Some Massachusetts Group Homes for Children in Foster Care Did Not Always Comply With State Health and Safety Requirements.
Audit Report A-01-16-02500
Jarmon, Gloria L.
United States Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Inspector General.
Published: December 2017
This federally funded report shares the findings of a study that examined whether Massachusetts’ monitoring ensured that foster care group homes complied with State licensing requirements related to the health and safety of children in foster care. For the study, 30 group homes that received foster care Title IV-E federal funding for calendar year 2015 were selected on the basis of various factors, including the group homes’ location, capacity, age of children in the homes, and operational status. Unannounced site visits were conducted through Massachusetts in May 2016. Findings indicate that although the Department of Early Education and Care (State licensing agency) performed the required onsite monitoring at all 30 of the group homes reviewed, this onsite monitoring did not ensure that all 30 homes complied with State licensing requirements related to the health and safety of children in foster care. Specifically, at the time of the onsite visits, 27 group homes did not comply with 1 or more State requirements for living units, 26 group homes did not comply with 1 or more State requirements for buildings and grounds, 20 group homes did not comply with 1 or more State requirements related to bathing and toilet facilities, and 11 group homes did not comply with 1 or more State requirements related to toxic substances. In addition, 15 group homes did not comply with State requirements regarding the care of residents, and 18 group homes did not comply with 1 or more required background records check or fingerprint submission requirements for employees. The study concluded that because Massachusetts did not ensure that group homes complied with State requirements, the health and safety of the children residing in the group homes were potentially at risk. Recommendations are made for ensuring group home compliance and State comments are provided.
Massachusetts; residential care institutions; group homes; foster children; child safety; child health; state agencies; licensing; agency standards