Sneak Preview: Better Oversight Sought for Child Care Program

March 22, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Maryland State Department of Education’s monitoring schedule of social service agencies receiving Child Care Subsidy Program funds does not ensure all subsidy recipients are eligible or that related payments are appropriate, according to a recent Maryland Office of Legislative Audits report.

The Child Care Subsidy Program provides financial assistance to eligible families to meet their child care needs. MSDE oversees the program, which is administered by 24 local social service departments. MSDE policy requires it to periodically review local departments to verify how well they determine recipient eligibility and make payments. Local departments must take corrective actions to address identified error rates that exceed MSDE standards.

OLA found numerous deficiencies with MSDE’s oversight of the child care program, including the failure to timely monitor local departments of social services. After examining MSDE’s review of the local departments, OLA found MSDE did not review six departments within an 18-month period, as required by MSDE policy.

For example, a review of one local department, which accounted for about 15 percent of the state’s fiscal year 2011 child care subsidy expenditures, began in August 2010, three years after the preceding review was completed. Moreover, the preceding review disclosed that one-third of the case records tested did not contain sufficient documentation of family income, which was the basis for the subsidy and copayment level.



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