Nonprofits optimistic about David Hansell’s “strong management”

Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed KPMG executive David Hansell to replace former Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion, who officially stepped down earlier this month following a string of deaths and high-profile abuse cases.

At the Feb. 21 press conference announcing his appointment, Hansell said his worldview was shaped while serving as director of legal services and deputy executive director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in the 1990s as it responded to the AIDS crisis.

“That experience showed what happens when government takes a callous attitude towards those who need its help the most,” he said. “But it also showed me the good that government can do when it cares for the most defenseless among us.”

The challenges facing ACS, which looks into as many as 60,000 cases per year, are daunting. Hansell said that when he begins on March 6, he would review how the agency works to protect children who may be at risk, responds to cases in which children have been mistreated or neglected and collaborates with the NYPD.

Some nonprofit leaders expressed optimism that the former government official, who has worked as a human services consultant since 2012, would help reform the embattled agency.

Jeremy Kohomban, president and CEO of The Children’s Village, told New York Nonprofit Media there were three major benchmarks that he would use to gauge Hansell’s ultimate success: whether the agency implemented reforms backed by the New York City Department of Investigation and other probes, whether it invested in paying preventive workers better wages and whether it supported communities and neighborhoods where children are more at risk of abuse or neglect.

“The current crisis of the past two years is unprecedented in duration and escalation,” Kohomban said, noting that even in some of the most stressful days of the child welfare service in the 1990s, there hadn’t been a state monitor. However, Kohomban said, “I can’t see the monitor being an impediment to success because we’ve got a great track record of working together as a city and a state.”

“What we need at ACS is strong management,” he added. “We need someone to really get us through this crisis.”

After a probe of the circumstances leading to the death of 3-year-old Jaden Jordan, the city Department of Investigation said last month that there were several systemic issues of staffing and training at ACS, particularly with emergency workers on weekend or night duty. That followed numerous reports of agency failures by the DOI and City Comptroller Scott Stringer over the past year. After the state questioned the city’s handling of the agency, the state Office of Children and Family Services selected Kroll Associates to monitor the agency’s response to high-risk cases.

Adding to the concerns, average caseloads for front-line workers rose from 9.2 cases to 13.8 cases over several months at the end of last year following high-profile child deaths that prompted many to call the agency and report potential problems, according to the Daily News.

Despite the present challenges, both City Hall and advocates said there have been some successes. The number of children in the foster care system now is about 10,000, one-quarter of what it was 20 years ago, and it is providing 46,000 children with preventive services. De Blasio also said it has recently hired more than 600 child protective specialists to respond to and investigate reports of child abuse or neglect.

Hansell comes to the position with a wealth of government experience. He worked for the city’s health department in the 1990s and, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he was chief of staff for the city Human Resources Administration. In 2007, he was appointed commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, overseeing a $5 billion agency, according to the mayor’s office. He served in former President Barack Obama’s administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2009 to 2011, where he managed child welfare, economic support and early childhood education programs. He also worked as a consultant for Case Commons, where he helped adopt a case management system for child welfare work.

“He has a personal strength to understand that no matter how daunting a social problem he deals with, it’s his job to make a difference, and he knows he can,” de Blasio said, noting that Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Herminia Palacio made the initial selection of Hansell.

The mayor’s office released a statement with positive reactions from nonprofit leaders including Jess Dannhauser, president and CEO of Graham Windham; Bill Baccaglini, president and CEO of the New York Foundling; and Susan Stamler, the executive director of United Neighborhood Houses.

Jennifer March, the executive director of the Citizens’ Committee for Children, who first encountered Hansell when he worked at the HRA, thought that his experience across different levels of government could serve ACS well. One important element, she said, was to continue the progress the agency has made in early childhood education and juvenile justice.

“In terms of the child welfare work, I think it’s a real opportunity to take a deep breath and really try to strategically plan what needs to happen in the short term, to bring calm, and really create a sense of support and morale that is needed across the system,” she said.

Jim Purcell, CEO of Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies – an umbrella organization for more than 100 child welfare service providers – said the general consensus from numerous providers was that Hansell was a good listener and manager.

“Child welfare is an extremely challenging arena where both public and private agencies must work closely together to both protect children and strengthen families,” he said. “We look forward to working with David Hansell, who some of us know as a smart, committed leader, who listens well and cares deeply for the children and families of New York City.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.