- Office of the State Auditor
Media Contact for Audit Calls on the Department of Veterans’ Services to Improve its Women Veterans’ Network
Lauren Feltch Donoghue, Director of Communications
Boston — In an audit released today, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump criticizes the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) for lacking policies and procedures to ensure it is identifying and serving women veterans through its Women Veterans’ Network (WVN) operations. Under state law, DVS is responsible for assisting and advising veterans’ services officers (VSOs) on benefits and services for which veterans may be eligible. In partnership with VSOs, DVS provides guidance to veterans and their families to determine their eligibility for federal, state, and local programs, benefits and additional resources. The Women Veterans’ Network had only identified approximately 6% of the approximately 25,000 women veterans living in Massachusetts. The audit examined the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021.
This audit also determined that DVS was not in compliance with Section 2 of Chapter 111 of the Massachusetts General Laws, which states DVS must establish an 11-member advisory committee on women veterans to investigate, foster and promote the interests of women veterans. DVS had only 4 (36%) active members for its 11-member advisory committee on women veterans during the audit.
“DVS responded to our audit findings by pointing to specific instances of agency support for women veterans,” said Bump. “Isolated events however do not make up for the lack of overall strategic planning, policy development, and performance monitoring. Moreover, our audit found that the WVN did not have adequate documentation to substantiate that it was conducting a number of important activities related to advocacy, support services and outreach for women veterans and their families. We doubt, based on the data and other material provided, that most women veterans are aware of all the resources available to them through DVS. This is unacceptable.”