About the OCA
The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) is an independent and autonomous Rhode Island state agency responsible for protecting the legal rights and interests of children in state care. These rights include, but are not limited to, a child’s right to appropriate placement, healthcare and education, and to be treated with dignity and respect. The OCA has access to all records and files of children in state care.
The OCA may speak privately with any child in the custody or care of the state; issue subpoenas to obtain necessary information and documents and to compel attendance and testimony of witnesses and initiate lawsuits on behalf of children in state care. In addition, the office can inspect, monitor and review foster homes, group homes, shelters, residential care centers and the Rhode Island Training School and can make recommendations based on these reviews. The OCA also monitors and reviews Child Protective Service investigations of institutional abuse and neglect, as well as the ability to convene child fatality panels to conduct reviews and issue public reports. These reports will make recommendations for reforms in the child welfare system. The OCA also has the power to recommend necessary legislation, rules and regulations. Lastly, the OCA provides training and technical assistance to guardians ad litem and court appointed special advocates.