Archive for the ‘Child Care’ Category

According to this article from CBS Boston, the problems in the Minnesota Department of Human Services are widespread. To quote the article, “DHS lost track of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money in just the last five years. That’s according to numerous investigations, reviews and outside independent analysis of one of Minnesota’s largest and most important agencies.”

Check this out:

Here’s a partial list in one place:
DHS Fraud/Waste

  • 2016: $271 million to MNsure.
  • 2017: $7.7 million to Medicaid.
  • 2018: $30 million to MNCare.
  • 2019: $72 million in child care.
  • 2019: $3.7 million to dead people.
  • 2019: $30 million in opioid overpayments.

That list alone comes to $414,400,000. That’s almost half a billion dollars spent on people who allegedly didn’t qualify for their various programs. That’s quite stunning in light of this fact:

Minnesota’s sprawling DHS occupies a full city block in downtown St. Paul, with 16,000 employees and a budget of $17.5 billion.

That’s before learning this:

DHS manages thousands of programs for Minnesota’s most vulnerable poor, disabled, seniors and children. Those programs include food stamps and housing, health care, refugee resettlement, sex offender treatment, gambling, drug addiction and mental health, and much more.

Then there’s this:

That statement is from 2011. The statement said that oversight was weak even then. Think about that a minute. Things didn’t change in almost a decade. Then think about this frightening thought: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want this to be the blueprint for health care ‘reform’. You can virtually hear people saying ‘Over my dead body’. The frightening thought about that battle cry in Minnesota is that those dead people might get a check from Human Services.

Trusting DHS isn’t a worthwhile effort.

After last week’s articles and statements about the difficulties identified within the Department of Human Services, Minnesotans didn’t expect to get blasted wit more graft, corruption and unauthorized payments. After reading this statement, though, it’s looking like reports like those will become relatively routine.

First, it’s totally legitimate to call some of what’s happening graft:

the acquisition of money, gain, or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one’s position or influence in politics, business, etc.

Let’s look at what’s been identified:

Senate Republican leaders announced a Senate Finance Committee hearing next week to examine the use of illegal contract and spending practices in state agencies. Based on recent reporting of brazen use by DHS employees of the 16A/16C forms that approve spending on services and purchases without a signed contract, a request has been made to the Department of Administration for their 16A and 16C forms across state government.

This agency is the fastest growing part of our budget,” said Senator Julie Rosen, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “We’ve heard about the fraud in childcare assistance, we’ve seen the waste in overpayments to the tribes, and now we have abuse by agency staff spending money without approval and filing a ‘get out of jail free’ form each time.

With the biennial budget signed, it’s time that Gov. Walz focused on fixing DHS. It’s the fastest-growing department in the budget. It’s filled with fraud, corruption or people who simply don’t give a damn:

Senator Michelle Benson, Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said “Commissioner Harpstead has been given an impossible task. The CFO at DHS has been trying to fix this problem, but the entrenched bureaucracy is preventing meaningful change. The governor needs to stop the ribbon cuttings and dig into fixing DHS,” Benson concluded.

It’s time for heads to roll. It’s foolish to argue that the inmates aren’t running the prison within DHS. At this point, there’s too much proof that what few guidelines and safeguards exist aren’t taken seriously. Major departments can’t function without systems that are well thought out and taken seriously. Departments that ‘operate’ without well thought out guidelines are profiles in anarchy and chaos.

The 16A/16C form expressly states: A payment made in violation of this chapter is illegal. …the violation is just cause for the employee’s removal by the appointing authority or by the governor if an appointing authority other than the governor fails to do so. (Emphasis added.)

If Gov. Walz won’t take this crisis seriously, then he should get defeated in 2022 in a landslide. Wasting 100s of millions of dollars without legitimate oversight is certainly despicable, if not outright corrupt.

The frightening part of this is that it isn’t limited to a rogue agency. To use Jim Nobles’ characterization, this situation is “pervasive.” More on that in the next article.

When CAIR-MN gets riled up, it’s my experience that it’s because they’re defending the indefensible. That’s what they did this past week. With help from ISAIAHMN, CAIR-MN went on the offensive, saying “Today the Somali-American business community and Muslim faith leaders of Minnesota called out recent scapegoating and grandstanding by some Republican politicians in the legislature. Several harmful bills have been introduced in the final days of this legislative session that do nothing to resolve the issues of families needing resources and instead engender divisive, fearful rhetoric about Minnesota’s African immigrant and Muslim communities. ‘These bills introduced specifically target our communities and our transferring of money to our loved ones in Somalia,’ said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-Minnesota. ‘This is a cynical attempt to use African immigrant and Muslim communities as a political football in the final days of the legislative session.'”

Predictably, Jaylani Hussein is leaving out important information. That’s his job. What he’s omitting is this:

In order for the scheme to work, the daycare centers need to sign up low income families that qualify for child care assistance funding. Surveillance videos from a case prosecuted by Hennepin County show parents checking their kids into a center, only to leave with them a few minutes later. Sometimes, no children would show up. Either way, the center would bill the state for a full day of childcare.

