I am truly honored to have been appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as the new Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services. I have spent most of my career in child welfare and juvenile justice. I look forward to utilizing all that I have learned through my experiences as a Judge of the New York State Family Court, Family Services Coordinator for the City of New York, Deputy Commissioner for ACS’s Division of Family Court Legal Services, and as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society representing children in juvenile delinquency, child protection and parental rights proceedings to help us to build upon the progress we have made to date in the child welfare, child care, and juvenile justice systems.
I realize the tremendous responsibility that the Administration for Children’s Services holds, and it is my commitment to advance the mission of ACS and support the work that our dedicated staff carry out every day.
Serving as a Family Court Judge, seeing firsthand the difficulties and challenges that children and families face, I gained an extraordinary respect for frontline child welfare workers, foster parents, and struggling parents who are the first-line of protection for our City’s most vulnerable children and youth. It is therefore my first priority as Commissioner that we support them through the work of ACS in all of our divisions including child protective investigations, preventive services for families in crisis, foster and adoptive care, child care and Head Start, and juvenile justice services. I look forward to continuing to build upon the progress made in recent years to enhance the quality of child protective investigations, as well as foster care and preventive services. We will also continue to expand upon our efforts to be vigilant and creative about recruiting committed, patient and kind foster families who will treat our young people as they would their own.
Critical to those efforts, ACS has built strong ties over the past several years with our non-profit agency partners in child care, foster care, preventive services, and juvenile justice to deliver high quality services to children, youth, and families. We will continue to strengthen those relationships as our partners are important extenders of ACS without whom we could not be successful.
In recent years, ACS has embarked on important reforms that must continue to move forward. For example, building on the successful integration of the Division of Youth and Family Justice (formerly the Department of Juvenile Justice) with ACS, we will work to enhance the services provided to youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system, while ensuring public safety and improving outcomes. In Child Care and Head Start, we will actualize EarlyLearn NYC, in coordination with providers and union partners, to raise educational standards and increase supports for working families who receive those critical services in New York City. And with our foster care census at record lows, we will advance the goals of One Year Home to ensure that as many children as possible who enter care will achieve permanency within a year, while always ensuring that they remain safe.
I look forward to working with everyone in New York City dedicated to protecting New York City’s children and strengthening families. I know that the challenging work undertaken by ACS requires the assistance and advocacy of our various partners both inside and outside of government.
I am grateful for the enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment of ACS’ workforce. Together, we are committed to providing the highest level of service to New York City’s children, youth, and families each and every day.
Ronald E. Richter