Sunday, July 02, 2006

Los Angeles Grand Jury Calls Child Care Program an ATM for Thieves

In the past year, I think I've figured out one of the reasons why governments are broke and taxes are at an all-time high - there is too much fraud and abuse in a lot of entitlement programs.

Here is a report by the Los Angeles Grand Jury, which estimated that LA County is losing half a billion dollars a year in fraud in their child care (Back to Work) program.

And if it's this bad in LA, I wonder how much we are losing nationwide? If I'm not mistaken, every State in the Union is running one of these programs.

Here are the findings, directly from the most recent LA Grand Jury report:


Millions of tax dollars have been lost to fraud from child care funds allocated by the State of California and administered by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) in a program entitled California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS). As currently administered, the program is equivalent to an ATM for thieves. Our research included previous civil grand jury reports, audits, contracts, other documents, and interviews with over 100 individuals involved in the CalWORKS program.

This 2005-2006 County of Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury investigation revealed:

Only 28% of the children placed with license-exempt child care providers were verified as present with their child care provider, according to the April 2005 California Department of Education (CDE) Error Rate Study Report.

Forty-nine (49) individuals who cheated the CalWORKS child care program of $3,421,578, between September 2004 and February 2006, have been successfully prosecuted by the County of Los Angeles District Attorney.


September 9, 2004 13 convictions $925,000
December 9, 2004 12 convictions $500,000
January 26, 2006 10 convictions $1,200,000
February 23, 2006 14 convictions $796,578

Up to 50% of the more than one billion dollar CalWORKS program may be lost due to fraud and poor oversight as estimated by several of the DPSS personnel.

The 2005-2006 County of Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury recommends that DPSS require verification in each step of the CalWORKS process to ensure that parents have the work opportunity intended, that children are cared for in healthy, safe environments while their parents are working, and that tax dollars are used as authorized. Our study shows that child care welfare fraud is a continuing burden on the taxpayer. There is an urgent need for prompt and thorough implementation of our recommendation.

For a link to the full report: Click Here

The report likened the program to an "ATM for thieves." Sadly enough, we've seen a lot of fraud uncovered in "entitlement" programs this year and this will ultimately hurt those who are "truly needy." I say not only go after the thieves, but also go after the people in charge of administering these programs. If fraud is this rampant - someone needs to "inspect the inspectors."

If the civil servants running these programs did this at a "private company," the company would go broke if they were allowed to continue. Before this happened - unless those in control of the company were insane - they would be fired.

The standard should be no less for those in charge of spending "public funds!"


Anonymous said...

This really makes a lot of sense when after taxes, people who work can barely get by.

Anonymous said...

This is a very sensitive issue. But then again whats also is a sensitive issue is that girls and boys arent raised up to know the responsibilities to handle their own lives on their own feet. HAving the government feed the 3rd class can only last for so long.