Office of Children and Family Services

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of Children and Family Services
Oversight of Critical Foster Care Program Requirements (Follow-Up)


Issued: February 3, 2020
Link to full audit report 2019-F-52

Objective
To determine the extent of implementation of the three recommendations included in our initial audit report, Oversight of Critical Foster Care Program Requirements (Report 2015-S-79).

About the Program
The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) regulates and supervises child welfare services, including foster care and adoption, through its Division of Child Welfare and Community Services. Regional Offices oversee the entities that provide child welfare services, including voluntary agencies (VAs) and local Departments of Social Services (counties). These entities administer the foster care program, including placing children in foster care settings, certifying and approving certain foster homes, and providing casework services to children and families. OCFS and these entities use the CONNECTIONS system to document information about service delivery, including assessments and case plans for families and children.

Our initial audit examined whether OCFS has effective controls in place to ensure that foster homes meet required criteria prior to their certification or approval for the placement of foster children, and to determine whether casework contacts occur as required for these children. At each of the ten sites we visited, we found foster home records lacked evidence that counties or VAs met certain critical foster home certification/approval and recertification requirements, thus increasing the risk of placing children in an unacceptable environment. We found casework records lacked evidence that caseworkers made required contacts with foster children, foster parents, and parents. Additionally, we identified inconsistencies and errors among different sources of foster care data, which may compromise its integrity and usefulness.

Key Finding
OCFS officials have made progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial audit. Of the initial report’s three recommendations, two were implemented and one was partially implemented.

OCFS is not required to respond to this follow-up report. However, we allow 30 days from the date this report is issued for officials to provide information on any actions that are planned to address unresolved issues identified in this report.


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Mark Ren
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236