Former Arizona Agency Director Lands Post in Trump Administration

The Trump administration, already off to a tumultuous start, adds another individual with a checkered past. Clarence Carter, former head of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, has accepted the position of director of the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Family Assistance.

Under George W. Bush, Carter was in charge of federal food stamp programs and ran the social services agency in Virginia prior to his time in Washington. Carter was named director of Department of Economic Security back in November 2011 and served until his resignation in January 2015. During his tenure, the department was rocked by scandal revealing thousands of child abuse and neglect cases had been ignored. Internal investigation of the department’s Child Protective Services showed that more than 6,000 cases were never looked at. Jan Brewer, governor at the time, shut down CPS and replaced it with Department of Child Services, an independent entity from the Department of Economic Security.

At least five child welfare supervisors were fired as a result of a four-month investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Carter was not implicated on the reports and the new director provided no indication that Carter knew of the practice of thousands of reports of child abuse and neglect being deliberately set aside and marked Not Investigated. He was interviewed twice by DPS investigators and told them he didn’t know of the NI process until the head of the Office of Child Welfare Investigations, Greg McKay, told him in November. The report did show that despite having the knowledge of the process, Carter didn’t move fast enough to alert Gov. Brewer and instead, McKay went right into action.

Until last June, Carter was involved in the Institute for the Improvement of the Human Condition, an institute he started trying to launch a program he worked on at DES. Carter will oversee a $17 billion budget for programs such as child care, refugee resettlement and TANF, a cash-aid program for low-income families. 

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