RyancorzineKevin Ryan, right, with Gov. Jon Corzine in 2006.

Fair Haven resident Kevin Ryan, credited with having turned around one of New Jersey’s most trouble-plagued public agencies — the former Division of Youth and Family Services — is leaving the Corzine administration for a new job, the Star-Ledger reports.

The Sledger says the commissioner of the Department of Children and Families “is expected to announce his resignation today, two years after Gov. Jon Corzine tapped him to salvage the floundering effort to reform New Jersey’s child welfare system.”

The reason for the departure, according to two sources who spoke to the Sledger on condition of anonymity: money.

Ryan and his wife, Clare, of Fair Haven, have six children ranging in ages from 2-1/2 to 16, and they are worried about college expenses. Cabinet-level positions pay $141,000 a year.

Ryan declined to comment on his personal situation.

From the story:

Ryan’s appointment – coupled with the creation of a department dedicated to family issues – helped Corzine avert a legal battle with Children’s Rights, a national advocacy group that had petitioned a federal judge to take over the Division of Youth and Family Services.

After two favorable reports from a court monitor overseeing the overhaul of its child welfare agency, Ryan said it’s time to leave.

“I have a lot of confidence in Jon Corzine’s commitment to this child welfare reform effort,” Ryan told The Star-Ledger. “I’ve seen first hand the strong work of the reform team over the last two years, and together that’s a winning combination that can continue to succeed.”

Ryan’s move alarmed Marcia Robinson Lowry, Children’s Rights executive director.

“Two years is too short of a time to expect significant reform,” she said. “We do think he’s made a lot of progress, but they’re far from over the hump. We are very concerned.”

Ryan, a 41-year-old lawyer and formerly the state’s first Child Advocate, said he will depart in about five weeks to oversee philanthropic work in Newark and Africa by the foundation created by multimillionaire and Newark booster Raymond Chambers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Ryan said of his new position with the MCJ Amelior Foundation. His title and duties are still under discussion, he said.

The SLedger also has a link to a 2006 article about Ryan by reporter Susan Livio, who has covered child welfare issues for years.

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