Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released an audit of the Nassau County Juvenile Detention Center (“JDC”) which provides mandated housing and educational services, to youths, from 10 to 17 years of age. The audit covering the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014, highlights that mandated educational services, provided by a contracted third party, were not adequately monitored and most employees did not have NYS education certification. Furthermore, employee clearances for child abuse were mostly not performed prior to hire. Additionally, errors and misclassifications in financial reporting for state reimbursement resulted in a loss to the county, of $700,423 in 2014 and $574,843 in 2013.
“The Juvenile Detention Center appears to be failing in its mission to help troubled juveniles, and is costing more taxpayer money than necessary,” said Comptroller Maragos. We are also troubled by JDC’s resistance to embrace the findings and move quickly to implement badly needed changes. We urge the JDC and the Administration to effect all the audit recommendations.”
The audit found a number of additional operational and financial control issues with the juvenile detention center, including:
JDC does not have an adequate inventory control system. Thirteen of nineteen equipment items tested in a physical inventory count could not be located
- The JDC Educational Vendor did not comply with contractual terms and New State Regulations in a number of very significant areas that would be most helpful to juveniles;
- Did not conduct an evaluation of the student’s educational needs and did not interface with the school district within 72 hours,
- Did not establish an educational plan within ten (10) school days of referral or first school day as required by New York State Law and Regulations,
- Did not provide progress reports and education plan updates every thirty days as contractually required.
- JDC did not follow up with its Educational Vendor to obtain all contractually required data in order to effectively oversee the Center.
- JDC had not attempted to find a new Educational Vendor since 2009.
JDC is supervised by The Nassau County Department of Probation as licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (“OCFS”). The audit was conducted to determine whether juveniles housed at the JDC are receiving the services required by New York State Regulations, including educational services, and that there was adequate fiscal management of the facility. The county’s cost to operate the JDC between 2012-2014 totaled $13.3 million, of which the state reimbursed $8 million. The State would have reimbursed $9.3 million if the JDC had filed all reimbursements claims accurately.
—Submitted by Nassau County Comptroller Maragos