NEW YORK—Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio appointed Gladys Carrion as the commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) on Sunday.
Carrion will oversee a gamut of children’s services including foster care, adoption services, juvenile justice, and child welfare.
Carrion has most recently been credited for overhauling a broken juvenile justice system as commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. She was born and raised in the South Bronx and started her career at Bronx Legal Services, helping families from one of the poorest congressional districts in the nation.
On Jan. 1, Carrion will replace the current Commissioner of ACS Ronald Richter, who was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2011.
De Blasio oversaw ACS when he served as chair of the General Welfare Committee in the City Council from 2002 to 2009. The mayor-elect said on Sunday that while he cared for other agencies as committee chair, he had a “particular feeling about ACS.”
“To me this is an agency that is charged with literally some of the most important work a government does,” de Blasio said as the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side. “If we consider the children the most precious part of our society and if we believe the government is here to protect people, then there is no higher calling than protecting children.”
During de Blasio’s tenure as chair of the General Welfare Committee, the death of seven-year-old Nixzmary Brown in 2006 shook the city and ACS to the core. De Blasio on Sunday called Nixzmary’s death “a real wake-up call” and said that he worked with the current administration to reform ACS, including hiring more case workers, but noted that more work lies ahead.
“I know that we still, persistently, as a city and a society, miss opportunities to protect children and we must do better,” de Blasio said.
Both de Blasio and Carrion said that they would focus on expanding preventative measures instead of reacting to tragedies like that of Nixzmary Brown.
Carrion will oversee a $2.7-billion budget as commissioner of ACS. De Blasio said that while a final budget is still pending, he believes the agency has sufficient funding to carry out its mission.