This report shares the findings of an audit of the Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) oversight of Louisiana’s Foster Care Program. The evaluation generally included fiscal years 2012 through 2016 and identified the following issues: DCFS faces significant challenges in performing its required duties, including low staffing levels, high caseloads, frequent turnover of staff, retention of foster parents, and ineffective data systems; DCFS did not always ensure that non-certified foster care providers received required criminal background checks; DCFS allowed nine certified providers with prior valid cases of abuse or neglect to care for foster children during fiscal years 2012 to 2016 without obtaining the required waivers; DCFS management does not have a formal process to ensure that caseworkers assessed the safety of children placed with 68 non-certified providers, as required by policy; State regulations require DCFS to expunge certain valid cases of abuse or neglect from the State Central Registry, which means the cases are not available for caseworkers to consider prior to placing children with providers; DCFS did not always ensure that children in foster care received services to address their physical and behavioral health needs; during fiscal year 2016, 17.9% of foster children in care for less than 12 months had three or more placements, compared to the national median of 14.4%; and DCFS’s performance declined or the percentages of areas needing improvement increased statewide from fiscal years 2014 to 2016 in 7 out of 18 areas evaluated on the Continuous Quality Improvement that related to foster care. Recommendations for improving services are made and the response of DCFS is provided. 

Link to Report

Title: Oversight of the Foster Care Program, Department of Children and Family Services [Louisiana]. Performance Audit. 2017. 
Published: 2017 
Available from: Louisiana Legislative Auditor 
https://www.lla.la.gov/ 
1600 North Third Street 
Post Office Box 94397 
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9397 

Published in Children's Justice Act

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