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PR- 178-04
July 6, 2004


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the appointment of John B. Mattingly as Commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services (ACS), the agency responsible for child welfare services including child protective, foster care, adoption and child care. Mattingly, a nationally recognized leader in child welfare reform, is credited with developing the "Family to Family" model, which was an integral part of New York City's reform effort and includes principles, strategies, and tools to confront the real problems faced by child welfare systems across the country.  Over the past five years, Mattingly has worked closely with ACS, serving as one of five members of the New York City Special Child Welfare Advisory Panel. The Panel was first established under terms of the settlement of the federal Marisol class action lawsuit, and their work helped to end two child welfare class action lawsuits Marisol and Wilder against the City in December 2001.

"John Mattingly is well-known to the New York City children's services community of practitioners and advocates, and we are incredibly fortunate that he has decided to join our team," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Our Administration for Children's Services is hailed across the country as a leader in the effort to reform child welfare services, and John played an integral role in guiding the agency along that steady course to success.  But we can and will do much more. This City has the right to expect its child welfare, child care, and Head Start programs to continue to be the best in the country, and that's what we intend to accomplish in the coming years under John Mattingly's leadership. This is an exciting moment in the history of children's services - both locally and nationally - and I believe we can continue to set new standards, and take New York City's reform effort to the next level, and I have every confidence that John will meet and exceed this challenge.

"I am deeply grateful to Mayor Bloomberg for the trust he has placed in me, to take on this most important mission of protecting New York's abused and neglected children and providing quality child care and Head Start services for the City's working families," said John Mattingly. "Knowing from personal experience the business of child welfare both in New York and other cities around the country, I have no illusions that this will be an easy task. On the other hand, I also have seen the progress made by Commissioner Scoppetta and Commissioner Bell in the past eight years, and I hope to build on that work in the coming years." 

"John deserves well-earned congratulations on his appointment as this is truly an exciting opportunity to contribute to the continued improvement of the City's child welfare services," said Douglas W. Nelson, President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national foundation headquartered in Baltimore that is dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children and their families. "I know that John will bring to ACS the energy, commitment, dedication, and expertise that has earned him the respect of his colleagues across the country.  John's contributions to the Casey Foundation's work have been significant. While he'll be missed, we also know that he's the right person for this job. New York has made a great choice."

"John Mattingly is clearly the right person for the job, coming to New York City with a demonstrated record of accomplishments and expertise in the field and a long history of success in national child welfare reform efforts," said Gail B. Nayowith, Executive Director, and Citizens' Committee for Children of New York. "John is no stranger to New York City's child welfare system or the issues confronting the city's vulnerable children and families. It speaks volumes about the Mayor's commitment to child welfare and childcare services that the search for a new ACS Commissioner could have attracted so able a candidate for this important position. We are delighted that John Mattingly has signed on as the new ACS Commissioner and look forward to working with him."

Prior to his appointment, John Mattingly was Director of Human Service Reforms at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. At the Foundation, Mattingly designed and managed the "Family to Family" foster care initiative, and was also the Foundation's team leader for child welfare policy.  The "Family to Family" initiative focuses on strengthening the network of families available to care for abused and neglected children in their own communities; building partnerships with at-risk neighborhoods toward that end; and tracking outcomes for children and families, so that child welfare systems can better learn from their experiences. In addition to serving as a member of the New York City Special Child Welfare Advisory Panel from 1998 to 2001, he also mediated a class action case against the State of Tennessee in 2001 and convened a similar panel currently operating in that state. 

ACS has made dramatic strides forward in protecting New York City's children and strengthening families.  Today, there are approximately 21,000 children in foster care - 23,000 fewer than in 1996.  Foster care admissions are down significantly: there were 6,500 admissions in 2003, an 18% decline from 2002, and a 29% decline from 2000. Today, at nearly 34,400, the number of children living safely with their families through the support of in-home preventive services outpaces the number of children in foster care by more than 13,000.  ACS finalized 3,121 adoptions for children in foster care last year. And significant improvement has been made in the provision of quality childcare and Head Start services. ACS currently provides subsidized child care to approximately 60,000 children between the ages of birth to 12 years, and Head Start services to over 17,700 children between the ages of 3-5.

Chair of Mayor's Committee on Appointments Nat Leventhal led the search for a successor. ACS Deputy Commissioner of Foster Care and Preventive Services Lisa Parrish will serve as Acting Commissioner until August 15th.


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

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