Investigation Into Allegations of Wrongdoing by Cascade County Housing for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc.

HRD-80-108: Published: Aug 22, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1980.

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GAO audited the Cascade County (Montana) Housing for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc. (CCHDD), because of alleged program abuses. Allegations included that CCHDD failed to meet its clients' basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and medical care; falsified client data for Government records; mismanaged clients' funds; used improper and illegal training programs on clients; and hired unsuitable staff. CCHDD is a nonprofit corporation providing services to developmentally disabled persons. It provides teaching daily living skills to clients in a community group home setting, in a semi-independent living environment, and through day service programs. It also transports clients to various activities and day programs. The services are intended to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of the developmentally disabled. The program received State funds and Social Security Administration funds used to pay for clients' shelter, food, and clothing.

GAO found that the clients' basic needs were being met, client data had not been falsified for Government records, and training programs for clients were not improper or illegal. On the other hand, client funds had been misused and were not adequately accounted for, and applicants seeking employment were not investigated to screen out those who could pose a risk to the welfare and safety of the developmentally disabled clients. While some of the allegations made against CCHDD were valid, they involved incidents and conditions that existed more than a year ago. CCHDD owed clients varying amounts of money because some employees had misused clients' personal funds. Although CCHDD recognized this debt, it lacked the resources to repay it. Because the employees who misused the funds were not bonded, the clients may never be fully repaid. The group home staff used the clients' allowances to supplement the grocery funds. Inadequate accounting for these allowances prevented GAO from determining the correct balance for any individual client.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Department's regional office, should encourage the State to require, in future contracts with CCHDD, that all employees handling clients' funds be bonded. It should negotiate an agreement under which the State would become the representative payee for CCHDD's clients and thus, assure that the clients' personal funds are adequately accounted for, and encourage the State to require that CCHDD adequately investigate persons seeking employment before hiring them to work in its group homes.

    Agency Affected:

 

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