OCA: About Us

About Us

Programs and Services

The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) is not an administrator of programs. Rather, the OCA monitors and evaluates public and private agencies that are charged with the protection of children, and reviews state agency policies and procedures to ensure they protect children's rights and promote their best interest.  OCA helps to:

  • advocate for children at risk;
  • address public policy issues concerning juvenile justice, child care, foster care, and treatment.
  • review individual cases and investigate complaints;
  • educate and inform the public of laws and services affecting families and children who are placed under state supervision;
  • coach families, concerned citizens, and agencies to "navigate" public service and information systems and advocate for children effectively;
  • review facilities and procedures of public or private institutions or residences where juveniles are placed; and
  • facilitate change by bringing different agencies together to find creative solutions to difficult problems. 

Sarah Eagan was appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to serve as Connecticut's Child Advocate on August 1, 2013.  As Child Advocate, Sarah sets priority reviews for the OCA, manages office operations, and publishes vital information regarding the well-being of children and recommendations for system reform.  Prior to this appointment, Sarah served for several years as the Director of the Child Abuse Project at the Center for Children's Advocacy in Hartford, Connecticut.  During her years at the Center, Sarah worked to ensure that abused, neglected or special-needs children receive the safety, emotional support, services and education that they need and deserve.  Sarah has represented numerous clients in trials, mediations, administrative matters and appeals.  Sarah worked to improve service systems for children and their families through participation in various taskforces and working groups, addressing issues such as public access to juvenile proceedings and improving educational outcomes for children in state custody.  Sarah has developed training curricula and conducted multiple seminars on education and child welfare law.  Sarah has actively participated in drafting and seeking passage of legal reforms to improve outcomes for at-risk children and their families.  Prior to working at the Center for Children's Advocacy, Sarah worked as a litigation associate at Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford, Connecticut.  Sarah earned a degree in American Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Mickey Kramer, MS, RN,  joined the Office of the Child Advocate on July 1, 1998.  Initially hired as an Assistant Child Advocate, she was promoted in 2004 to the position of Associate Child Advocate.  Prior to 1998, Mickey worked for the Department of Children and Families as a Regional Resource Group nurse, consulting on childrenís health issues in the regional office. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kramer worked for many years in the community as a maternal-child health specialist.

As Associate Child Advocate, Mickey oversees and manages the child focused operations of the OCA, including ombudsman activities and much of the office's investigatory work.  She represents the Child Advocate on numerous committees, work groups and task forces charged with examining and improving the delivery of state funded services to children.   

Mickey graduated from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and earned a Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Connecticut.



Julie McKenna joined the Office of the Child Advocate as an Assistant Child Advocate in July 1999. Previously, she was employed by the State Department of Children and Families as a Childrenís Services Worker at Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth. Julie serves as the lead responder for the OCA to the public when there are concerns regarding the provision of state funded services to children.  She assists those who contact the office in understanding and navigating complex public systems, and assesses each concern for possible violations of policy, law or best practice standards. 

Ms. McKenna is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.



Heather Panciera joined the Office of the Child Advocate in December 2001.  Heather serves as the lead for OCA on matters related to children, youth and young adults in residential facilities and congregate care settings, including investigating concerns regarding the provision of state funded services and supports. She advocates both for the individual needs of children, youth and young adults, and for necessary systemic reforms to help these systems be more effective, efficient and accountable.

Prior to joining OCA, Heather worked for 10 years at the Department of Children and Families.

Heather holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut School of Family Studies.


Faith Vos Winkel joined the Office of the Child Advocate in July 2001.  Faith serves as the lead for the OCA on matters relating to child fatality review and prevention.  She convenes the Connecticut Child Fatality Review Panel (CFRP) each month which reviews all unexpected and unexplained child deaths.  Faith is the Child Advocate's principal investigator on any in-depth child fatality investigation requested by the CFRP, the Governor, the General Assembly or conducted at the Child Advocate's discretion.

Child fatality reviews focus on the examination of systems and opportunities to improve policies and practices to prevent additional tragedies from occurring. Faith represents the OCA on numerous statewide committees and national initiatives focused on prevention of child injury and death.

Prior to working at OCA, Faith worked at the State Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities for 15 years, advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. 

Faith holds a Bachelorís degree from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.



Virginia Brown joined the Office of the Child Advocate in June 2016.  Previously, she worked in various public and private settings, including as an associate at Day Pitney in West Hartford.

As OCAíS Staff Attorney, Virginia provides legal advice and guidance to the Child Advocate and staff on matters under review and/or investigation by the Office of the Child Advocate.
Virginia earned a Bachelorís degree in English Literature from the University of Saint Joseph, a Masterís degree in English Literature from Trinity College and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law.