May 19, 2011

County Executive Mangano Announces New Initiatives To Reduce Day Care Fraud, Waste & Abuse

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today an aggressive new initiative to reduce the incidence of day care fraud, waste and abuse. Conservative estimates from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) indicate that anywhere from 11% to 33% of expenditures on publically funded day care benefits are lost to fraud, waste and abuse due to the improper conduct of day care providers and recipients.

In 2010, New York State day care expenditures totaled $730 million and Nassau County expenditures totaled $49 million. Based on recently released OCFS estimates, $80.3 million to $240 million annually may be stolen from taxpayers statewide by those who cheat the system. The estimate of fraud, waste and abuse in Nassau County may range from $5.4 million to $16 million annually.

“Welfare fraud is a national disgrace,” said County Executive Mangano. “We will not allow individuals who cheat and defraud the system to waste taxpayer money and deprive those who are truly in need of important services. Nassau County will continue to carefully monitor child care center services to insure they are in compliance with all statutory and reporting requirements.

Effective immediately, the Department of Social Services will institute the following measures to prevent day care fraud, waste and abuse:

  • Increase review of new applications for day care benefits especially for parents who claim to be working “off the books;”
  • Enhance review of existing day care benefits on an on-going basis;
  • Target day care providers with questionable practices such as billing for perfect attendance over extended periods of time, weekday billing for school-age children or billing for meals provided when the child was not present;
  • Improve communication between social workers and fraud investigators; and
  • Increase fraud referrals to law enforcement when criminal activity is suspected

According to the Department of Social Services (DSS) Deputy Commissioner for Finance Paul Broderick, “the Department of Social Services is aggressively attacking fraud, waste and abuse in all program areas. We will insure that 100% of each dollar spent is expended appropriately and in accordance with established policies and procedures.”

As noted by DSS Director of Employment and Day Care Services Sunita Manjrekar, “In an effort to monitor potential fraud, Nassau County is implementing the Child Care Time and Attendance System (CCTA). The new system will provide greater effectiveness, consistency, fraud prevention and efficiency in overseeing child care service across the County.

Jan Barbieri, Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Nassau added, “For those child care programs that have worked diligently to follow appropriate DSS procedures, there will be no consequences. For those that haven’t, it is most critical in these times of scarce resources that they be identified. It is my hope that every dollar recovered from fraudulent activities will be redirected and utilized for working families in need of quality child care programs.”

“We are committed to protecting the integrity of the welfare system in Nassau County” said Scott Skrynecki, DSS Director of Investigations. “Together, we will keep up the fight against day care waste, fraud and abuse through information sharing, the use of sophisticated technology, staying ahead of emerging fraud trends and aggressive investigations.”

To report questionable practices in programs such as Day Care, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Public Assistance and Family Health Plus, please call 1-877-711-TIPS (8477). All calls are completely confidential and callers can remain anonymous.