Audit finds repeated errors at Conn. child welfare agency

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HARTFORD — A new report by Connecticut’s state auditors has found that repeated financial and administrative mistakes are being made at the Department of Children and Families and its various facilities.

The 76-page document released Thursday examined fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013. It includes 25 recommendations for improvement, including 15 that were included in a previous report that was released in 2013 and covered fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

In both reports, the auditors said DCF should come up with procedures to ensure free meals are only provided to employees who are entitled to receive them. The latest report also highlights workers reporting late to work at four DCF offices.

DCF officials say the auditors already have helped the agency make many improvements, including closer supervision, to improve oversight and accountability.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) released the following statement regarding the findings of the Auditors’ Report on the Department of Children and Families released today:

“Where and when is this going to end? How much more evidence do we need to take the health and protection of children seriously? Over the past few weeks, multiple investigative reports have shown that there is a pattern within DCF of limited protocols, limited accountability and a severe lack of reporting that proliferates throughout the system. The auditors’ report reveals that valued resources have been squandered as a result of absolute and total lack of leadership by the Commissioner.

“After watching the videos examined as part of the Child Advocate’s recent report on CJTS and Pueblo, it solidified to me that DCF, under the leadership of Commissioner Joette Katz, lacks the organization and procedures necessary to run an efficient agency that properly meets the needs of children. What I saw at those facilities is a disturbing example of how complete disorder has resulted in a failure to protect some of the most vulnerable children. Today’s report shows that the chaos witnessed within DCF’s locked facilities extends to the agency’s finances and operations as well. These are not isolated problems. These are the stark reality of an agency out of control and in total disarray. These issues reflect a failure in leadership to self-monitor that cannot be ignored.”