In May of 2015, Ronald E. Richter became the CEO of JCCA, a nationally recognized child welfare organization founded in 1822. He spent the prior 25 years on behalf of New York’s vulnerable children as a Legal Aid Lawyer, City Hall staffer, Commissioner of ACS and family court judge. Originally founded to serve Jewish orphans in the early 19th century, JCCA has evolved into one of New York’s premier child and family serving organization, providing preventive, mental health, and foster and residential care to almost 17,000 individuals annually, employing 1,200 full time staff with an annual budget of $110 million.
Mr. Richter was appointed in 2016 by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve on the Advisory Board of the NYC Children’s Cabinet. He is also a member of the New York State Judicial Commission on Justice for Children and NYC Bar Association’s Council on Children.
Richter was appointed to the Family Court bench twice by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and sat in a child protective part (January 2009 – August 2011) and family violence/custody part (January 2014 – January 2015) in Queens County, meting out justice for New Yorkers in the City’s most diverse borough, with a dense population of new immigrants who face myriad challenges.
Between 2011 and 2013, Richter led NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the $2.8B public agency at the heart of child and youth safety, permanency and well-being – encompassing child welfare, juvenile justice, and early care and education. During his tenure at ACS, Richter introduced evidence-based, foster care practice models for the first time, and helped secure flexibility in Federal IV-E funding; led the introduction of evidence-based practice child welfare preventive arena; was deeply involved in drafting and implementing Close to Home, the landmark law that ensures young people remain in their communities, near their families when they have delinquency cases; ensured that parents are offered an advocate prior to the agency deciding whether to remove children, a national first. The agency experienced a 60% reduction in foster care entries among children who entered care for 10 days or less during his tenure.
While at ACS between 2005 and 2007 as a deputy commissioner, Richter led the development of the City’s largest, evidence-based program to divert young people from out home placement on delinquency cases, the Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI). This program resulted in a 200% reduction in the use of out-of-home placement between 2006 and 2013, a trend that continues today.
Prior to working as a judge and for the city, Richter was a lawyer for thirteen years with The Legal Aid Society, serving between 2002 and 2005 as the Deputy Attorney-in-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice. He began his career as a staff lawyer with Bedford Stuyvesant Community Legal Services in 1990.
Richter earned his B.A. from Tufts University, his Master of Science in Mass Communication from Boston University College of Communications and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law.