About OCA

The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) oversees the Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF), the only agency responsible for child welfare in Rhode Island. DCYF has units and divisions that support child welfare, juvenile justice, and children's behavioral health. The OCA monitors each unit to make sure they follow internal policies, state law, and federal law. They also track issues and trends to ensure that the units are using the best practices in the field of child welfare. If needed, the OCA recommends changes to improve the system. They are responsible for overseeing all employees and contracted service providers. 

The OCA monitors each child in the care of DCYF to protect their legal rights and ensure their safety. They work to make sure children have permanent and stable families, and that their physical, mental, medical, educational, emotional, and behavioral needs are met while in out-of-home placements. The OCA can meet and talk to any child under the Department's care, regardless of where they are currently placed. They can also intervene in any case to make sure the child's health and safety are being properly addressed. The OCA also monitors facilities licensed by DCYF in Rhode Island, such as foster homes, residential programs, out-of-state placement facilities, and the Rhode Island Training School.