McKee's nominee for child advocate promises 'innovative solutions ... for systemic reform'

For the last decade Katelyn Medeiros has worked one of Rhode Island’s hardest jobs as a watchdog for the hundreds of vulnerable, and often invisible, children in state care.

On Friday, Gov. Dan McKee nominated Medeiros to become Rhode Island’s next child advocate, a role she has been filling in an acting capacity for the last two years.

“Katelyn is a proven and passionate leader who has championed the safety and well-being of Rhode Island children for more than a decade, including the last two years as our state’s acting director,” said McKee. “We know she will serve Rhode Islanders well in this permanent role.”

What is the child advocate's job?

The Office of the Child Advocate monitors the children in the care of the Department of Children, Youth & Families to ensure they receive proper physical, mental and educational support.

The office, which has about 10 employees, investigates cases of child neglect and DCYF protocols to ensure they meet best practices.

And the office is often at the center of driving reforms. For instance, in January it released a scathing, 119-page report on alleged abuses and mismanagement inside St. Mary’s Home for Children, in North Providence. The home is now under new management.

More: DCYF is removing its kids from St. Mary's Home for Children. What comes next?

Medeiros, a lawyer who graduated from Roger Williams University School of Law in 2013 and who previously served as the assistant child advocate, said she was honored to be nominated.

“During the last 10 years, my passion and commitment to this important work has remained steadfast,” she said in a statement. “I will provide continuity to the critical work of our office to ensure the best interest of all children experiencing our child welfare, children’s behavioral health and juvenile justice systems.”

“I believe we have momentum and look forward to identifying innovative solutions necessary for systemic reform.”

Medeiros’ nomination will be submitted to the Rhode Island Senate for advice and consent.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Katelyn Medeiros nominated to be RI's next child advocate

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