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Highlights

To help improve foster care in the District of Columbia, the Congress provided $14 million for fiscal year 2004 to the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), the Department of Mental Health (DMH), and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). These funds were for programs for early intervention, emergency support, and student loan repayments; computer technology upgrades, mental health services, and respite care (short-term care to provide relief for foster parents). GAO was asked to (1) assess whether the federal funds were being obligated and expended by the District government and COG consistent with provisions in the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2004, and the spending plans that were submitted to the Congress; (2) determine whether internal controls were operating effectively over the obligations and disbursements; and (3) assess the extent to which the District government and COG have implemented the foster care improvement programs and initiatives specified in the act and spending plans. GAO received written comments from CFSA, DMH, and COG. The agencies generally agreed with GAO's findings and conclusions.

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