Vermont Needs Office of Child Advocate
Thanks to Rep. Ann Pugh and Senator Kevin Mullin for their strong support for an Office of Child Advocate.
Vermont needs Office of Child Advocate
On Oct. 5, the Burlington Free Press called for public accountability and oversight of our child protection system in an editorial (“DCF report needs emphasis on transparency”).
Sen. Kevin Mullin and I agree. As members of the Legislative Committee on Child Protection and as members of both the House and the Senate, we propose that the state of Vermont implement an Office of Child Advocate.
Vermont is the only state in New England without such an office and we believe that its time has come.
While legislative oversight is also important, an Office of Child Advocate would provide just the kind of oversight contemplated by the Free Press and many others — consistent monitoring of the work of the state agency from the outside. In addition, this office would be responsible for staying abreast of the latest innovations and research in the field.
Vermont has two current examples of such an office in the Long Term Care Ombudsman and the Office of the Health Care Advocate. Both of these offices effectively monitor the nursing home and health care systems on behalf of the public and provide the Legislature and administration with valuable support, research and information. We will advocate for the Legislative Committee to add an Office of Child Advocate to its list of recommendations.
Representative Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington, is chairwoman of the, House Human Services Committee. Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, contributed to this piece.