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ACS Commissioner Reflects On Reforming The Troubled Agency

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The much-maligned Administration for Children's Services is trying to change its troubled reputation.

ACS Commissioner David Hansell has been implementing reforms since taking over the job in March.

Hansell was hired during a time of intense scrutiny for the agency's handling of multiple cases, including the beating deaths of 6-year-old Zymere Perkins and 3-year-old Jaden Jordan.

"Our responsibility is to do everything in our power to keep every child safe," Hansell said. "It is an awesome responsibility to lead this organization. It's one I take seriously."

The agency, which investigates more than 55,000 child neglect or abuse cases a year, has hired hundreds of case workers.

"We've hired 700 new caseworkers in the past year or so," Hansell said. "We're gonna be hiring another 600 or 700 over the coming year."

The average caseload is now about 10.

ACS also has a program called ChildStat "to determine where we need to focus our resources, where we need to focus our attention, where things aren't working as well as they should be and how we correct them," Hansell said.

He admits when it comes to the most troubling cases, the data tool can only do so much.

"In the end what it comes down to is that human interaction between our child protective worker, the parents and the child that they're working with," Hansell said.

Hansell took over the position left vacant by Gladys Carrion, who resigned last December after several high-profile deaths.

Hansell previously worked for the federal government in the Administration of Children and Families, and also served in the city's Human Resources Administration.

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