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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Audit finds state child protection agency spent $627k on late fees"

From Dan Carden, this story posted this afternoon on the NWI Times website. Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS | The perennially cash-strapped Department of Child Services paid $627,168.82 in late fees to vendors during the 2011-13 budget years, a state audit released Tuesday shows.

Under Indiana law, state agencies are required to pay a 1 percent per month penalty when the agency fails to pay for contracted goods or services within 35 days of receiving them.

DCS racked up late fees amounting to $330,525.61 during the 2011 budget year, $115,314.63 in 2012 and $181,328.58 in 2013, according to the audit.

Agency appropriations totaled $941 million in 2011 and $793 million in both 2012 and 2013.

Rick Peterson, chief financial officer at the child protection agency, said the rash of late payments primarily was due to DCS taking over the Family and Children Fund from local governments in 2009.

That money is spent on out-of-home care for abused or neglected children, community-based family and support services, family preservation services and family reunification services, according to DCS.

Peterson said the agency recently implemented a vendor payment website to reduce invoice processing time. The website also has minimized incomplete or erroneous billings by DCS vendors, which Peterson said contributed to the high number of late payments.

As a result, he noted, DCS paid just $65,886 in late fees during the 2014 budget year, which ended June 30.

That still was the highest late fee total for any state agency and comprised 27 percent of the $240,668.14 in state tax dollars spent on late payment penalties last year, according to the state auditor's office.

The Times story includes a link to the DCS audit by the State Board of Accounts.

Sandra Chapman of of WTHR 13 reported in May of 2012 that the Indiana agencies who are the worst offenders are: "The Department of Child Services with more than a half million in late fees. The Indiana Department of Transportation with nearly a half million in late fees and FSSA Medicaid with more than a quarter of a million dollars in late fees."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 29, 2014 03:23 PM
Posted to Indiana Government