MANHATTAN — John Mattingly, the Commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services, has issued his resignation, officials announced Tuesday.
Mattingly, whose tenure has been marked with several high-profile failures, said he is leaving to return to his foundation work in Baltimore and spend more time with his family.
"I 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," he said in a statement.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised Mattingly for pushing ACS to adopt "many essential reforms that have helped to protect and serve the city's most vulnerable children."
"As I've said countless times over the last seven years, New York City has been extraordinarily lucky to have a nationally-renowned expert, John Mattingly, ably and tirelessly leading our Administration for Children’s Services,” he said in a statement, adding that when he was approached by Mattingly about the resignation, he asked him to reconsider.
The oft-criticized agency, which is charged with investigating and dealing with reports of child abuse and foster-care placement, has come under fire during Mattingly's term for such high-profile failures as the death of seven-year-old Brooklyn girl Nixzmary Brown, who was found emaciated and beaten in her parents' home. Her mother and stepfather were later convicted of her death.
The most recent incident, which led to calls for Mattingly's resignation, was the death of Marchella Brett-Pierce, 4, of Brooklyn. Brett-Pierce was beaten, drugged and starved in her own home, and was reportedly so emaciated at the time of her death she weighed just 18 pounds.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office took the unprecedented step of charging the girl's caseworker, Damon Adams, and his supervisor, Chereece Bell, with criminally negligent homicide, saying they bore responsibility for the death because they didn't do enough to help her.
Mattingly will serve through September.