Early Childhood Development audit follow-up report released

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released a follow-up report to the Early Childhood Development, Education, and Care Fund, which is primarily administered by the Missouri Department of Social Services and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

"Early childhood development programming is an incredibly important component to providing Missouri children with strong foundations that will allow them to excel throughout their lives." Galloway said. "These programs must operate efficiently and use public resources wisely in order to offer the best opportunities possible to children and families across the state."

The initial audit was issued in February 2015 and earned an overall performance rating of "poor." The follow-up report, which does not include an overall rating, highlights the steps the agencies have taken to implement audit recommendations. Four recommendations were selected for review and none have been fully implemented.

Audit findings showed some Early Head Start contractors were paid for services that were not provided.  The follow-up report indicates that the Department of Social Services has taken steps to ensure Early Head Start contractors are only reimbursed for actual costs incurred, however, no steps have been taken to recover funds when contractors do not meet requirements or to recover past overpayments. 

The audit also found safeguards were not in place to prevent duplication of payments. In one example, a school district had billed home visitation services to both the Department of Social Services and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The school was reimbursed by both agencies for the same services provided to the same families. The agencies have started implementing processes to ensure the state is not double paying for services, but the agencies have not attempted to recover the duplicate payments.

The follow-up review was primarily conducted in May and June 2015. The information in the report is deemed accurate through that time.  A link to the complete follow-up report is available here http://www.auditor.mo.gov/AuditReports/AudRpt2.aspx?id=59




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