Controller Butkovitz Finds Lax Monitoring of Children & Youth Services Grants

For Immediate Release
Feb. 14, 2017

Contact:  Brian Dries

Controller Butkovitz Finds Lax Monitoring of Children & Youth Services Grants
City Controller’s audit of federal & state grants shows need for greater oversight at the Department of Human Services

PHILADELPHIA – In releasing the latest audit of federal and state grant programs, City Controller Alan Butkovitz today urged the Department of Human Services (DHS) to improve oversight of government funding for children and youth programs.

The City Controller found that DHS failed to adequately perform monitoring procedures over its service providers for a number of its programs including Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Guardian Assistance and Child Welfare Research Training. Grant funding spent in Fiscal Year 2015 for these programs through its providers totaled about $230 million.

“There were instances where there was no documentation or evidence that DHS was taking the necessary steps to ensure the money was utilized as stipulated by the grant,” said Butkovitz.  “This was unacceptable especially since it involved millions of dollars of funding for essential services for children.”

For three of the 23 service providers sampled, DHS could not provide evidence that it was performing proper monitoring during the period the grant money was being expended. Required monitoring includes reviewing financial reports, performing site visits and making regular contacts with service providers.

DHS indicated that the unit responsible for monitoring the service providers was undergoing reorganization over the last two years and was unable to locate the necessary documents.

“This can result in noncompliance with terms and conditions of the grants, as well as lead to substandard performance,” said Butkovitz.
Controller Butkovitz observed that DHS did not ensure that federal awards were used for authorized purposes. There were often differences in the dollar amounts included in the service providers’ audits and the grant amounts that were recorded on the City’s books and records.

“Improving the monitoring procedures must start with better communication among all parties awarding and receiving grant funds,” said Butkovitz.  “There is no room for error and everyone needs to be on the same page with all grant funding the City receives.”

DHS indicated that it was in the process of reviewing and improving its recordkeeping system with the goal of ensuring that all documentation is in compliance with service providers.