ActivePaper Archive Child advocate nomination moves forward to Senate - The Providence Journal, 3/30/2011


Child advocate nomination moves forward to Senate



PROVIDENCE — Regina Marie Costa Gibb, a probation and parole supervisor for the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, won the unanimous approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to be the next state child advocate.

Herappointmentisnowpending a vote before the full Senate.

If approved, Gibb, 51, of Barrington, would replace the current advocate, Jametta O. Alston.

The hearing, which lasted more than an hour and at times turned contentious, began uneventfully with two of Gibb’s colleagues testifying in favor of her nomination, describing her as hard-working and dedicated to the welfare of children.

But when a 23-year-old former DCYF client and self-appointed advocate for children in state care took the witness stand, the hearing became tense.

Nicholas Alahverdian, who endured years of abuse and neglect in two out-of-state residential facilities, denounced Gibb’s qualifications to act as watchdog of the DCYF because, he said, she failed to prevent his mistreatment duringtheyearswhenshewasonthe agency’s legal staff. He is now policy director of NexusGovernment and lobbies for legislation to protect children in DCYF care.

When asked by Sen. Paul V. Jabour, committee vice chairman, whether she had any “personal knowledge” of the problems experienced by Alahverdian, Gibb declined to respond.