Attorney Suzanne Miles-Gustave takes over this year as New York’s acting commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services.
Quietly announced on the state’s website last month, Miles-Gustave will now lead all juvenile justice and child welfare matters throughout the state.
Miles-Gustave joined the agency in 2014 as a general counsel and deputy commissioner. She has also led the agency’s division of legal affairs and advised the New York governor’s office on all statutory, regulatory, compliance and risk issues.
In announcing the temporary appointment, spokesman Syed Solomon said in a statement: “Suzanne Miles-Gustave, Esq., is an exceptional leader who will continue to protect the permanency of New York’s children, families and historically marginalized communities during this time of transition for the agency.”
The office she now runs oversees services for New York’s children, youth, families and vulnerable populations, and is charged with protecting them from violence, neglect, abuse and abandonment. The agency runs a system of family support, juvenile justice, youth development, child care and child welfare services it describes as “developmentally appropriate, family-centered and family-driven, community-based, locally responsive, and evidence and outcome based.”
The agency is responsible for foster care, adoption and child protective services, as well as programs serving vulnerable adults, blind populations and the needs of Indigenous state residents. It’s also responsible for the state’s juvenile justice programs, administering and managing a network of residential facilities.
Miles-Gustave graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo and obtained her law degree from Fordham University. Early in her career, she clerked on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, served as assistant district attorney for the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and headed strategic initiatives for the New York City Department of Education.
She currently serves on the New York Cannabis Advisory Board.
Miles-Gustave succeeds Shelia Poole, who resigned on Dec. 29, after spending 15 years working for the Office of Children and Family Services.
State officials said there is an ongoing search for the agency’s next commissioner, who must be nominated by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and confirmed by the state Senate.
This article was updated on Jan. 5, 2023.