Ronald E. Richter was appointed Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) on September 6, 2011. Established in January 1996 as the first agency in New York City’s history solely devoted to serving children, ACS is responsible for child protective, foster care, adoption, child care and Head Start services. In addition, ACS was given responsibility in 2010 for secure and non-secure detention services for youth in the juvenile justice system (formerly the Department of Juvenile Justice), alternative to placement programming, and for youth designated as juvenile delinquents (JD) or persons in need of supervision (PINS).
Commissioner Richter has worked for two decades on behalf of New York City’s children involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, he served as a Judge in the Family Court of the State of New York, to which he was appointed in January 2009. He presided over child welfare cases and led the Queens Child Protective Initiative to coordinate efforts to advance prompt permanency for children. Prior to that, he served as Family Services Coordinator for the City of New York, ensuring that gaps in services to the City’s most vulnerable populations were identified and eliminated, that the City’s human service agencies were managed efficiently and effectively, and additionally provided oversight to the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Child Welfare and Safety. Commissioner Richter was the ACS Deputy Commissioner for Family Court Legal Services from 2005 to 2007, where he was responsible for representing the Commissioner in all matters before the City’s five family courts.
In his first appointment with the Agency, Commissioner Richter was instrumental in helping to create systemic reforms at ACS, including the first ever ACS strategic plan for LGBTQ youth. He developed, implemented and provided oversight to the ACS Juvenile Justice Initiative which provides intensive, evidence-based services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. As ACS Commissioner, he is committed to building upon the innovative reforms put in place over the last several years including the agency’s use of data to monitor child protection cases, enhancing the quality of child care and early education services, improving relations between ACS and the Family Court, and efforts to realign the City’s juvenile justice system.
Commissioner Richter was an attorney at The Legal Aid Society from 1991 to 2005, where he worked with ACS and its predecessor agencies representing children in juvenile delinquency, child protection and parental rights proceedings. He is a member of the Family Court Advisory Committee of the New York State Supreme Court, First Department, as well as the Council on Children of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He has presented an annual lecture on “Interviewing Children in Child Protective Cases” at Columbia University Law School, and was for several years Program Chair and Lecturer at the Practicing Law Institute.
Commissioner Richter earned his B.A. from Tufts University, his M.S. from Boston University College of Communications and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law. He lives in Long Island City, Queens, with his spouse, Franklin, and their daughter, Maya.