Revealing Federal Program Audit

The federal government recently released the (poorly formatted, nearly impenetrable) Child and Family Services Review, an audit of Minnesota’s child welfare programs.

The state lost ground on most practice standards, including caseworker visits and safety management, compared to audits in 2001 and 2007.

Particularly noteworthy were findings on systemic problems. Support services needed to implement case plans were available for only 50% of cases compared to 79% previously. The report also criticized inadequate Quality Assurance, staff training, and information technology.

The Department of Human Services requested resources to address these deficiencies in their proposed budget, but the legislature zeroed them out.

This is short-sighted. Minnesota’s metrics are now so poor that we risk substantial federal fines, which would be more costly than giving DHS adequate resources to do its job.

Rich Gehrman