JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor released an audit of Jefferson County Children and Youth Services on Wednesday that has helped the county improve how it protects vulnerable children.
“During our routine audit of this agency, we were specifically asked to assess whether an external contract for case management services was working as it should,” DeFoor said. “We were able to help Jefferson County commissioners determine that the contract did not meet the needs of the community and that county employees must do this work to ensure vulnerable children are protected. Protecting our children is our most important job.
The county had hired a contractor to administer most of its child and youth services because it had difficulty recruiting people to work for the agency. The audit found that the agency manager moved from county employment to contractor payroll, leaving no county employee responsible for the agency. It presented potential conflicts of interest, potential gaps in service, and did not comply with Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) regulations.
“The work of child and youth agencies is vital to our communities, but it is hard work,” DeFoor said. “This audit is a great example of why it’s critical for counties to maintain internal controls, even if they seek to outsource case management or other services.”
The audit also revealed:
- The contract with the management company was vague, lacked many standard contractual terms and conditions, and did not include specific results or performance measures;
- The management company has not consistently complied with necessary administrative actions required by DHS regulations, according to county officials;
- Quality control reviews of records were conducted by a management company employee rather than a county employee or third party;
- An employee of the management company approved payments made to the company by the county, creating a possible conflict of interest; and
- The county’s chief financial officer was concerned about the lack of details included in invoices provided by the management company for payment.
The audit recommends that if the county hires a management company again in the future, internal controls should be implemented to ensure proper oversight and compliance with state regulations.
Register for the WTAJ newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.