The state on Wednesday releasing a critical report on Jefferson County’s Child and Youth Services. The auditor general said his agency audited the county’s CYS.
The findings announced Wednesday by the auditor general painted a picture of a rural county struggling to hire government workers , only to then have issues with an outside agency hired to help.
This audit looked at a contract the county had for case management of CYS.
Auditor General Tim DeFoor said, the county in 2018 found itself in “great trouble” with hiring and retaining case workers. He said the county tried to address this by hiring an outside contractor to help with case management.
“The contractor hired mostly the existing county case workers, including the director of programs and its employees,”
“This meant they no longer worked for the county,”
“This presented potential conflicts of interest, a potential for gaps in service, and didn’t comply with state guidelines.”
DeFoor noted that the audit found other issues stemming from the arrangement. He said the contract itself lacked “standard terms and conditions,” as well as “outcome and performance measures.”
“One of the contractor’s employees was approving payments to a management company on behalf of the county, creating a possible conflict of interest,”
“Quality control reviews of case management files are performed by a management company employee, rather than an employee of the county or a third party. And the county’s finance director was concerned about the lack of detail included in the invoices received.”
DeFoor said the county ended its contact with the management company in “early 2021,” and since then, “a lot of the internal controls and the day-to-day operations” of CYS have returned to the county from the contractor, which he applauded as necessary steps.
“Our audit recommends that if the county ever should decide to return to an arrangement like this, in the future, they must have the necessary internal controls in place and have the county employee accountable to the commissioners overseeing the operations.”
The auditor general said that if any further actions are to follow, those would come from the county or the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
We reached out to the Jefferson County CYS and county administrators but have yet to hear back.