************ STAFF SPOTLIGHT ************



                      PATRICIA A. O’CONNELL          


Pat is an experienced advocate for clients in education, the family court and  community agenciesShe has over fifteen years’ experience with the Arizona Department of Education serving as a Special Education Advocate/Parent for children in Department of Child Safety custody.   She has been recognized for exemplary service as an Education Advocate and Court Appointed Advocate in two states with the ability to remain objective, non-judgmental and maintain a high level of confidentially.


Pat previously worked in a Special Education setting for students with all types of disabilities in Farmington Hills, Michigan.    


She was also part of Arizona Governor Napolitano’s Child Protective Services Reform, Education Workgroup that addressed changes in IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) laws, established CPS education policies, open and continuing communication between agencies and education program improvement and legislation.


As an education advocate, she has attended many 504/MET/IEP (Individual Education Planning) and transition team meetings with educators, childcare service care providers, parents and keeps the student plan for success focused as the most important goal for all.


If you need help navigating the Special Education System, getting your child’s IEP goals met, help with bullying, understanding evaluations, behavior supports, discipline procedures, IDEA regulations, AZ State Education Laws, filing for dispute resolution or a complaint with the Department of Education, our Education Advocate can help! 


If you believe your child's situation meets these conditions and would like to find out if your child qualifies for assistance, please give us a call at: 602-710-1903 or email olivaa@defendersofchildren.org

If our Education Advocate agrees that your child's circumstances appear to meet our criteria, you will be asked to download our Intake Form. Print it out, complete it, and return it along with the supporting documentation to demonstrate your request.  Support documentation includes such information as I.E.P.’s (Individual Education Plans) medical reports, psychological and testing information, report cards, disciplinary/suspension records, and pertinent correspondence.

After our Education Advocate  has  screened your intake package, your child's situation will be reviewed in order to determine if Defenders of Children will take the case. Any partial documents that are submitted will delay the review of your child's case while the caseworker attempts to contact you for the missing pages of a report, etc. Type your paragraph here.