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May 10, 2011 12:08 PM by Posted by Sharlee Barriere

Social Services Gets Poor Mark in Audit

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The state Department of Social Services received a "D" grade for the way it policed programs under its jurisdiction in the last fiscal year, according to a legislative auditor's report released Monday.
The report cited nine areas, in which auditors found poor financial controls in the agency that oversees nutrition, child care, food stamp, and temporary assistance programs as well as a failure to adhere to some federal program guidelines.
The deficiencies led to the illegal receipt of benefits by some employees, their relatives and friends and the potential for having to repay some money.
Since the audit year, the agency has been reorganized and renamed as the Department of Children and Family Services.
In responses to the findings, DSS Undersecretary Richard Howze said steps have been taken to correct the deficiencies. Howze laid out corrective actions and brought auditors up to date on efforts to recover "questioned costs."
"The lack of a formal department-wide policy to comply with the federal suspension and debarment requirements increases the risk of DSS contracting with an excluded party which would result in unallowable costs that would need to be returned to the federal grantor," the audit report said.

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