Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
July 7, 2016

Contact
Russ Reno, DHHS Public Information Officer, (office) 402-471-8287 or
(cell) 402-450-7318, or russ.reno@nebraska.gov

Feds Lift Restrictions on Child Care Development Funds
After Improvements in Work Processes, Internal Controls

Lincoln—The Department of Health and Human Services announced today federal restrictions enacted more than two years ago on the use of Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) grant funds were lifted June 30. 

The notification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) releasing DHHS from restrictions was received June 28. The restrictions required that Nebraska obtain prior approval prior to using federal funds.

“This is good news and is a clear result of our efforts to be more accountable and transparent in our work,” said Courtney Phillips, DHHS CEO.  “We have developed new work processes and implemented internal controls, resulting in sustained improvements, including the accurate claiming of federal funds and timely filing of our federal expenditure reports.”

The Child Care Development Program includes funding for activities related to increasing quality in early childhood education in Nebraska as well as the Child Care Subsidy program. The Child Care Subsidy program supports working, low-income families with the costs of early child care and afterschool programs.

A letter received from ACF Grants Officer Nadine Roth praised Nebraska’s effort, saying, “Tremendous effort has been put forth during these past two years by many Nebraska DHHS staff from re-developing work processes to hiring additional staff. Many dedicated DHHS staff have been instrumental in achieving the progress made to date.”

DHHS developed new policies, procedures and controls in line with ACF’s processes to effectively manage the program and ensure proper use of funds.

ACF placed the Child Care and Development Fund on restrictions in April 2014, due to a history of non-compliance with federal requirements that included late, incomplete and missing financial expenditure reports for four years; a history of audit findings that may have resulted in the loss of grant funds due to inaccurate reporting and unallowable claims; and inability to provide supporting documentation for claims.

Phillips said with staff focusing on providing efficient and effective government service, a number of changes showed ACF that the program improvements work and are sustainable, including:
  • All required grant reports, which previously were not completed on time, have been submitted by their deadlines since March 2015 with supporting documentation.
  • Inaccurate and unallowable claims have fallen 90 percent.
  • New reporting processes, cost allocation procedures, contracting processes, and internal control procedures were developed and proved successful to ensure claims are allowable.

“This is another example of our efforts at DHHS to provide customer-focused services that meet the needs of low-income families while also keeping a close eye on being good stewards of taxpayer receipts,” Phillips said. “We will continue to seek ways to make this program, as well as all our programs, more effective.”

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