ERIC BRETTSCHNEIDER has enjoyed a distinguished career in child welfare and human services, since his entry into the field in 1967 as a family court intake worker and child care worker. He spent 10 years as director of The Queens Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (now Safe Space) , a non-profit agency, where he concentrated his efforts on complementing foster care and child protective services with preventive strategies. In 1980, he joined the New York State Department of Social Services, where he was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Child Welfare Reform Act. During his tenure as Deputy Commissioner for The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), Eric promoted this progressive vision of comprehensive, preventive services and was instrumental in creating a Child Protective Training Academy; advocating for the avoidance of sibling separation in foster care; starting minority controlled child welfare agencies; and beginning the movement toward decentralized, community driven, and integrated social service provision within that agency. As Executive Director of the Agenda for Children Tomorrow, Eric continued this work on behalf of New York City children and their families.
Mr. Brettschneider holds a B.A. and an M.A. degree in Psychology from ColgateUniversity and the Graduate Faculty of New School University, respectively, as well as a law degree from HofstraUniversity. He teaches in NYU’s Department of Metropolitan Studies, Gallatin School and NYU School of Social Work, and has previously taught at Fordham University and Hunter College School of Social Work. He served as Counsel to Eisner & Associates; chaired the Council on Children of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; was co-chair of the New York City Citizen Review Panel for New York City. He is also on the advisory board of Pipeline/Winning Strategies Project. He chaired the Board of Esperanza, a juvenile justice diversion agency.
He is also a member of the Board of New Yorkers for Children, President of the Viola W. Bernard Foundation and he was the founding President of the advisory board of Jumpstart, New York. Eric is a recipient of the 2005 Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship from Harvard Law School and 2004 winner of NYU’s Outstanding Teaching Award. He served until March on the Advisory Committee to the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet. He was asked to serve on the Casey Family Services Advisory Board in January 2008
From July 2007 to February 2008 Eric was at the United Way of New York City as Interim Senior Vice President. He then served as Special Adviser to the Commissioner of the NYS Office for Children and Families. He was the Assistant Commissioner/Regional Coordinator and Chief of Staff at the NYC Office of the NYS Office of Children & Family Services. He currently serves as Deputy Commissioner for Coordination and Integration of Services of Administration for Children’s Services.
Recently, Eric’s wife, Jeanne Rostaing retired from ABC TV Television News Production. His son, Corey, serves on the Political Science faculty at Brown University. Corey’s wife Allison is an Educational consultant. They became the parents of Sophie in November, 2006. His daughter, Kim, who graduated from Pomona College, was a Director of The Children’s Defense Fund California Office until she and her husband, Patrick, brought their son Alex to New York. Patrick Heppell is now a psychologist at NYU Langone Hospital.