Friday, September 14, 2007

More massive DHS mismanagement

For the past several years, the Department of Human Services (DHS) has had numerous instances of financial mismanagement and carelessness in their internal control sector. DHS has repeatedly demonstrated shortcomings and failures in their ability to strictly follow laws and regulations in the programs they oversee.  On many accounts, the DHS has neglected procedure or made mistakes that end up costing thousands, sometimes millions, of taxpayer dollars.

Mismanagement in Federal Programs

In the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, DHS claimed foster care expenditures that the State hadn't earned. The Auditor General found over $81 million in questioned costs. Moreover, DHS has been guilty of providing funds to ineligible recipients. In one case, an eligible foster care payment recipient received funds that were not properly documented by DHS. The Department couldn't account for $906,715 of the money claimed in the TANF program. Where did the money go?  Who knows?

This is just one of numerous examples of DHS mismanagement. Here is a list of some of their other misdemeanors.  The Department of Human Services:
  • Issued TANF-funded adoption subsidy payments to an adoptive parent who was guilty of crimes that had eliminated that parents' eligibility to receive assistance. Questioned costs: $14,456.

  • Did not ensure that it earmarked expenditures in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) Program. Questioned costs: $9,244.

  • Did not ensure the eligibility of Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) recipients. Questioned costs: $3,126

  • Did not ensure that their Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) recipients were eligible for day-care benefits in 47% of reviewed expenditures. Questioned costs: $2,176

  • Did not prevent expenditures from being issued to deceased or incarcerated CCDF recipients. Questioned costs: $127,153

  • Used an incorrect payment rate in the Foster Care Program for a child care institution. Questioned costs: $736,988

  • Did not ensure that it was issuing payments to only eligible foster care children. Total questioned costs: $630,777

  • Inappropriately charged Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange expenditures to Foster Care. Questioned costs: $616,73

  • Internal controls did not ensure that it monitored Wayne County's elegibility determinations for juvenile justice children. Questioned costs: $783,982

  • Incorrectly charged a TANF Program payment to the Adoption Assistance Program. Questioned costs: $3,955

  • Incorrectly charged 14% of payments by entering the incorrect program code when issuing a payment for the Adoption Assistance Program. Questioned costs: $511  

  • Claimed expenditures that were not included in the Social Services Block Grant SSBG State Plan. Questioned costs: $2,402,431

  • Did not properly approve of 25% of medical service expenditures. Questioned costs:  $1,100

  • Did not ensure that the '04-'05 fiscal year day-care expenditures for the SSBG Program were incurred for only eligible clients. Questioned costs: $4,325,993

This is just a sampling from a long list of the many instances of the department's mismanagement and poor stewardship. The Auditor General has presented DHS with countless recommendations for improving their internal control. DHS has been faithful to apply some recommendations. But, much more often, DHS neglects to implement these recommendations, oftentimes for several consecutive audit reports.
You can read the details of the Auditor General's latest report here:
After reviewing this report and others which I have discussed in past letters, I cannot even consider voting for a tax increase.  The governor has spoken since February of "reforms and restructuring" before taking more "revenue".  I have seen very little of the first two "r's". State government must become more accountable to you for the way it spends your money before it can consider asking you for more.

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