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7/8/2014 Law creates advisory panel for Child Advocate
STATE HOUSE – The Rhode Island Office of the Child Advocate works with education, health and mental health agencies and private social service providers to promote the interests of children in state care. The office is empowered to take whatever action, including legislative advocacy and litigation, to address deficiencies and discriminations experienced by children in need of child welfare, correctional and mental health services.
           
To assist the office in carrying out its duties, legislation approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor calls for the establishment of an advisory committee within the office to provide advice and support to the Child Advocate.
           
Enacted into law are companion House and Senate bills – 2014-H 8368 by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and 2014-S 2606aa by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick).
           
As provided by the new law, the nine-member committee will be composed of one attorney appointed by the RI Bar Association; a judge or magistrate of the Family Court appointed by the Chief Judge of the Family Court; a pediatrician with expertise in child and adolescent treatment or child abuse and neglect; a psychologist with expertise in children and adolescent treatment; a psychiatrist with expertise in child and adolescent treatment; a licensed independent clinical social worker, and three other members named by the Child Advocate, including one who is a youth or parent (foster or birth) formerly involved in the state child welfare system.
           
Members of the advisory committee will serve a term of five years and be eligible for reappointment at the conclusion of that term. All appointments are expected to be made by October 1 of this year.
           
As part of its duties, the advisory committee will be expected to provide an annual report on its activities and recommendations, presented to the governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives. The first report would be due on or about December 21, 2015, and annually thereafter.


For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457