Foster Care:

Delayed Follow-Up of Noncomplying States May Reduce Incentive for Reform

PEMD-89-16: Published: Sep 13, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which the Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) provided incentive funds to states which instituted ACYF-mandated reforms under its Child Welfare Services grants program.

GAO found that: (1) ACYF disbursed incentive funds to all states that certified their compliance with provisions and then retrospectively reviewed states' certifications of their compliance with provisions to receive incentive funds; (2) ACYF typically recouped overpayments to noncompliant states by reducing the successive year's payments; (3) 15 states have failed annual compliance reviews at least once since enactment of the requirements in 1980; (4) ACYF did not record or recoup a 1984 $832,216 overpayment to Ohio; (5) final appeals decisions rendered in April 1989 allowed ACYF to recoup a 1984 $1,034,619 overpayment to Illinois and a 1983 $250,335 overpayment to Maryland; and (6) although ACYF generally followed its stated practice of promptly reviewing a state's compliance for the fiscal year (FY) following the year it had failed, ACYF has not conducted follow-up reviews for six states which failed compliance reviews between 1983 and 1985.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

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

    Recommendation: The Commissioner, ACYF, should: (1) promptly conduct and complete the postponed reviews of those six states that failed a review between 1983 and 1985, to ensure that incentive funds are expended in compliance with the law; and (2) conduct periodic reviews promptly in the future, that is, immediately following the end of the fiscal year when review is due.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Children, Youth, and Families

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

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

    Recommendation: The Commissioner, ACYF, should promptly recoup the overpayments made in 1983 to Maryland and in 1984 to Illinois and Ohio.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Children, Youth, and Families

 

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