Child Welfare Chief Resigns in NYC

The head of the city's child welfare agency, who has presided over some difficult times, has resigned from the post after seven years on the job.

NBC New York was first to report Tuesday that John Mattingly told senior staff last week at the Administration of Children's Services that he plans to leave. Mattingly cited his wife's illness as the reason for his departure.

Mattingly said in a statement that he "reached this difficult decision after much careful thought, taking into consideration my desire to continue contributing to the important work of child welfare, while also wanting to return to Baltimore to spend more time with my family."

During Mattingly's time at the agency, ACS has seen some high-profile failures, including admitted lapses in its management of the cases of two abused children who later died.

In 2006, 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown was beaten and starved by her family, even though her case was known to ACS workers. Last year, 4-year-old Marchella Brett-Pierce was also beaten and starved to death.

Two ACS workers have been charged with criminally negligent homicide, the first time in New York that welfare workers were charged in connection with the death of a child.

Mattingly also sought to implement reforms, including strengthening investigative procedures, reducing caseloads for workers and using retired law enforcement officers on cases.

City Hall declined comment on Mattingly's announcement.

Running the child welfare agency is notoriously difficult. Despite reform after reform, and commissioner after commissioner, children continue to slip through cracks of the bureaucracy.

Mattingly, like his predecessors, has survived many calls for his resignation. Mayor Bloomberg has consistently defended him over the years as a competent and dedicated manager. 

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