Video from that same case shows a man handing out envelopes of what are believed to be kickback payments to parents who are in on the fraud.

That’s how these poverty-stricken people get the money to send millions of dollars ‘home’, if that’s where it actually ends up. Hussein is whining because people are complaining because a group of people are committing fraud. That’s essentially stealing money. How dare these people steal this money. Minnesota taxpayers funded a program in good faith to help people but the people it’s supposed to benefit pilfer the money. It’s illegal to tell the state that children are using a whole day of child care when they’re at the child care center only minutes each day. That’s called fraud.

Turn on the waterworks all you want but crime is crime. A whistleblower stepped forward to expose this operation. Now that this operation has been exposed, CAIR-MN is Johnny-on-the-spot to spin this as just another attempt to keep Muslims down. What’s more disgusting is that ISAIAHMN is right there supporting them. Apparently, the rule of law isn’t important to either organization.

When it comes to child care issues, Rep. Mary Franson is the go-to person. As I do each week, I get an e-letter update from Rep. Franson. This week, the highlight of Rep. Franson’s e-letter was her work on the child care issue. The letter states “A shocking report recently revealed upwards of $100 million of state childcare subsidies being allocated to fraudulent childcare facilities, and then funneled overseas – possibly ending up in the hands of terrorist organizations. In the days following this report, I have received countless calls and emails from people who are rightfully outraged with this level of fraud at the expense of our state’s taxpayers.”

It continues, saying “In response to this concerning report, House Republicans unveiled legislation to prevent childcare fraud and ensure fraudulent public program dollars aren’t sent to countries on the US State Department travel ban list.”

Included were the highlights of the proposal:

  • Allows Department of Human Services (DHS) to use “Immediate Temporary Suspensions” to close childcare providers that do not fully cooperate with investigators if they are suspected of fraud.
  • Creates criminal and civil penalties for those who transfer fraudulent public program funds to countries on the US State Department travel ban list.
  • Creates increased fraud prevention measures in public programs including Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and other welfare programs.
  • Directs the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) to investigate CCAP.

Additionally, on the House floor on Tuesday, I successfully offered an amendment to a bill to mandate DHS take money from its existing budget and allocate it for training for childcare licensing agencies to identify and prevent fraud in the child care assistance program. This is, by far, the biggest Minnesota news story this year. In this post, I wrote that the Dayton administration ignored this fraud:

According to Stillman, he alerted a number of people in DHS, including the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff, with the following message: “Significant amount of these defrauded dollars are being sent overseas to countries and organizations connected to entities known to fund terrorists and terrorism.”

Finally, I’m as appalled as Rep. Franson about this:

I remain deeply troubled that nearly $100 million dollars per year have been fraudulently billed to the state of Minnesota. This breach of public trust indicates that DHS has failed in its duty to protect Minnesota taxpayers, and ensure childcare assistance dollars are going to those who truly need it to afford childcare. This bill starts the conversation as the legislature now intends to prevent future cases of fraud and hold DHS accountable.

The Dayton administration is filled with cronies who weren’t held accountable. This is why a legislator shouldn’t be elected governor. They’ve never run things. Gov. Dayton, as a former US senator, never ran things. That shows in this list of Dayton administration mistakes:

Unfortunately, the widespread fraud of childcare assistance funds is just the latest in a series of blunders by the Dayton Administration’s state agencies. This repeated pattern is highlighted by complications with MNsure’s rollout; MN IT Services’ failed handling of MNLARS; and the inability of DHS to accurately bill tens of thousands of MNcare enrollees. Failures such as these demonstrate the lack of accountability within this administration, and each instance of mismanagement has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Simply stated, Minnesotans have grown frustrated with this administration’s inability to effectively provide services through taxpayer-funded government programs.

Ron Latz isn’t just about criminalizing law-abiding gun owners. He’s also into making 12 to 17 year olds feel like criminals.

Monday, “senators overwhelmingly approved three bills written to help reduce regulations home-based child care providers say could drive them out of business.” Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer “said the No. 1 problem with home-based child care is an existing state rule requiring family members ages 12 to 17 to undergo a criminal background check, including being fingerprinted and photographed. ‘This is frightening for them,’ Kiffmeyer said, and makes the youths feel like criminals. The bill provides for a simpler background check for young people.”

The legislature took up this bill because “94 percent of the home child care providers say they are thinking about closing” and because “in rural Minnesota, the lack of child care has become a crisis”, according to “Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne.”

Ron Latz has a different take:

Sen. Ron Latz, D-St. Louis Park, said he is concerned that easing the background checks for youths could allow some dangerous people near children. Kiffmeyer, however, said the Human Services Department considered her bill a good balance between safety and privacy.

That’s BS. Sen. Latz is simply carrying the unions’ water. It isn’t that he’s worried that 12 to 17 year-olds pose a major risk to children. It’s that he’s intent on making life miserable for child care providers who rejected union representation.

It’s apparent, too, that Sen. Latz cares more about unions than he cares about the child care crisis. That’s a sick puppy.