New research finds an appalling 20 to one chasm in net worth between white and black Americans, and an 18 to one gap between whites and Hispanics. The Pew Research Center found that the net worth gap has widened during the Great Recession, mainly because the housing bust disproportionately cut into the wealth of African-Americans and Hispanics. Read more here.
Monthly Archives: July 2011
Much of the credit for a resurgence of the South Bronx and many other neighborhoods around New York should go to a multitude of community groups, many of which scratched and clawed to save their neighborhoods in the 1970s, and grew into remarkably sophisticated operations, capable of leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars in bank investment, says New York Times Columnist Michael Powell. He cites such groups as the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, the Mid-Bronx Desperadoes, UHAB (the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board), Los Sures, St. Nick’s Alliance and Bridge Street Development.
The City Council took action to join a lawsuit attempting to block the Bowery Residents Committee homeless shelter in Chelsea yesterday, as the Department of Homeless Services began moving people into the facility. Read more in the New York Post.
The Bloomberg administration on Wednesday appointed Ronald E. Richter, a Family Court judge with broad experience in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, as the next commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services. Read more in The New York Times.
The announcement late yesterday that John Mattingly was resigning as Commissioner at the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) appears to have surprised most of New York City’s child welfare provider community. Mattingly has led the agency for seven years during which he oversaw a wide range of major programmatic and policy initiatives designed to better serve families and children by reducing the numbers of out-of-home placements, focusing on rapid achievement of permanency goals through reunification or adoption for children placed in care, development of enhanced models for home-based services and dramatically reduced utilization of congregate residential programming.
“After seven years as Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services, I will be stepping down in September to rejoin the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a Senior Fellow,” said Mattingly in a formal announcement. “I reached this difficult decision after much careful thought, taking into consideration my desire to continue contributing to the important work of child welfare, while also wanting to return to Baltimore to spend more time with my family. It has been an honor to work for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and I am very grateful to him for seven years of unwavering support.”
Mayor Bloomberg praised the job that Mattingly had done as ACS Commissioner and expressed regret that he was leaving. “As I’ve said countless times over the last seven years, New York City has been extraordinarily lucky to have a nationally-renowned expert, John Mattingly, ably and tirelessly leading our Administration for Children’s Services,” said Bloomberg. “When John came to us and said he wanted to return to his foundation work in Baltimore and have more time for his family, I asked him to reconsider. Few people have worked harder and more effectively in such difficult circumstances than he has. Under John’s leadership, ACS has adapted many essential reforms that have helped to protect and serve the City’s most vulnerable children. On behalf of more than 8 million New Yorkers, I want to thank John Mattingly for his transformative leadership and wish him and his family the very best in Baltimore.”
Yesterday’s announcement of Mattingly’s resignation – as was often the case during much of his tenure – drew strong expressions of praise by nonprofit agency executives for his passionate advocacy for and implementation of many major and extremely positive systemic changes.
“John Mattingly has provided strong leadership and has made enormous contributions to improving the Child Welfare System in New York City,” said Jim Purcell, CEO of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA). “All New Yorkers owe him their thanks for his efforts to improve the lives of children and families.”
“He will go down in history as the most progressive Commissioner of Children’s Services,” said Anstiss Agnew, Executive Director of Forestdale, Inc. “His resignation marks a huge loss and reflects the turmoil taking place in our country right now.”
“Since he chaired the Marisol panel many years ago and most recently as our Commissioner John has brought incredible commitment and dedication along with an in depth understanding of good casework practice and national trends to the child welfare community in New York,” said Sr. Paulette LoMonaco, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services. “His many reforms include the institution of family team conferences, the shortening of stays in foster care and expansion of preventive services, the integration of juvenile justice and the closing of the notorious Bridges facility. Despite overwhelming cuts to the ACS budgets over the past several years John has managed to preserve front line workers and has developed innovative interventions and practices which have strengthened the delivery of child welfare services.”
“John is a courageous leader,” said Jeremy Kohomban, CEO of The Children’s Village. “He took on a system that needed reform and systematically realigned it to serve children and families in their communities and closest to their local supports. I loved him for his candor, admired him for his tenacity and we will all miss him for his unshakable convictions. New York City’ children and families are safer today because of him.”
“John Mattingly is a deeply committed child welfare professional who has had enormous responsibility for children threatened with abuse and neglect. He has strongly held views about what is best for these young people at risk,” said Paul Levine, CEO of the Jewish Board of Children and Family Services. Levine went on to cite “at least four major contributions” which he credited Mattingly for making during his seven year tenure at ACS, including increased reliance on preventive services, implementation of Family Conferences, and more. “I believe NYC and the children and families that ACS works with are the better for them.”
“New York City’s children have not only benefitted from Commissioner Mattingly’s efforts over the past seven years, but will continue to benefit for years to come from the systemic change the Commissioner brought to the child welfare system,” said Jennifer March-Joly, Executive Director of Citizens Committee for Children of NYC.
