(Updated 3:26 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday his appointment of Sarah Eagan, a project director at Hartford’s Center for Children’s Advocacy, as the state’s new Child Advocate.
If confirmed by the legislature, Eagan replaces Jamey Bell, who held the position for just seven months before announcing her departure.
Eagan has worked since 2006 as director of the Child Abuse Project at the Center for Children’s Advocacy. She served as a legislative advocate on child welfare subjects and has represented children in neglect and special education matters, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Holding the Department of Children and Families accountable was part of her job as an attorney at the Center for Children’s Advocacy, so stepping into the position of Child Advocate will seem like familiar territory to some extent.
Eagan bristles at the description of her as a “critic” of DCF. Rather, she describes herself as “an advocate working to ensure our service systems can efficiently meet the needs of abused, neglected or at-risk children.”
She said a big part of her job over the last several years has been to collaborate with many different organizations, service providers, and agency personnel to discuss and implement positive changes for kids.
Rep. Diana Urban, who co-chairs the Children’s Committee, described Eagan as a “tenacious” and “well-informed” attorney who is going to use her position to protect the state’s children.
“She’s not going to be someone to take the position lightly,” said Urban, who was a member of the committee established to interview applicants for the job.
“She’s not going to back down from doing what’s right,” Urban said of Eagan, who will hold one of the few offices in the state that has subpoena power. Urban said she’s confident that Eagan won’t be afraid to use it when necessary.
“Sarah Eagan has extensive experience advocating for the needs of children, particularly those in our society who are most vulnerable and in need of a vocal proponent on their behalf,” Malloy said in a statement.
Eagan said she was grateful for the chance to work on behalf of the Connecticut’s children and families in a new role.
“I look forward to continuing a productive and collaborative working relationship with the many people I have met over the years who care for and about children,” she said in a press release. “The courage of the children I have had the privilege to meet or represent, as well as the dedication and generosity of the adults who care for them, inspire me to serve on their behalf.”
Eagan will start work Sept. 9 on an acting basis until the legislature meets next session to vote on her confirmation.