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Qns. Family Court judge heads ACS

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The mayor selected Queens Family Court Judge Ronald Richter to take over as head of the city Administration for Children’s Services after Commissioner John Mattingly steps down in September.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the announcement July 27 and said Richter’s extensive experience, most recently as second-in-line to the commissioner position, made him a logical pick for the job.

“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,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Now, Ron will build on that progress and help us do even more to protect our city’s most vulnerable children.”

Richter cut his teeth as an attorney for the Legal Aid Society, where he represented children in juvenile delinquency and child protection cases from 1991 to 2002, according to the mayor. In that role, he worked closely with ACS and other city agencies, and headed a team of attorneys as deputy attorney-in-charge for the society’s Juvenile Rights Division, which Richter said would help him in his current role as commissioner.

“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,” he said.

Bloomberg appointed Richter as a Family Court judge in 2009, where he led the Queens Child Protective Initiative. The initiative was an effort to give children a sense of permanency as promptly as possible.

The mayor said Richter had to make tough decisions about what to do with children and parents who wound up in court. Often those cases included child abuse, neglect and custodial cases. Richter often had to make the call whether or not a child should be separated from his or her parents.

“Whenever someone leaves our administration, it’s our goal to find someone who can do the job even better,” Bloomberg said. “Given Ron Richter’s extensive experience and abilities, we are highly confident we have found that person.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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