DiNapoli Audit Finds More Help Needed For Foster Kids

Morgan Mckay

New York State of Politics

Mar 3, 2020

Cases of children being placed in homes with garbage and with adults who have a history of domestic violence were uncovered in an audit released Monday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

The report found the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) was not doing enough to ensure the safety of children placed outside of the foster system.

When a child is being placed out of a home, in cases of abuse or voluntarily, instead of foster care, they can be placed with a relative or a guardian.

OCFS is in charge of supervising the local districts that oversee the placement of these children, to make sure the homes they are moved to are both safe and clean.

However, DiNapoli's audit found oversight regulations were inconsistent across all 58 local districts.

Some districts were detailed in their home visits, listing missing smoke alarms, weapons and more. Others rarely made follow-up visits or wrote very little in their reports.

​​"OCFS lacks adequate oversight and uniform standards to ensure children in direct placement are not put into another bad situation and are kept out of harm’s way," the report found.

"OCFS attempted to dismiss the serious findings of our auditors rather than take proactive steps to address these glaring issues. I urge the agency to act on our recommendations."

The office is recommending that OCFS develop consistent procedures for monitoring and supervising children in direct placement.

The report also found that out of the 30 case files auditors reviewed, four had children listed in the wrong placement type, and another eight were spotted and fixed by OCFS for discrepancies.