moira o'neill

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The Office of The Child Advocate, established in 2018 as an independent agency to oversee the Division of Children, Youth and Families, issued its first annual report recently. Among its recommendations:  The state should fund more DCYF staff to help relieve overloaded case workers – a problem that has long beset the agency. But OCA Director Moira O'Neill says the job of protecting children includes the broader community -- though not all Granite Staters may realize they're required by law to report suspicions of child neglect and abuse.  

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New Hampshire’s Office of Child Advocate is endorsing a bill to create 77 positions to better protect children.

Moira O’Neill says 57 of those positions are for child protective service workers. The rest are for supervisors.

The Senate Finance Committee has a hearing on the legislation Tuesday. It would cost about $8.5 million over two years, with $2.5 million coming from federal funds.

A proposal to strengthen New Hampshire's new office of the child advocate has the support of the division it monitors, though the governor is reserving judgment for now.

Lawmakers created the watchdog agency as part of larger effort to reform the Division of Children, Youth and Families, which has been under scrutiny since two toddlers were killed in 2014 and 2015.

The department of health and human services and DCYF support an amended bill to enhance the office, while a spokesman for Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says he is closely monitoring it.