased to release to you the annual report of the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) for Fiscal Year 2015. The report covers the activities and initiatives of our office during the last year and includes recommendations for legislative and policy changes. This will be my last report as Child Advocate, as I have decided to move on to the next chapter of my career. I am proud of the work we have accomplished both this year and in prior years. I am mindful that there is still much to be done. I thank you for the honor of serving as the Commonwealth’s first Child Advocate.”
The complete report, along with prior annual reports, is available here: http://www.mass.gov/childadvocate/reports/.
The Ripples Group Releases Final Report on DCF Fair Hearing System
On June 29, 2015, The Ripples Group submitted to the OCA and the Legislature a final report concerning their evaluation of the DCF Fair Hearing system. Beginning in November 2014, The Ripples Group conducted an in-depth, fact-driven assessment of the DCF Fair Hearing system to determine whether it was timely, independent and fair. Judge Garinger said, “The Ripples Group looked at the DCF Fair Hearing system through the lens of the appellant, the person affected by DCF’s decision. While noting significant improvements, the report highlights key issues warranting further attention by DCF and the Legislature.” Read the Final Report .