(617) 979-8360
or toll-free (866) 790-3690

The OCA has established a Helpline in order to respond to concerns from the public about services children receive from states agencies in Massachusetts.  OCA staff help people identify services or resources for a child and assist with resolving a problem that involves a state child-serving agency.

Your call will be answered by a member of the OCA staff between the hours of 9am and 5pm weekdays. After 5pm you can leave a message on our voicemail. Your message will be retrieved the following business day. You can also contact our office through email at childadvocate@state.ma.us.

The OCA does not provide emergency responses to reports of child abuse and neglect. Please report suspected child abuse or neglect immediately by calling the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Hotline at 1-800-792-5200.

 

 


When should I call the Helpline? 

You need help with finding resources related to a child’s safety, health, education, mental health, and well-being. The OCA helps people understand and navigate the services and resources available to families and children in Massachusetts.

You have a concern about the treatment and services a child is currently receiving from a state agency or program in Massachusetts. If you feel you have tried other ways to resolve your concerns directly with the agency or program and you remain unsatisfied with the response, you can call our office to review the steps you have taken and the agency’s response. We may be able to identify additional resources that could be useful in resolving your concerns.

You want to share an experience that a child or family has had with a child-serving state agency or program. The OCA welcomes any information you want to share with us regarding experiences you have had with programs or state agencies in Massachusetts. If you have a concern that is related to a past experience, your call may not warrant immediate action by our office but the information you provide will help to inform our policy and interagency work.

What can I do before calling the Helpline? 

Try contacting involved agency and program staff. They may be able to explain policies and procedures or address your concerns directly. When speaking with staff be sure to: ask questions, gather information, and specifically state your concerns and exactly what outcomes you are looking for. Keep a record of these communications and note any actions taken or not taken by the agency or program.

Consult with your attorney or your child’s attorney. If you have a legal question and you have an attorney, please direct your legal questions to your attorney before calling our office. The OCA cannot provide you with legal advice; however, our office can assist you with identifying legal resources.

Gather helpful information. Although you can remain anonymous when you call our office, there are some basic questions that we ask every caller.  This information helps the OCA to review, address and keep track of your concern.  Don’t worry if you cannot answer all the questions we may ask—we will do our best to help you with the information you have available.

Here are some examples of the information we may ask you to provide:

¨ Your contact information

¨ The name and date of birth of the child you are concerned about

¨ The agencies or programs involved

¨ What are your concerns and what steps have you already taken to resolve your concerns?

¨ What outcomes are you seeking from the OCA?