The Administration for Children's Services continues to do business with private foster care providers that have allowed children in their care to be abused or neglected, according to an audit released this week by the New York State Comptroller's Office.
According to the audit, which follows up on a 2015 audit from the comptroller studying ACS contracts and contractor performance, ACS has made "virtually no progress" on the major recommendations in the original audit. That audit, which examined a sample of 40 ACS contracts, found that ACS had frequently awarded non-competitive or semi-competitive contracts to foster care providers found to have failed to protect children in their care from abuse or neglect. The report found that ACS renewed and extended contracts with these contractors. It also found deficiencies in ACS's reporting of contracts to the city comptroller's office.
It called for ACS to increase the lead time for contract awards to facilitate competitive bidding processes, provide thorough documentation justifying decisions to award non-competitive contracts, improve monitoring of contractor performance, and renew contracts based on performance.
But according to the findings of a follow-up audit, which were released in the form of a letter sent to ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrión, ACS has not implemented these recommendations.
The follow-up audit examined a random sample of 10 contracts—eight contract renewals, one extension, and one new contract—awarded during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
The deaths of two children whose families had been repeatedly investigated by ACS for abuse but who were not removed from their homes has placed ACS under immense scrutiny in recent months. In October, weeks after the death of one of those children, Zymere Perkins, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he would be instituting major reforms at ACS. Last month, Commissioner Carrión announced that she would be stepping down from her position. According to ACS, she will stay on as commissioner until a qualified replacement is found.
ACS spokesperson Aja Worthy-Davis defended the agency's record in a statement to Gothamist. "We are working closely with providers to ensure that they are able to complete the complex application process to register contracts on time," she said. "Our rigorous monitoring of foster care agencies include monthly safety checks, random case reviews, improvement plans, and other assessments."