ST. PAUL – A bill state Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, authored would strengthen record-keeping standards with the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program as concerns fester regarding the use of tax dollars it receives.
A report issued Wednesday by the non-partisan Office of the Legislative Auditor details widespread fraud in CCAP, which was established to help low-income families afford child care so parents are able pursue employment or further their education to land a job. The OLA’s report also indicates a lack of internal controls at the Department of Human Services makes CCAP fraud difficult to prosecute.
Last month, Demuth introduced H.F. 1680 and it requires child care providers receiving CCAP payments to keep daily attendance records at the site where services are delivered. The bill says those records must be made available immediately to the county or the commissioner upon request, or the provider may be subject to an overpayment claim.
“We know there has been fraud in this program,” Demuth said. “While questions remain just how deep it goes, any money that does not go to the intended purpose is robbing children and their families of assistance that could help them get a step ahead. We owe it to those people and to the taxpayers in general to closely guard this funding and anything less is unacceptable.”
A separate House proposal would require private oversight in the form of surety bonds for those child care providers taking over a quarter-million dollars in assistance.