- Office of the State Auditor
Media Contact for Audit Identifies Necessary Improvements at Hampden County Probate and Family Court Register’s Office
David Todisco, Deputy Communications Director
BOSTON — The Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released a transition audit of the Hampden County Probate and Family Court Register’s Office (HCPFC), which highlights necessary improvements to the office’s internal control plan as well as not complying with key frameworks required by the Office of the State Comptroller’s office. The audit requested by current Hampden County Register of Probate Rosemary Saccomani, was conducted from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020, these findings are reflective of the prior term under Retired Register of Probate, Suzanne T. Seguin. In addition, HCPFC did not ensure guardians filed required reports and followed Judicial Best Practices for Failure to File a Care Plan Report.
“Especially when talking about the wellbeing of children, we must be reassured agencies are doing their due diligence to ensure the safety of children. Starting today, the court must begin implementing the requirement that guardians are submitting proper documentation and filing necessary reports. This is critical to ensure children are maintaining a stable living condition and receiving the care they need,” said State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
The audit found that from a sample of 60 active guardian case files, 47 guardians did not submit the required documentation. Without proper monitoring and follow-through of guidelines for non-compliant guardians, HCPFC cannot ensure that individuals needing guardianship are maintaining a stable living condition and are receiving the care needed to maintain an appropriate quality of life.
“Immediately upon being elected and taking office in January 2021, I contacted the Office of State Auditor, Suzanne M. Bump, and requested to have a full audit to report the status of Administrative operations to enhance the transition from the prior administration to my administration and to identify areas needing corrective action,” said Register of Probate Rosemary Saccomani. “Having worked in the HCPFC for 30 years, 18 as Deputy Assistant Register, I was aware of processes that were not being followed by my predecessor. Therefore, I took immediate action and corrected those issues identified in the audit upon my taking office in 2021. In addition, as a result of these new processes, I am proud to report that the backlog of cases has been cleared and that service to the residents of Hampden County has been greatly improved.
I am grateful to the Auditors office for validating the importance of these issues. The HCPFC continues to prioritize these matters and all matters to ensure that families, children, and the elderly are safe.”
HCPFC Register’s Office is authorized by Chapter 478 of the Acts of 1978, which reorganized the courts into seven Trial Court Departments. Each County has their own Probate and Family Court which is broken into three separately managed offices with the Register of Probate’s Office headed by an elected Register of Probate. Hampden County Probate and Family Court is one of 19 Probate and Family Courts across the state. They serve the residents of Hampden County on the 4th floor of Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse at 50 State Street, Springfield, MA. HCPFC provides services to the 466,372 (2019) residents of Hampden County.