Nazario Leaves ACF to Care for Husband

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Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Carmen Nazario resigned on July 19 from the top job at the Administration for Children and Families, to deal with the illness of her husband Alexis.

David Hansell, Nazario’s principal deputy assistant secretary, will serve as acting assistant secretary.

Some Washington insiders said they knew in advance of Nazario’s plans to leave.   HHS did not announce the change publicly, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained Nazario’s departure in an e-mail to ACF staff.

“Carmen has been in communication with Bill Corr and me about her husband Alexis’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and the possibility that she may need to return with him to Puerto Rico where she can better manage his care and quality of life,” Sebelius wrote. 

Alexis Nazario is a retired lawyer, and former U.S. Air Force pilot.

Nazario was nominated in May of 2009, but was among the list of President Obama’s nominees who took a long time to receive Senate confirmation. She was confirmed in September of 2009. Before joining the administration, she was an assistant professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, where she taught social policy and coordinated the Social Work Practicum at the School of Social Work.

Hansell joined the administration in June of 2009. Prior to that, he served as  commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for two years.

This is his second time serving as acting assistant secretary; he was placed in that role during Nazario’s wait for confirmation.