The Senate Finance Committee is holding a confirmation hearing on Tuesday on the nomination of Lynn A. Johnson to be the next Assistant Secretary for Family Support (formerly Administration on Children and Families). As the Senate was preparing to move forward on the Assistant Secretary position, the Administration was nominating Elizabeth Darling to be the next Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). Darling is currently the President and CEO of the OnStar Foundation.
Lyn Johnson has been serving as the executive director of the Jefferson County (Colorado) Department of Human Services. She was nominated in July 2017 to fill a position that has not been officially been filled with a confirmed Assistant Secretary since Carmen Nazario was approved in September 2009 during the Obama Administration
The Assistant Secretary oversees a range of HHS human services including child care, Head Start, child welfare, TANF, aging programs and many more. Elizabeth Darling as the next Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) will oversee the Children’s Bureau (Jerry Milner) and the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) (Naomi Goldstein).
The Children’s Bureau covers all child welfare funding (Title IV-E, Title IV-B, CAPTA) while FYSB) covers Runaway and Homeless Youth programs, Family Violence Prevention Services and Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Jerry Milner will be meeting with CWLA members during the National Advocacy Convening on Wednesday April 25.
Darling, currently the President & CEO of OneStar in Texas, is not new to Washington having served in the President George W. Bush Administration from 2001 to 2005 as the head of the then-new Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at HHS. From 2005 into the Obama Administration in March of 2009, she was the COO of the Corporation for National and Community Services—the independent agency created in the Clinton Administration that acts more like a foundation to fund and promote national service. She has served at OneStar since her 2009 departure from Washington. OneStar is the Texas version of AmeriCorps.
The Commissioner of ACYF requires Senate confirmation (as does the Assistant Secretary). If she does successfully make it through that process it would be the first time that an Administration has had both a Commissioner of ACYF and heads of the Children’s Bureau and Family and Youth Services Bureau all at the same time since the George W. Bush Administration with the Obama Administration shifting between appointment to either ACYF or the Children’s Bureau or a hybrid combination.