An Office of Child Advocate (OCA) is needed to provide independent and impartial oversight of Vermont’s child protection system. An OCA will instill trust by adding transparency and giving voice to Vermont’s constituents. An OCA will make our system more child-centered and improve outcomes for youth and families by listening to concerns about DCF and responding to complaints with a credible review process. The OCA will maintain independence and impartiality of all aspects for oversight over DCF while providing a systemic review for responsive public policy. The Alliance supports Voices for Vermont’s Children’s proposal to create an effective OCA, which will require a minimum of two FTE staff as well as administrative support, and a $350,000 annual budget.
Data and Talking Points
- Vermont consistently ranks among the highest rates of out-of-home placement in the United States, as well as having a higher than average rate of children being placed in two or more foster homes (39% in VT vs 35% nationally in 2016).
- Low-income families in Vermont are much more likely to come in contact with the child protection system here, despite the fact that poverty is not an allowable cause for a child protection investigation.
- Join the Voices for Vermont’s Children email list.
- Voices for Vermont’s Children is gathering testimony in support of establishing an Office of Child Advocate (OCA), and we want to hear from you. Please consider sharing your experience with the child protection system or your support for an OCA through our web portal. We are especially interested in how an OCA might have intersected with your experience and led to more positive outcomes. If you’d rather share your story over the phone or in person, or if you have additional questions, please contact Amy Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-239-6377.