June 2015

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

OCA Supports Legal Reforms for Children

This legislative session, OCA strongly supported the following new initiatives:


1.  Educational reforms that will reduce reliance on restraint and seclusion for children with disabilities and end seclusion as a non-emergency response.  


2.  Increased reporting and strategic planning to reduce the preventable deaths of infants and toddlers.


3.  Juvenile justice reforms that will help keep more of our young people out of correctional facilities.  




OCA Partners with Lawmakers and Educators to Discuss How to Reduce Restraint and Seclusion for Children

In May, OCA partnered with the General Assembly's Children's Committee and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy to host a roundtable discussion on reducing restraint and seclusion of children through innovation, best practices, and positive behavioral supports.  See news link here: http://www.courant.com/education/hc-restraints-seclusion-forum-0502-20150501-story.html.  

To view OCA's investigative report, see here: 




OCA And State Child Fatality Review Panel Issue Public Health Alert Regarding Youth and Suicide and Suicidality in CT
Key findings from this new OCA/CFRP report include:

1.  The age of youth who die by suicide in CT has dropped significantly, from 17 in 2007 to now just over 14 in 2013.

2.  According to CT Public Health survey, approximately 14.5% of students had seriously considered suicide at some point over the previous 12 months.  21% of students interviewed said that when they feel sad, anxious, or hopeless, they do not know whom to talk with about these feelings. 

3.  Restricting access to highly lethal means of suicide (e.g. firearms) can be a strong protective factor; however, individual intent on suicide will use any available means. 

4. Important preventative measures include easy access to effective mental health services, family and community supports, and increased screening for depression in youth.


OCA In The Community

OCA recently trained new child welfare lawyers on the special needs of abused and neglected infants and toddlers. For more on meeting the needs of maltreated infants and toddlers, see here:  http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/webinars-conference-calls/meeting-the-developmental.html


OCA Ombudsman Activities

OCA continues to receive frequent calls from the community looking for assistance securing appropriate educational, mental health or child welfare support services for children and youth.  OCA has worked with callers to address bullying concerns, special education questions, and access to critical supports for children with developmental disabilities. 


If you have a question or concern about a child being served by a state-funded system, please call OCA at 860 566 2106. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Services for Families with Special Needs Child



My 5 year old daughter is diagnosed with Autism.  She doesn't speak and it is often hard for her to make her needs known.  She goes to Kindergarten and receives special education supports, but I don't know how to help her at home.   She gets very frustrated and upset and I don't know what to do. 




Federal special education law entitles children who are identified as eligible for special education services to receive related services, including "parent counseling and training."  This right means that parents must receive assistance from the school district in "understanding the special needs of their child" and that the district must help parents "acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child's IEP."  This may mean that the parent is entitled to training to understand how the child's communication needs can be addressed both at home and school.  This will enable the parent to practice and reinforce what the child is learning in kindergarten or from the speech and language therapist.