State lawmakers on Monday called on the Office of Child Advocates to help improve the lives of children who live in unstable homes.
The OCA was created to work with state agencies to identify issues facing children.
“Generally study and make recommendations for how the Commonwealth should identify and provide services to youth, that have experienced trauma,” OCA policy analyst Lindsay Morgia explained. “and are currently involved with or at risk of future involvement with the juvenile justice system.”
The agency deals with a wide range of issues including, behavioral health, developmental and youth services, as well as child refugee and immigration status.
As an example: the state Department of Youth Services will investigate what factors may be contributing to a child displaying disruptive or disrespectful behavior in school. The DYS findings are then reported to the OCA which makes recommendations to help keep that child out of the juvenile justice system.
In addition to identifying issues facing children, the OCA also contacts agencies to help children stay out of the justice system.