“Commissioner Mattingly has focused on the needs of families to create a child welfare system that is dramatically improved from what it was 15 years ago when 50,000 children were in care; today there are fewer than 15,000 children in care,” said David Tobis, Executive Director of The Fund for Social Change. “There are still problems but the underlying one is that the mayor’s office has not provided ACS with sufficient resources to help struggling families. Through Commissioner Mattingly’s efforts New York’s child welfare system is on a high plateau. The question is whether it will return to a rollercoaster ride after his departure.”
Despite the copious praise, however, there were also some criticisms by child welfare executives that Mattingly’s philosophical passion may have led to a potentially negative rigidity in policy implementation. The Commissioner and provider agencies did not always agree on policies regarding what many saw as extremely limited use of residential programming options and excessively short length of stay goals for preventive services. Providers also believe that budgetary constraints gradually eroded the resources necessary to effectively achieve many of the Commissioner’s programmatic goals. Mattingly’s tenure has also been marked by a number of high-profile child fatality cases, one of which has led to the indictment of two ACS staff and the creation of a Brooklyn Grand Jury to explore systemic failures which may have led to the child’s death, and an extremely problematic child welfare contracting procurement process.
Judge Ronald E. Richter will be succeeding John Mattingly as Commissioner at New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Richter’s appointment this morning follows yesterday’s surprise announcement that Mattingly was resigning after having led the agency for seven years. Richter brings 20 years of child services experience to his new post, including serving as a Deputy Commissioner for ACS under Commissioner Mattingly and working in City Hall alongside Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs as the City’s second Family Services Coordinator, where he helped oversee ACS.
“Whenever someone leaves our Administration, it’s our goal to find someone who can do the job even better,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Given Ron Richter’s extensive experience and abilities, we are highly confident we have found that person. Six years ago, John Mattingly hired Ron as a Deputy ACS Commissioner, and together, they instituted major reforms that made the agency far more effective. Now, Ron will build on that progress and help us do even more to protect our City’s most vulnerable children.”
“I am honored that Mayor Bloomberg has asked me to lead New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. Building on the significant progress made by Commissioner Mattingly, I will work tirelessly to protect the City’s vulnerable children while ensuring that troubled families are supported,” said Richter. “Leveraging my experience in Family Court and the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, I am committed to advancing the mission of ACS to protect our young people, to find loving homes for them in foster care, to deliver services that help youth in our juvenile justice system, and to provide high quality child care to the working families of New York.”
The Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA) praised the appointment. “Mayor Bloomberg has made a terrific choice in Ron Richter to be the next Commissioner of ACS,” said CEO Jim Purcell. “We all look forward to working with Ron as he takes on these new challenges.”
“The choice of Judge Richter to be the ACS Commissioner is an exceptional one,” said Jennifer March-Joly, Executive Director of Citizens Committee for Children. “CCC looks forward to working with Judge Richter to further enhance ACS’s ability to keep children safe, as well as ACS’s preventive services, foster care, juvenile justice and child care and Head Start services.”
Richter was appointed to the Family Court bench in 2009. In this role, he led a team to ensure that legal matters affecting children and families received expedited attention. Judge Richter also led the Queens Child Protective Initiative to coordinate efforts to advance prompt permanency for children.
From 1991 to 2002, Judge Richter held attorney roles at the Legal Aid Society, where he worked with ACS and its predecessor agencies, representing children in juvenile delinquency, child protection and parental rights proceedings. As the Deputy Attorney-in-Charge for Legal Aids’ Juvenile Rights Division, he led and managed the nation’s largest direct service children’s advocacy organization and was responsible for a staff of attorneys, socials workers and support staff representing children in social services situations.
In 2005, Richter was appointed by Mattingly to serve as Deputy Commissioner of ACS, where he helped create systemic reforms after the death of Nixzmary Brown. These included implementing weekly accountability sessions to review child safety data, recruiting law enforcement officers into child protection to help with investigative practice and increasing prospective hiring to manage safe caseload limits. He also led and managed the ACS division responsible for representing the Commissioner in all matters before the City’s five family courts. In addition, he developed, implemented and provided oversight to the ACS Juvenile Justice Initiative.
“John Mattingly has inspired countless young and committed child advocates to work smarter, harder, and better as they have matured into true professionals,” said Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs “Ron Richter is exactly the right leader for ACS today. He will hit the ground running, with the same unflappable enthusiasm and deep passion that has guided his career up until now.”
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded New York State more than $113 million in grants to create new charter schools for “high-needs” students. The money will be doled out during each of the next five years. The bulk of the money will be used to fund new charter schools and assist expansion of existing schools, including those that are adding grades. Read more in Newsday.
Advocates look to the case of woman with traumatic brain injury as example of what may be tougher stance in determining whether individuals need assistance. Read more in the Albany Times-Union.
An artist who wants to help immigrants in his New York City neighborhood learn English is offering free classes at his local laundromat. Hector Canonge plans to teach English as a second language at the Magic Touch Laundromat in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood next month. The school is sponsored by The Laundromat Project. See the Associated Press article.