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Riverside County audit of six foster-care providers' finances findspossible violations
Riverside County audit of six foster-care providers' finances finds
10:00 PM PDT on Monday, May 19, 2008
By KIMBERLY TRONE
Riverside County's auditor-controller has asked the state to investigate
six Inland foster- care providers for potentially misusing at least $3
million in foster-care funding to make improper payments on extra homes,
luxury vehicles, credit cards, alcohol and lingerie.
An audit of the six providers identified several violations of rules
that allow foster-family agencies and group homes to qualify for county,
state and federal money that is supposed to pay for the children's
housing, transportation, clothing, food and for programs for them.
The three foster-family agencies and three group homes were not
identified in the audit report, which is heading to the Board of
Before identifying the providers publicly, county officials said they
want to give them a chance to respond to Auditor-Controller Robert
Byrd said his small sample of the 97 group homes and foster-family
agencies that serve children in Riverside County's custody revealed
"significant noncompliance" with state and federal regulations.
His office examined financial records of $20.2 million paid to the six
providers for the care of neglected and abused Riverside County children
in 2005 and 2006.
The payments represent more than 20 percent of the overall $97.8 million
that county social services received in foster-care funding for the
two-year period reviewed.
"This is something that has been of concern to me for a long time, as a
private citizen and as an auditor," Byrd said of the noncompliance his
The agencies audited also receive money for housing children from other
counties, but the audit report gives no details on how much the
providers are receiving overall.
The providers were selected for a review of their compliance with the
regulations governing foster-care programs based on total funding and
upon suggestions from managers in the Riverside County Department of
Public Social Services, the audit report said.
The state is responsible for oversight of the providers but has
insufficient resources to monitor the foster system adequately, Byrd
said. He wants Riverside County to gain more financial oversight of the
Susan Loew, the county Department of Public Social Services' director,
said children are placed with the foster-family agencies and group homes
when no relative or member of their support network is able to provide
them a place to live.
The audit found:
Five of the agencies' boards of directors approved the use of corporate
assets for purposes unrelated to the mission of foster care. The
improper expenditures of all six had improper expenditures total more
than $1.6 million.
One agency's bank records did not reflect the deposit of more than
$326,000 of the $2.6 million it received over the two-year period.
Two agencies had cash reserves of more than $1 million -- most of it
held in uninsured bank accounts -- despite rules that say agencies must
spend almost all their money on children's services.
Four of the agencies were paid under multiple vendor names, making it
harder to track charges and reimbursements.
One agency purchased a building for $1.5 million, putting one-third down
and financing the balance over 15 years. The agency said it bought the
building with approval and funding from Los Angeles County, but LA
County officials denied they gave the approval, which is required under
Unsupported or inadequately supported expenditures including $66,500 in
credit card advances and $206,000 in credit card purchases.
Unapproved interest payments of $37,800 on five vans and two luxury
sport utility vehicles.
The audit also found $66.73 in purchases at a lingerie store for a boys
group home and $21.27 in purchases of alcoholic beverages.
Shirley Washington, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Social
Services, said Monday that Byrd's audit is being handled as a complaint.
The findings are under review by the financial and licensing arms of the
state Social Services Department because of potential violations, said
Washington, who declined to elaborate because of the ongoing investigation.
On Monday, 180 children in Riverside County custody were living in a
group home or a foster-family agency facility, but the number
fluctuates, said Loew, the county Social Services Department director.
Despite the seriousness of the findings, the children in the homes were
well-cared-for and regularly visited by social workers, she said.
An immediate inspection was undertaken after the audit, and social
workers would not have hesitated to intervene if problems were found,
Loew said. None were, she added.
"It's troubling to see the findings, but on the surface, we need to make
sure each agency is given an opportunity to respond and not draw
inappropriate conclusions at this stage," she said.
Board of Supervisors
Supervisor John Tavaglione said the audit caused him "great concern." He
plans to address the findings at today's Board of Supervisors meeting in
"Whenever you see this, and there are such flagrant violations and
mismanagement, it causes concern for the bigger picture. These services
are dealing with kids that we place there," Tavaglione said.
Tavaglione said his initial reaction would be to suspend any more
business with the agencies until the issues are understood and
addressed. But he said there is a shortage of places for children in the
county's custody to live, he said.
Christina Riehl, a staff lawyer for the Children's Advocacy Institute at
the University of San Diego's Center for Public Interest Law, said the
group home and foster-family agencies are paid "exponentially more than
A foster family is eligible to receive $425 to $597 a month to provide a
child food, housing and transportation, Riehl said, adding that group
homes and foster-family agencies can get as much as $6,000 more per
month than a foster parent.
The nonprofit advocacy group has sued the state in federal court to try
to win more money for foster parents.
"Reimbursement rates are so low it is almost financially impossible for
a middle-class Californian to become a foster parent," Riehl said. "We
have an undersupply in foster parents because they can't afford it, but
(it's) a lucrative enterprise for group homes."
Reach Kimberly Trone at 951-368-9456 or
Riverside County's audit identified multiple expenditures, including:
$785,000-plus in interest paid on a building bought by a foster-family
agency that did not get the required approval of the payments.
$195,000 spent on two HUD homes not used for foster care.
$91,400 spent to open and run a thrift store for a purpose unrelated to
$43,000 spent on penalties and fines, including IRS penalties.
Source: Riverside County Auditor-Controller
CURRENTLY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES VIOLATES MORE CONSTITUTIONALLY
GUARANTEED LIBERTIES & CIVIL RIGHTS ON A DAILY BASIS THEN ALL OTHER
AGENCIES COMBINED INCLUDING THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY/CENTRAL
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WIRETAPPING PROGRAMS....
CPS Does not protect children...
It is sickening how many children are subject to abuse, neglect and even
killed at the hands of Child Protective Services.
every parent should read the free handbook from
connecticut dcf watch..
Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the US
These numbers come from The National Center on
Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington. (NCCAN)
Recent numbers have increased significantly for CPS
*Perpetrators of Maltreatment*
Physical Abuse CPS/Foster care 160, biological Parents 59
Sexual Abuse CPS/Foster care 112, biological Parents 13
Neglect CPS/Foster care 410, biological Parents 241
Medical Neglect CPS/Foster care 14 biological Parents 12
Fatalities CPS/Foster care 6.4, biological Parents 1.5
Imagine that, 6.4 children die at the hands of the very agencies that
are supposed to protect them and only 1.5 at the hands of parents per
100,000 children. CPS perpetrates more abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse
and kills more children then parents in the United States. If the
citizens of this country hold CPS to the same standards that they hold
parents too. No judge should ever put another child in the hands of ANY
government agency because CPS nationwide is guilty of more harm and
death than any human being combined. CPS nationwide is guilty of more
human rights violations and deaths of children then the homes from which
they were removed. When are the judges going to wake up and see that
they are sending children to their death and a life of abuse when
children are removed from safe homes based on the mere opinion of a
bunch of social workers.
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, HAPPILY DESTROYING THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT
FAMILIES YEARLY NATIONWIDE AND COMING TO YOU'RE HOME SOON...
BE SURE TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR CANDIDATES STANDS ON THE ISSUE OF
REFORMING OR ABOLISHING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ("MAKE YOUR CANDIDATES
TAKE A STAND ON THIS ISSUE.") THEN REMEMBER TO VOTE ACCORDINGLY IF THEY
ARE "FAMILY UNFRIENDLY" IN THE NEXT ELECTION...
Last edited by JeanSaunders : May 7th 13 at 05:22 AM.
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