Moira O’Neill, PhD, RN Director

picture of Moira O’Neill, PhD, RN

Moira is the first Director of the NH Office of the Child Advocate. She was vetted by the Oversight Commission on Children's Services and appointed by Governor Christopher Sununu in January 2018. A nurse by profession, Moira worked across a variety of health care settings. After earning Master's degrees in Nursing and Public Health at Yale University, Moira began her career with children at the Yale Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs. Her advocacy work at Yale lead to 11 years of service with the CT Office of the Child Advocate. During that time she returned to to Yale to earn a PhD. Her award-winning dissertation examined state child advocate and ombudsman offices. She is grateful for the opportunity to put experience and scholarship to work on this new and important office. Moira loves hiking throughout New England and has been a Ridge Runner in Acadia National Park.

Emily Lawrence, Associate Director & Counsel

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Emily earned her B.A. from Barnard College in 1996. Following her graduation, she taught kindergarten and early childhood education for several years. She then received her J.D., magna cum laude, from New England Law School in 2003. Prior to starting at the Office of the Child Advocate, Emily worked for over 10 years as a law clerk with the New Hampshire court system both at the Superior and Supreme Courts. As a law clerk, Emily researched and composed draft orders and opinions on cases involving child abuse and neglect, family, juvenile, constitutional, civil, administrative, land use, civil rights, and criminal matters. Emily is an active member of the New Hampshire Women's Bar Association's Public Service Committee. She also runs a small group to build leadership, confidence, and relationship skills in young girls at her children's elementary school.

Karen Kimel Program Specialist

picture of Karen Kimel

Karen graduated in 2000 with her A.A. from the New Hampshire Technical Institute and is a Certified Public Supervisor. A Concord native, she enjoys family time with her husband and young children and being out and about in the community. She has had diverse work experience including Telecommunications Technician for E911, Supervisor of the Municipal Agent Desk for the Department of Safety, and Hearings Coordinator for the Department of Transportation. Karen has many years experience in training and advising the public, municipalities and state entities on various programs. She looks forward to bringing these skills to the Office of the Child Advocate to help children and families.

Oversight Commission on Children's Services

RSA-G:19 established the Oversight Commission on Children's Services with the following obligations:

  • Recommend qualified candidates to the governor for appointment as Director of the Office of the Child Advocate
  • Provide oversight of the Office of the Child Advocate
  • Collaborate with the Office of the Child Advocate to identify and promote best practices
  • Receive the Child Advocate’s Annual Report and ensure its dissemination

The Oversight Commission is made up of a wide variety of experts in policy, children's services, child advocacy, the courts and public safety who each serve a three-year term. Current members include:

  • Senator Sharon Carson
  • Senator Bette Lasky
  • Representative Daniel Itse
  • Representative Skip Berrien
  • David Boutin (Chair)
  • Joanne Ruel
  • Representative Debra Altschiller, HAVEN NH
  • Nancy Phillips, Nancy Phillips Associates, Inc.
  • Honorable Susan Ashley, Rochester District Court
  • Michelle Wangerin, JD, New Hampshire Legal Services
  • Chief Enoch Willard, New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Chief Robert Browne, New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Nancy Rollins, Easter Seals
  • Marty Sink, CASA
  • Keryn Bernard-Kriegl, New Hampshire Children's Trust
  • Joy Barrett, Granite State Alliance