Staff

Moira O’Neill, PhD, RN RN Director

picture of Moira O’Neill, PhD, RN

Moira O'Neill is the first Director of the NH Office of the Child Advocate. She was selected by the Oversight Commission on Children's Services and appointed by Governor Christopher Sununu and the Executive Council in January 2018. A nurse by profession, Moira has experience across all health care settings. She earned Master's degrees in Nursing and Public Health and a PhD at Yale University. The core of her scholarship is policy and management of care systems, program evaluation, diagnosing organizations, building community-based services. For 11 years, Moira served as an Assistant Child Advocate with the CT Office of the Child Advocate.

As the Director of the NH Office of the Child Advocate, Moira sets the mission, vision and priorities for the oversight of New Hampshire's child protection and juvenile justice services. Under her leadership, the Office has instituted a pioneering approach to evaluating child welfare services grounded in safety science as a means for both strengthening and holding systems accountable. Moira takes what is learned from the experiences of children and families themselves to inform advocacy for responsive policies and practices in children's interests.

Emily Lawrence, Associate Director & Counsel

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Emily Lawrence is the Associate Director and Counsel for the NH Office of the Child Advocate. She holds a BA from Barnard College and a JD from New England Law School. Having started her career in early education, Emily brings to her work a deep sensibility for child development. As a law clerk with both the NH Superior and Supreme Courts Emily developed studied expertise in the law and how it is interpreted. All of her experience informs the Office's reviews of DCYF's implementation of the law in the delivery of services and the care and protection of children. Emily consults on the development of new legislation, monitors policy development and its implementation. Her advocacy is informed by the special reviews she conducts when individual cases have system-wide implications.

Jason Taylor Assistant Child Advocate

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Jason Taylor joined the NH Office of the Child Advocate in March of 2020 as New Hampshire's first Assistant Child Advocate. He holds a B.A. from UMass Lowell. Jason brings to the team 15 plus years of experience within child welfare, having previously held positions in the Division of Children, Youth and Families. As Assistant Child Advocate, Jason's focus is working directly with children and all involved parties to ensure that their concerns regarding the system are addressed. The relationships he has built, extensive knowledge of child protection and juvenile justice, and passion for helping youth in New Hampshire bolster the mission of the NH Office of the Child Advocate. In his free time, Jason is a musician and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

Christopher SheehanChildren’s Services Analyst

NHOCA

Chris Sheehan joined the NH Office of the Child Advocate in July of 2021 as the Children’s Services Analyst. Chris obtained his B.S. in Meteorology, minor in Technical Mathematics from Plymouth State University. In his position, he coordinates the collection, analysis, and reporting of data to assess the performance of state and state-funded child serving agencies and programs for children’s best interests. His analytical and data skills from past positions as meteorologist, and director of marketing, combined with a determination to do meaningful service has positioned him well as part of the team. When not at work Chris is usually playing in the mountains on his snowboard or mountain bike.

Karen Kimel Program Specialist

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Karen Kimel earned her A.A. from the New Hampshire Technical Institute and is a Certified Public Manager. She has more than 10 years of experience in managing, training and advising the public, municipalities and state entities on various programs. As Program Specialist, her role is office operations for a small busy office with the same needs as a large department. Her duties include scheduling outreach opportunities and trainings, coordinating travel and meetings, maintaining a case management system and the two office websites, marketing, maintaining the social media platforms, and performing the administrative budget, purchasing and personnel tasks with the assistance of the Department of Administrative Services. A New Hampshire native, she enjoys family time and recently became active with her girls in Girls Scouts.

Caitrin Perry Legal Secretary

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Caitrin Perry earned her B.A. from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. She is currently working on her Masters of Social Work from Capella University. In addition, she is the Secretary for the Capella University Social Work Club, coordinating professional development seminars and outreach opportunities for those looking to promote change within their own communities. As the Office’s Legal Secretary, she is on the front line in data collection, bringing issues and trends in incidents to the Child Advocate’s attention. She also assists with broader investigations and reviews, synthesizes and summarizes research findings for issue briefs, public testimony, presentations and media statements. With her busy, blended family of seven, she enjoys spending free time at the lake and going on surprise adventures exploring New England. She is reminded daily how precious childhood truly is.

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