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Our Responsibilities

Litigation
The Office is empowered to initiate litigation on behalf of children in state care, including litigation naming other state agencies as defendants. The Office has brought suit against DCYF and placement facilities for violating the Children’s Bill of Rights on issues including privacy and humane treatment of children in state care.

Reviewing Child Fatalities
The Office may convene a formal investigative commission for any child fatality in which the child victim hasany connection with DCYF and issue a public report with recommendations for systemic reforms.

Monitoring Placement Facilities
The Office monitors public and private residential placement facilities and shelters and conducts periodic on site visits to confirm whether a facility is in compliance with R.I. child care regulations, which may include health, safety and fire codes.  The Office also assesses the quality of programs, interviews children, verifies any report of institutional abuse, and recommends corrective actions to be taken.

Legislative Advocacy
The Child Advocate is a member of the RI General Assembly’s Children’s Code Commission which reviews all legislation affecting children and routinely offers testimony in General Assembly hearings on legislative proposals affecting children.

Public Hearings and Reports
The Office makes presentations at conferences, convenes public hearings and conducts studies which are released as public reports.

Child Victims Assistance
The Office provides assistance to children in DCYF care who may be entitled to crime victim compensation by making them aware of crime victim compensation laws and pursuing legal actions on behalf of certain child victims of sexual and/or severe physical abuse.

Training
The Office conducts training and offers seminars for providers and guardians ad litem.