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DES director speaks to Congress about low-income safety net

DES Director Clarence Carter (Photo from Arizona Department of Economic Security website)

CPS Director Clarence Carter (Photo from Arizona Department of Economic Security website)

Clarence Carter, executive director of the Department of Economic Security in Arizona, spoke in Washington today with a goal of improving the safety net system for low income families.

The hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means was called to review what doesn’t work and needs to be changed within the current safety net system to better assist these individuals and families.

“Our safety net system is not a system at all,” Carter told the committee. It is made up individual programs with no shared vision, funding or rules, he said. This creates competing objectives and ultimately the failure to address the central issue of helping families get back on their feet, he added.

Carter also believes there is a logistical problem with how safety net services and benefits are provided to those in need. He noted that he doesn’t have to go to a bank anymore to get money, and people should not have to go physically to obtain these services either.

Arizona’s goal through its safety net system is to increase the capacity of individuals and in turn reduce their dependency on government support by helping them integrate into the community and develop stable working families, Carter said.

He repeatedly returned to his point that these programs need to work together toward a common goal in order to better assist families in need.

“Singularly these programs don’t achieve these objectives,” Carter said, “They need to have a collective intent to be successful.”

With a uniform focus and goal set among individual programs there would be amazing results for the entire system, Carter said.

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