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Audit Audit of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC)

Audit found deficiencies related to investigations of suspected child abuse or neglect, background record checks of program employees, and the timeliness of investigations and licensing visits of group care programs. The audit examined the period of July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.

Organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: May 5, 2020

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) for the period July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018. In this performance audit, we assessed whether EEC conducted all licensed group care program site visits in accordance with its policies and procedures, ensured that corrective actions for noncompliance identified during group care program inspections were implemented, investigated all reported instances of child abuse or neglect in the residential programs1 it licensed, and ensured that all required background record checks (BRCs) were performed for group care program employees.

Below is a summary of our findings and recommendations, with links to each page listed.

Finding 1
 

EEC did not always review or initiate investigations of reports of suspected abuse and neglect of children in its licensed programs.

Recommendation
 

EEC should work with the state Department of Children and Families to establish adequate internal controls over the reporting and investigation process required by Section 51B(l) of Chapter 119 of the General Laws.

Finding 2
 

EEC did not ensure that all required BRCs were performed for employees at its licensed group care programs.

Recommendations
 

  1. EEC should develop and implement policies, procedures, effective monitoring, and periodic evaluations of internal controls to ensure that employees have BRCs.
  2. EEC should ensure that all current employees receive any portion of the BRC that has not been conducted.

Finding 3
 

EEC did not consistently meet its deadlines for group care program licensing visits.

Recommendations
 

  1. EEC should phase its group care programs in to its new model as soon as possible.
  2. EEC should meet its deadlines for licensing visits.

Finding 4
 

EEC did not always complete its licensed group care program investigations by established due dates.

Recommendation
 

EEC should implement a formal policy that documents a timeline for investigations and should communicate that timeline to all stakeholders involved.

 

A PDF copy of the audit of the Department of Early Education and Care is available here.

 

1.     Residential programs include group care programs and temporary shelters.

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