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Open Recommendations

Federal Low-Income Programs: Use of Data to Verify Eligibility Varies Among Selected Programs and Opportunities Exist to Promote Additional Use

GAO-21-183
Mar 29, 2021
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Administration for Children and Families The Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families should review the electronic data sources used by state LIHEAP grantees and assess whether additional information could be provided to grantees on data sources not currently or widely used to verify income in order to enhance LIHEAP grantees' data verification efforts. (Recommendation 1)
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ACF agreed with this recommendation and plans to take several actions to address it. The agency intends to seek approval from OMB to conduct a survey of LIHEAP grantees on data verification sources, convene a related grantee work group, and disseminate information on relevant training. We will consider closing this recommendation when these efforts are complete.
Office of Public and Indian Housing The Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing should assess whether there are ways to identify and share information on how PHAs are using electronic data sources other than EIV to verify income and/or assets in order to enhance PHAs' data verification efforts. (Recommendation 2)
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HUD agreed with this recommendation but did not comment on plans to address it.

Fair Labor Standards Act: Tracking Additional Complaint Data Could Improve DOL's Enforcement

GAO-21-13
Jan 08, 2021
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Wage and Hour Division The Administrator of DOL's Wage and Hour Division should develop a method for systematically aggregating and reviewing data on the reasons that complaints recorded in its enforcement database have been filed with no compliance action and the reasons cases have been dropped. (Recommendation 1)
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DOL agreed with this recommendation and stated that it would address it by incorporating the ability to categorize, aggregate and review data on the reasons complaints are recorded and later declined or dropped into the enhancements to Wage and Hour Division's new case management system, which is expected to launch the second quarter of fiscal year 2022. We will close this recommendation when this enhancement has been implemented.

Drug Misuse: Agencies Have Not Fully Identified How Grants That Can Support Drug Prevention Education Programs Contribute to National Goals

GAO-21-96
Nov 18, 2020
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4 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Education The Secretary of Education should work with grantees to collect and report performance information for the grants to state educational agencies component of the School Climate program that relate to achieving the prevention education goal of the National Drug Control Strategy. (Recommendation 1)
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Education partly concurred with this recommendation. Education stated that it believes it complied with the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) guidance to identify performance measures for the School Climate program that align with the National Drug Control Strategy's goals and objectives through the grants to school districts. Specifically, the agency said that ONDCP's guidance applies to the program overall rather than to each component part, and that its performance measures for the school district portion of the program are therefore sufficient. However, we noted that 13 of 14 state grantees planned to incorporate opioid abuse prevention and mitigation strategies into their grant activities when using federal funds through the School Climate program. In response, Education said it would explore collecting performance information on opioid abuse prevention and mitigation from these grantees and make an effort to report such information. We will monitor the agency's progress on these efforts.
Department of Health and Human Services The Secretary of Health and Human Services should clarify how the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) prevention set-aside contributes to the goals of the National Drug Control Strategy, including considering how the performance measures relate to the prevention education goal. (Recommendation 2)
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HHS agreed with this recommendation and will work with the the Office of National Drug Control Policy to address it.
Department of Health and Human Services The Secretary of Health and Human Services should determine how the State Opioid Response program contributes to the prevention goals of the National Drug Control Strategy and develop performance measures that relate to achieving those goals including the prevention education goal. (Recommendation 3)
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HHS agreed with this recommendation. The agency will work with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to determine performance measures for the SABG prevention set-aside and State Opioid Response program that align with the Strategy's goals and objectives. We will monitor the progress of these efforts.
Office of National Drug Control Policy The Director of ONDCP should report performance measures for the Drug-Free Communities Support program and clarify how those measures are being used to assess the program's contributions to achieving specific goals of the National Drug Control Strategy, in the relevant Strategy documents. (Recommendation 4)
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ONDCPO agreed with this recommendation and will work to develop performance measures for the DFC program used to assess the program's contributions to future iterations of the Strategy. We await progress on these efforts.

Child Care Facilities: Federal Agencies Need to Enhance Monitoring and Collaboration to Help Assure Drinking Water is Safe from Lead

GAO-20-597
Oct 01, 2020
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4 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services The OHS Director should require Head Start grantees to document that water provided to children has been tested for lead. OHS could determine various ways that are feasible and efficient for grantees to satisfy this requirement; for example, verification could be done through OHS' current grantee data collection or monitoring processes. (Recommendation 1)
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HHS agreed with this recommendation, noting that it was consistent with the Head Start Program Performance Standards (45 C.F.R. ?1302.44 (a)(2)(ix)). HHS said it will develop mechanisms through monitoring, oversight, and technical assistance to support grantees in adhering to this regulation. We will monitor the agency's progress on these efforts.
Department of Health and Human Services The Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families should direct OCC and OHS to develop an agreement with EPA on their roles and responsibilities in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on Reducing Lead Levels in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities. For example, these agreements may include the ways in which guidance and information will be shared with states and Head Start grantees, such as through webinars or email, and how frequently. (Recommendation 2)
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HHS agreed with this recommendation to develop an agreement with EPA regarding its roles and responsibilities in implementing the MOU to reduce lead levels in drinking water in schools and childcare facilities. We will monitor the progress of this effort.
Environmental Protection Agency The Assistant Administrator of the Office of Water should develop an agreement with HHS's Offices of Child Care and Head Start on their roles and responsibilities in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on Reducing Lead Levels in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities. For example, these agreements may include the ways in which guidance and information will be shared with states and Head Start grantees, such as through webinars or email, and how frequently. (Recommendation 3)
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EPA neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation and considers it to be redundant with existing activities. EPA said that the MOU provides sufficient agreement between all partners concerning their roles and responsibilities, and the outcomes in the MOU make each agency's roles and responsibilities clear. EPA also said it has developed a workplan detailing the development of tools and materials for child care facilities and others to use in implementing lead reduction programs. While we acknowledge that developing such materials would be helpful, OCC and OHS officials stated they are not moving forward with steps to highlight lead testing with states and grantees until they and EPA resolve several coordination issues. Agreement on clear roles and responsibilities is a key step in successful interagency coordination, and HHS said it would find such clarification helpful. We will monitor any progress to address this recommendation.
Environmental Protection Agency The Assistant Administrator of the Office of Water should direct the Office of Water to specify how it will track progress toward the outcomes of the Memorandum of Understanding on Reducing Lead Levels in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities and determine how it will regularly monitor and update the MOU. For example, the Office of Water could develop performance measures for each of the MOU's outcomes. In addition, the Office of Water could submit annual reports on progress toward achieving the MOU's outcomes or it could plan to update the agreement at specific intervals. (Recommendation 4)
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EPA neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation and considers it to be redundant with existing activities. EPA stated that it will leverage the 3Ts workplan process, WIIN Act grant requirements, and semi-annual MOU partners meetings to track progress toward the outcomes of its MOU and update it. EPA further stated the MOU already allows for routine updates. However, EPA did not provide us with documentation about these efforts and it is not clear how metrics associated with the WIIN Act grant will inform progress in achieving the MOUs outcomes. Moreover, EPA did not hold its first MOU partners meeting until this audit surfaced communication challenges with and confusion among MOU partners. In addition, while EPA states that the MOU allows for routine progress updates, we note that EPA took nearly 15 years to update the 2005 MOU and only did so after our 2018 review of lead in school drinking water. Therefore, we continue to believe that the recommendation is warranted and await further progress on its implementation.
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