To ensure that its licensees, including state-licensed foster homes, foster family agencies, and group homes, are in compliance with applicable requirements and that children are protected, Social Services should complete on-site reviews at least once every five years as required by state law.
CDSS is in full compliance and has conducted all required five-year on-site reviews on 4,563 Children's Residential Facilities statewide as of October 1, 2015. All homes had visits scheduled to be completed by September 24, 2015. CDSS inspects most facilities more frequently than every five years, and continues to develop and implement efficiencies and training for licensing staff. Over the past year the Department has conducted 99.8 percent of five year visits on time.
Out of 4,913 Children's Residential Facilities statewide, there are only six foster family homes with overdue five-year visits statewide and, of these, five have no children in placement. The CDSS inspects most facilities more frequently than once every five years, and continues to develop and implement efficiencies and training for licensing staff. CDSS will achieve close to 100 percent of all required five year visits. The Department believes that its current 99.8 percent is as close to its goal as possible, given statutory requirements and varying circumstance. With other licensing categories, CDSS conducts unannounced inspections, thus having within its span of control five-year visits. However, in accordance with statute, CDSS staff must contact, schedule and negotiate visit dates with foster families, even those with whom no children are placed.
Fully Implemented/Completion Date: September 2013. The CDSS continues to refine its new evidence-based "key indicators" inspection tool which allows for more frequent visits than the five-year requirement. CDSS inspects most facilities more frequently than once every five years. During State fiscal year (FY) 2012-2013, CDSS averaged visiting facilities once every 29 months utilizing the "key indicator" inspection tools, which is up from once every 38 months noted in the six month response. CDSS is assessing offices experiencing difficulty in attaining 100 percent completion of five year visits. Currently there are 43 facilities with overdue five year visits statewide, equating with a 99 percent completion rate. CDSS continues to develop and implement efficiencies, such as online orientations and technical assistance for licensees that promote compliance, in order to focus staff on efforts to improve the frequency of inspections.
CDSS indicates it has 43 facilities overdue for a five-year visit. This number is higher than the June 2011 condition that generated our original recommendation.
Social Services stated that historically, it has substantially met the five-year-visit requirement and added that with a new, evidenced-based inspection tool that it is continuing to refine, it will be able to complete facility reviews more frequently than once every five years. We examined Social Services' monthly reports displaying overdue on-site reviews and found that the number of overdue five-year inspections of foster homes, foster family agencies, and group homes was higher in 2012 than it was when we conducted our audit. Specifically, we found 120 of these licensees were overdue for visits in February 2012. Although the number declined to 75 by December 2012, this still exceeds what we found during our audit. The department indicates that 20 of these overdue visits relate to closed facilities and another 11 have been visited. However, the department has not been able to update this information in its database because of ongoing system upgrades.
†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.
*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.