Friday, January 15, 2010

Missouri's Maintenance Misery

Fox 2 Missouri published a piece on Missouri Department of Social Services and its recent national accreditation.

Mo. children's agency completes accreditation ordered after boy 's death in 2002

By Associated Press

9:23 AM CST, January 14, 2010
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials that handle child abuse and foster care have received national accreditation.

The Social Services Department spent five years and nearly $20 million to get its Children's Division accredited.

Lawmakers ordered the agency to get national accreditation after 2-year-old Dominic James of Springfield died three months after state caseworkers removed him from his parents' home. His foster parent was sentenced to 15 years in prison for assault and abuse that resulted in the child's death.

The boy's death also prompted the division to be reorganized and several officials to resign.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Missouri officials planned to announce the accreditation on Thursday. Missouri is only one of six states to have the entire Children's Division accredited.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

NEWS FLASH...THIS JUST IN

Missouri lawmakers ordered the Missouri Social Services Department to get national accreditation to the tune of $20 million dollars, but here is the story behind that.

On August 19, 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted a Review of these claims for training and found that:

"None of the $10,224,397 ($7,668,298 Federal share) in Title IV-E training costs that the State agency allocated from the cost pool from July 1,2002, through June 30, 2006, was allowable for 1, 2002, Federal reimbursement at the enhanced 75-percent FFP rate. the $7,668,298 Federal share, Of Federal reimbursement at the enhanced 75-percent FFP rate. Of $2,556,099 was not allowable because the cost pool did not consist entirely of allowable training costs reimbursable at the enhanced rate."

TRANSLATION: Missouri committed fraud to become accredited to commit more fraud.

Review of the Missouri Department of Social Services Claims for Title IV-E Training Costs, 2009

 The main question that needs to be asked is, "Who the @$%^ gave Missouri accreditation after this review?"  Well, it was our little friends over at the Council On Accreditation (COA).

Here is a quick and dirty overview of the crap that goes on with accreditation in child welfare:

U.S. DHHS asks the National Federation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) to choose a national accreditation organization for the federally funded child placing agencies.

The NFCC picked the Council on Accreditation (CoA) to make sure all the federally funded child placing agencies are in compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Then, the CoA picks, with the help of the Child Welfare League of America a state accreditation organization to make sure all the child placing agencies are operating within ISO ethical standards.

So, this is how a public child placing agency gets accredited: Someone writes a check.

Then, the best part of the accreditation process is, the Self Report. With federal funds, the federally funded child welfare organization submits these self reports on federally funded activities to the federally funded CoA. These reports are not open to the public.

Then the CoA has, as one final stipulation for accreditation. It is called the Maintenance of Accreditation. All you have to do is check a few boxes and send it in, of course with your annual fee. Obviously, this honor system is not going very well.

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, a very beautiful man who listened to me, stood up and announced that States revenue-maximization schemes were identified and the malfeasance within the U.S. Administration for Children and Families. He made it the number three priority for the Department of Justice for FY2009. I consider that moment a pivotal point in the history of child welfare and he will be honored, in my eyes, of similar caliber to Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Medicaid fraud, along with other forms of fraud, waste and abuse in child welfare must be stopped.  If you suspect fraud in child welfare, report it to the U.S. DHHS OIG.
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