Department of Public Health Mismanaged Funds, Audit Finds
The state Department of Public Health mismanaged public funds for programs seeking to prevent child injury and abuse, according to an audit released Tuesday by State Auditor Elaine Howle, the Sacramento Bee reports.
About the Audit
The audit focused onÂ the state's Child Health and Safety Fund and a trust fund for certain child abuse awareness projects.
The Child Health and Safety Fund was established by the Legislature in 1992 and receives about $4.3 million to $5 million in annual revenue, according to the audit.
The trust fund was established in 1982, and over the past six fiscal years, it has received annual revenue ranging from slightly more than $800,000 to $1.5 million (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 11/28).
Audit Findings on Child Health and Safety Fund
According to the audit, DPH -- formerly the Department of Health Services -- violated state law by hiring a private contractor, the San Diego State University Research Foundation, to manage part of the Child Health and Safety Fund known as the Kids' Plates Program. State law prohibits the use of private contractors when state workers can perform necessary tasks (McGreevy, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 11/27).
The audit also found that after the state determined two years ago that it could not continue the foundation's contract, officials continued to allow the foundation to provide services for 10 additional months without a contract. During that time, the state paid the foundation $300,000.
The audit stated that the public health and health services agencies "spent roughly 40% of their total appropriations received between fiscal years 2006-2007 and 2009-2010, or nearly $2.1 million, on the research foundation's administrative costs for the Kids' Plates Program" (Sacramento Bee, 11/28).
State officials acknowledged problems with the contracting procedures and said they have started conducting a review of the process (Howard, Capitol Weekly, 11/27).
Anita Gore, a DPH spokesperson, said the agency is "working to ensure that the funds are used as they are intended" ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 11/27).
Broadcast CoverageOn Tuesday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the audit from Howle (Bartolone, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 11/27). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.