New York, NY – New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has released a report indicate serious concerns
The Comptroller’s audit found that ACS performs insufficient oversight of the foster system that leads to the improper certification of foster homes across New York City. The report found that 81 percent of sampled foster home files in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018 were missing evidence of one or more certification requirements. This includes mandated training, medical exams, background checks, and clearances. While ACS does review some foster home certifications, it does that only after children have already been placed in those homes and even then, the Comptroller’s audit found that nearly one-quarter of homes that ACS deemed compliant should not have been certified.
“Every child should grow up in a safe and supportive home, and high standards for children under the City’s care are non-negotiable,” said Comptroller Stringer. “But our audit shows that ACS’s lack of oversight enables a deficient foster care system, where children can be placed in homes that don’t measure up or meet their needs. What’s worse is that ACS is deflecting its responsibility to help ensure that foster homes are safe and supportive before a child even enters the picture. We have to do better for our youngest New Yorkers and ACS needs to immediately embrace meaningful change.”
While ACS contracts with providers to manage the process of certifying foster homes and to place and support children in foster care, ACS remains responsible for managing the foster care services – and is considered the temporary custodian of children in the foster programs. Potential foster parents and homes must meet prerequisites set by the State Office of Children and Family Services to become a certified foster home. This includes background clearances from the FBI and State, and a home study. Yet, ACS failed to help ensure that every foster home was fully and correctly certified to take care of children, before children were placed in their care.