David Hansell, a former Obama Administration official, has been appointed by the mayor to head the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).
Hansell, who has a Yale Law degree, brings to the embattled agency skills beyond social work. According to the press release, he is a “proven manager”. He comes to ACS after a nearly five-year tenure as Managing Director and head of the Global Human & Social Services Center of Excellence at KPMG.
He also has a “data-driven focus” and a reputation for “improving the outcomes” and “delivering social services needed” for at-risk populations, especially vulnerable children and families.
The response to his appointment was immediate, with a host of professionals on the national, state and local levels in the fields of child welfare and social services hailing his appointment.
His work includes prior service in the New York City Government in the Department of Health and the Human Resources Administration, in addition to experience in the private and nonprofit sectors.
“Our most solemn responsibility is to provide vulnerable children with the care and support they deserve,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference yesterday. “David has spent his career on the front lines working with at-risk communities, and I have no doubt he’ll tackle this job with the same focus and intensity that’s defined his career.”
Community Service Society President and CEO David R. Jones said: “It’s often said that the true measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. One of this city’s biggest challenges is protecting children from abuse and neglect. Simply put, we have to do better when it comes to ensuring that child welfare workers on the front lines have the resources, supervision and support they need to perform their jobs. In choosing David Hansell to lead the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, the mayor has selected a seasoned manager who understands how relevant government agencies interact, and that there is no higher priority than the safety of the city’s children.”
“We look forward to working with David, who brings to his new position a lifelong commitment of service to our city’s most vulnerable residents, and a deep understanding of the challenges facing the nonprofit providers whose work is so critical to protecting children and stabilizing families,” said Marla G. Simpson, President & Executive Director of Brooklyn Community Services.
Jacquelyn Kilmer, Esq., CEO, Harlem United said, “Throughout his career, David Hansell has been a committed and tireless advocate for vulnerable populations, working to improve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS, and poor and working-class individuals, families and children. His dedication coupled with his strong management expertise make David uniquely qualified to lead ACS. We applaud the mayor’s choice and congratulate David on this new chapter in his professional life”.
Says Marjorie J. Hill, CEO, the Addabbo Family Health Center: “New York City’s most vulnerable children are in excellent hands.”
But he faces myriad challenges in this specific role. Since the tragic deaths last year of six-year-old Zymere Perkins in September and three-year-old Jaden Jordan in December, two children whose respective families were in the ACS system, the outcry for reforms has intensified.
According to yesterday’s New York Daily News, “The day before Zymere died, the average caseload was 9.2 per worker — well below the target of 12 cases ACS had set “based on national best practice standards”.
The number of “abuse calls” increased to ACS following Zymere’s death. “As a result,” said the Daily News, “workers were juggling the highest caseloads in years — on average, 13.8 cases at any given time”.
Hansell replaces former ACS commissioner Gladys Carrion, who left the agency on February 3. He begins his new position on March 6.
Hansell received his JD from Yale Law School, where he served as an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Haverford College with a BA in Psychology. (BGreen/Legacy)