Who We Are
Ronald E. Richter
Chief Executive Officer
Ronald E. Richter is CEO and Executive Director of JCCA. A former New York City Family Court judge and Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Richter has dedicated his career to serving at-risk children and families with compassion and respect. Driven by the belief that every child is unique and has the right to realize their full potential, Richter has fought tirelessly to bring life-changing therapeutic services, educational opportunities, and community-based supports to children and families in need across New York.
For three decades, Richter has worked to create a more just child and family services system by placing the utmost value on the wellbeing of each child and family. As JCCA’s CEO and Executive Director, Mr. Richter has expanded JCCA’s academic enrichment and whole-family support services. The success of JCCA’s Early Literacy program, first piloted under Mr. Richter, led to the creation of an entirely new division, LEAP, focused on educational and vocational programming for young people across the agency. Mr. Richter also led JCCA to become a premier provider of in-home and community-based support services for children with complex trauma, chronic illness, or severe emotional disturbance.
As an attorney at The Legal Aid Society and as a New York City Family Court judge, he led by example to move others in positions of power to consider the long history of racism, economic deprivation, injustice and the resulting trauma that tragically causes the majority of families to encounter the child welfare system. At JCCA, Mr. Richter facilitated the development of a comprehensive Race Equity initiative in order to dismantle systemic and institutional barriers to the well-being, stability, and success of the agency’s clients, families, staff, and communities.
During his time leading ACS, Mr. Richter spearheaded a landmark shift in child welfare evidence-based practices geared towards helping parents and children avoid foster care placement, heal from past traumas, and reduce time spent in the system. He fought to keep families together whenever possible, creating the Parent Advocate program to provide immediate individualized support for parents confronted with the prospect of having a child removed. New York City benefited tremendously from the federal IV-E waiver that was negotiated during Mr. Richter’s tenure, which redistributed City funds to dramatically increase investments in therapeutic treatment services, reduce caseloads, and help children reunite with their families sooner. The effectiveness of these initiatives set an example nationwide, reflected in the passage of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act, which prioritizes evidence-based innovations that help ensure children and families remain safely together.
While at ACS, Richter also led the Juvenile Justice Initiative, which reduced the court’s reliance on juvenile detention centers by 200% to instead help children remain at home and receive treatment within their own community. He helped develop and implemented the Close to Home legislation, which ensures that when children cannot remain at home, they can stay as close as possible to their families. A fierce champion for LGBTQ rights, Richter developed new peer support systems for foster youth who identify as LGBTQ and is a vocal advocate for the rights of LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents.
Mr. Richter completed his undergraduate studies at Tufts University and earned Master of Science and law degrees from Boston University. He currently serves on the Mayor’s Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board and Non-Profit Resiliency Taskforce, as a Board Member of ChildTrends, the Human Services Council, Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA), the NYS Coalition of Children’s Behavioral Health, and Chelsea Day School, and is a member of the Child Welfare League of America’s National Commission for Policy and Practice. He lives in New York City with his spouse and daughter.
Mr. Richter has been featured in numerous print, online, and broadcast outlets, including USA Today, The Hill, the New York Daily News, WNYC and appearances on NBC4NY, SpectrumNews1, WNET, and PIX11.
- JCCA, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director 2015 – Present
- Judge, Queens Family Court 2014-2015
- Commissioner, NYC Administration for Children’s Services 2011 – 2013
- Judge, Queens Family Court 2009-2011
- Family Services Coordinator, City of New York 2008
- Deputy Commissioner, NYC Administration for Children’s Services 2005-2007
- Attorney, Legal Aid Society, 1991-2005
- Attorney, Bedford Stuyvesant Community Legal Services 1990-1991