Westfield Newsroom

Baker names new Child Advocate for Mass.

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday tapped Maria Mossaides, a veteran of child protection programs inside and outside of government, to serve as the state’s new Child Advocate.
Mossaides succeeds Gail Garinger, who has held the post since it was created by the Legislature in 2008. The Child Advocate is charged with independently monitoring compliance with state child welfare laws and advising government officials on ways to improve services to children.
Garinger, a former Juvenile Court judge, had previously announced she would be stepping down from the position and on Thursday was named by Attorney General Maura Healey to head her office’s new Child and Youth Protection Unit.
One of Garinger’s final acts as Child Advocate was the release Wednesday of an interim report critical of the management of the state Department of Children and Families. Among other things, the report said department caseworkers were being set up for failure because they could not juggle the increasing volume of cases being assigned. A final report is due in November.
Mossaides currently serves as executive director of Cambridge Family and Children’s Services. From 2012-2014, she also chaired the board of directors of the Children’s League of Massachusetts.
A lawyer, Mossaides previously held senior positions in state government, including in the Executive Office of Health & Human Services, and was a consultant to the U.S. Office of Civil Rights on providing equal education opportunities for all children.
“She has the knowledge, passion and integrity to provide an independent voice, ensuring children are safe and receive timely, quality services,” said Baker in a statement.
The governor also thanked Garinger for her “tireless efforts” on behalf of children and their families.

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