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Audit finds oversight issues with foster care in New York

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State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is calling for improved oversight by the agency that regulates child foster care across New York.

According to a recent audit of 150 cases by the State Comptroller, the Office of Children and Family Services could not show that caseworkers contacted 33 children in foster care within the first month of placement as required by the agency.

"That's what the caseworkers job is - is to actually make sure that the children placed in foster care are okay. As soon as they get in there they'd be able to tell by just looking at the environment, by just looking at the children, by just talking to the foster parents, and getting in touch with where they are physically. When you don't have that documentation proving that you did the follow up, it puts the kids in a very vulnerable position," said Tania Lopez, DiNapoli's Deputy Press Secretary. 

Lopez said auditors also found a lack of oversight in background checks and security.

"And this actually can have an increased risk of placing these children in an unacceptable environment," Lopez said.

Lopez said on any given day across New York there are between 20,000 to 23,000 children in foster care. She said that DiNapoli believes the state should be doing all it can to protect them.

"What we hope, actually, is that the agency will implement some of the recommendations that we have put forth."

The recommendations include implementing strategies to improve compliance with requirements and approval of foster homes and contact services, and timely entry of caseworker notes.

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