The Office of the Child Advocate represents the commitment of the Governor and the members of the Legislature to improve services provided by state agencies to children and families in Massachusetts. Originally created by Executive Order 494, the OCA is an independent office that reports directly to the Governor. A law establishing the responsibilities of the OCA was passed by the Legislature in 2008 and appears in the Massachusetts General Laws as Chapter 18C.
The Child Welfare Law states that The Child Advocate has the following responsibilities:
• Ensuring that children receive timely, safe and effective services.
• Ensuring that children placed in care or under the supervision of the Commonwealth receive humane and dignified treatment, including respect for the child’s privacy and right to free and appropriate education.
• Examining on a system-wide basis the care and services provided to children.
• Advising the public and the highest government officials about how to improve services to children and families.
Our Mission Statement
Our Mission is to improve the safety, health and well-being of Massachusetts children by promoting positive change in public policy and practice.
Our Vision is that every child is safe and nurtured in a permanent home and that every family is supported and strengthened within their community.
Our Focus is on children who are served by the Commonwealth’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Our Core Values
We further our mission by focusing on our core values: information, collaboration, and accountability.
Information: The Child Advocate and the OCA staff are always active, participating in meetings, forums, and events to learn more about services and initiatives for children and families in Massachusetts. We share this information with others through our policy work and our Helpline.
Collaboration: Collaboration is critical at every level. No single agency or system can provide all the resources needed to support and strengthen families with complex problems. The OCA staff work to promote collaboration at every opportunity among initiatives, agencies, and systems.
Accountability: The OCA staff review critical incident reports and child abuse and neglect reports arising in out-of-home settings connected to state agencies. Through these reviews, we identify trends and look for opportunities for system improvements. We meet with agency commissioners and staff to learn from them and to share our perspective.