A new Legislative Audit Bureau report raises questions about nearly $130,000 dollars in payments made to foster care agencies.
The audit looked at payments the Department of Children and Families sent to five agencies that oversee the placement of foster children and monitor their progress. Out of more than 1,800 reimbursement transactions made to those groups between 2010 and 2012, it found that 558 lacked documentation to back them up. As a result, auditors raised questions about whether those expenses were made in compliance with state and federal regulations.
State Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) says this type of situation is unacceptable. “It’s state monies, and we want to make sure we get our value for state monies.” The Green Bay Republican says “if it’s not being done right, we want to change it and fix it.”
AUDIO: Sen. Cowles (:14)
Cowles co-chairs the Legislature’s Audit Committee, which is reviewing the report. He says the findings are a clear indication that improved oversight is needed at DCF, in order to ensure that reimbursement requests are being properly documented.
Of the questionable transactions identified by the audit, 78.5 percent of them were for reimbursement requests made by Watertown-based Thrive Treatment Systems. If proper documentation is not produced soon, Cowles says it’s a situation the state will likely need to look into.
In its response to the audit, DCF says it plans to follow-up with the providers to resolve the questionable claims and will review its policies on dealing with those situations. Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday also said he is open to looking at changes that can help improve the agency’s practices.