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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE OFFICE OF THE CHILD ADVOCATE

      Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide for the office of the child advocate, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.     

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Chapter 18C of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 3, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
     Section 3.  The office of the child advocate shall be under the direction of the child advocate.  The child advocate shall be the administrative head of the office and shall devote full-time to the duties of the office. The child advocate shall be appointed by a majority vote of the attorney general, the state auditor and the governor from a list of 3 nominees submitted by a nominating committee to recommend a child advocate. The nominating committee shall consist of: the secretary of health and human services; the commissioner of children and families; the commissioner of youth services; the commissioner of mental health; the executive director of the child abuse prevention board; a pediatrician experienced in treating victims of child abuse who shall be designated by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; a child psychiatrist who shall be designated by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, Inc.; a child psychologist who shall be designated by The Massachusetts Psychological Association, Inc.; a representative from the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Inc.; a representative of an organization that advocates on behalf of children at risk of abuse who shall be designated by the Children’s League of Massachusetts, Inc.; an attorney experienced in care and protection cases who shall be designated by the Massachusetts Bar Association; a social worker who shall be designated by the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Inc.; a person with experience in the juvenile justice system who shall be designated by the chief justice of the juvenile court department and a representative of organized labor who shall be designated by the president of a collective bargaining unit that represents social workers. The work of the nominating committee shall be coordinated by the executive office of health and human services.
     Any person appointed to the position of child advocate shall be selected without regard to political affiliation and on the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in child welfare, juvenile justice, auditing, law, management analysis, public administration and investigation or criminal justice administration. The child advocate may, subject to appropriation, appoint such other personnel as the child advocate deems necessary for the efficient management of the office.
     The child advocate shall serve for a term of 5 years. In case of a vacancy in the position of the child advocate, a successor shall be appointed in the same manner for the remainder of the unexpired term. No person shall be appointed as child advocate for more than 2 full terms.
     The child advocate may be removed from office for cause by a majority vote of the attorney general, the state auditor and the governor.  Such cause may include substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct or conviction of a crime. The cause for removal of the child advocate shall be stated in writing and shall be sent to the clerks of the senate and house of representatives and to the governor at the time of removal and shall be a public document.
     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect as of July 1, 2016.

Approved, July 22, 2016.