Nov/Dec 2014

Office of The Child Advocate
E-News
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.

OCA/Fatality Review Panel

 

On November 21, OCA released its report, "Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School." In response to the Child Fatality Review Panel's instruction that OCA  investigate "the mechanism" of the December 2012 deaths of 20 students and 6 educators in Newtown, OCA and several experts undertook an exhaustive examination of the educational, mental health, legal, and medical records of Adam Lanza and have propagated numerous recommendations for all of those systems to increase the efficacy of their responses to children and youth. 
The full report is available here: http://www.ct.gov/oca/lib/oca/sandyhook11212014.pdf

 

OCA Responds to Calls for Help


 In October 2014, OCA received more than 30 requests for assistance.  Ten of these requests related to CT's child protection system, six were requests for legal assistance, and there were four contacts each pertaining to special education and mental health care for children.  Three contacts related concerns for children with developmental disabilities.  OCA opened sixteen new cases this month for further investigation or intervention.    

 

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health was recently awarded a five-year grant to participate in the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), and has invited OCA to participate in an advisory board overseeing the establishment of the Registry in Connecticut.  The information gathered in this system will be used to inform police, public health officials, violence prevention groups, and policy makers in our community about the best ways to reduce violence here in Connecticut.  For further information, see http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nvdrs/

 

 

OCA Educates

 

Child Advocate Sarah Eagan conducted a training session for parents on November 18  at the Autism Spectrum Resource Center in Wallingford.  Her presentation focused on laws regarding restraint and seclusion of students and how to advocate for one's child who may be experiencing these restrictive interventions in school.   

 

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On November 7, Associate Child Advocate Mickey Kramer presented information on OCA's activities and initiatives regarding safe sleep for infants, and summarized the finding and recommendations from OCA's July 2014 report on fatalities of children under 3 years old to multiple agencies participating in a meeting with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

Read the fatality report here:  http://www.ct.gov/oca/lib/oca/Final_OCA_Infant_Toddler_Fatality_Report.pdf  

 

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The Department of Correction, OCA, and UConn Correctional Managed Health Care co-facilitated training for staff employed in numerous disciplines at Manson Youth Institute.  The training curriculum was informed by best practices related to adolescents in custody, and focused on adolescent development, the differences between adult and youthful offenders, agencies that are often involved with youthful offenders.  Trainers presented recent changes in the DoC's Administrative Directives and practices for housing, orienting, screening, educating, and disciplining incarcerated youth.  OCA will continue to support the DoC in their efforts to improve conditions of confinement and outcomes for incarcerated youth. 


 

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Along with dozens of providers, advocates, and state agencies throughout CT, OCA participated in Autism Services Resources Connecticut's resource fair on November 1.  For further information on the ASRC, please visit:  http://www.autismconnecticut.org/   


 

OCA Partners for Change

 

OCA is participating in working groups with Connecticut's Drug Endangered Children Alliance (DEC).  DEC helps break the cycle of abuse and neglect by empowering practitioners to identify and respond to children living in dangerous drug environments.  Read mor e at

 

     

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OCA is conducting an ongoing evaluation of seclusion and restraint practices in schools, particularly of special education students in grades K through 5.  OCA will meet with the State Department of Education and the programs reviewed to discuss its findings, and expects to issue a public report including findings and recommendations by the end of this year.  

         

OCA Advocates for Children's Mental Health Services

 

OCA has participated in the work group convened by the Office of Early Childhood regarding home visitation initiatives. The work group has drafted a report containing an evaluation of these visitation programs and recommendations, as required per PA 13-178, and its release is pending.  See legislation.

 

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OCA is collaborating with the Keep the Promise Coalition to plan a luncheon for newly elected legislators to focus on mental health service and support needs of Connecticut's citizens. http://www.ctkeepthepromise.org/