October 20, 2020
PHILADELPHIA – The City’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) announced today that it has selected Kleckner J. Charles to serve as director of its division of Intellectual disAbility Services (IDS).
Charles will pursue the expansion of intellectual disability services and supports and improved outcomes for Philadelphia residents. He will begin in his official capacity on November 2.
“I am honored for the opportunity to join such a great organization (DBHIDS), which is reputed nationally for being innovative. In every new challenge, I see opportunities. For us, these will take the form of greater stakeholder engagement and realignment of our approach. Our goal is to ensure that the children and adults we support remain the central focus of what we do daily — with the ultimate objective that all Philadelphians, regardless of ability or disAbility, can have meaningful relationships and participate as valued citizens,” Charles said.
Charles’ hiring comes after a national search to replace Denise Taylor Patterson. In the interim, Charlotte Wroton has served as director for IDS; she will assume the new role of associate director of IDS on November 2.
“Kleckner Charles brings a wealth of experience to this critically important role,” said Jill Bowen, acting Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. “We look forward to his joining and leading this division as IDS tackles new challenges and coordinates with our exceptional provider network in serving adults and children with intellectual disAbilities and autism, and in support of early intervention efforts for our newborn to 3-year-olds in Philadelphia.”
Charles brings decades of experience with intellectual and developmental disabilities service, having served as Chief Operating Officer for The Arc Putnam New York; Assistant Executive Director for Program Development Services in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Assistant Executive Director for Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families in Brooklyn. Charles also possesses decades of concurrent experience in hospital and behavioral health settings. He has been a staunch advocate for individuals of varying abilities for more than half of his life, sharing that he is most proud of the time he spent working as direct care staff at an intermediate care facility (ICF/ Group home) supporting individuals diagnosed with severe autism nearly three decades ago.
Charles earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Stony Brook University and his master’s in public administration, health administration and long-term care from Long Island University. He recently successfully defended his doctoral capstone research at the University of Southern California, focusing on social and health care innovations. His research work delved into ways to address future challenges related to providing long-term support and services to individuals of varying abilities.