State Auditor Tom Schweich has released the audit results of the Early Childhood Development, Education, and Care fund.  He rated the department’s performance as “poor.”

Schweich reports the Department of Social Services allowed funding for Start Up and Expansion child care facilities to be used by businesses that were not eligible or did not complete the requirements.  The Auditor’s office also found a contractor was awarded business without using a competitive process.

Press Release from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office

JEFFERSON CITY (June 10, 2013) – State Auditor Tom Schweich released the audit of the Early Childhood Development, Education and Care Fund. In the areas audited, the overall performance of this entity was Poor.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) needs to improve its procedures for funding Start Up and Expansion (SUE) child care facilities. Three child care facilities receiving new funding awards in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 stopped participating in the program but did not repay $171,500 the facilities had received. One facility received $22,500 to operate an in-home child care facility that no children attended, another received $60,000 to create 16 licensed slots at a new center, but the facility was never built, and the money was not repaid, and DSS paid the third facility $89,000 to add 24 slots, but the owner only added 14 slots and then sold the facility three months later to a buyer who chose not to participate in the SUE program. The DSS also paid the Accreditation Facilitation contractor for more facilities than the contractor reported serving and paid more per-unit than the contract required.

The previous Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Office of Early and Extended Learning simultaneously served as the Director of a DESE and DSS contractor. The contractor, the Center for Family Policy and Research at the University of Missouri-Columbia, was funded in part by the Early Childhood Development, Education and Care (ECDEC) Fund. The Assistant Commissioner served from April 2010 until August 2012 and remains employed by the DESE. During the Assistant Commissioner’s tenure, both state agencies awarded this contractor additional contracts without using a competitive process, resulting in an apparent conflict of interest.

To view the complete report, Citizens Summary and audit rating scale, visit: http://www.auditor.mo.gov/Press/2013-046.pdf

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