Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) announced that the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has awarded Rockland County a grant to help detect fraudulent claims for child care subsidies. Fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer-funded social services is a significant drain on local governments’ budgets, which are now tighter than ever before with the enactment of the two percent property tax cap.
“Social services should be available to help those families and individuals in need – and with today’s tough economy, many still struggling from the devastation of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and the high cost of living in our state, we should make every effort to ensure that those who truly are in need are the ones receiving assistance,” said Rabbitt. “However, those who are fraudulently filing claims or abusing the system should be rooted out, and that’s exactly what this grant will help Rockland County do. Not only does elimination of this sort of fraud and abuse help save taxpayer dollars, but it also helps ensure that those who are truly in need get the helping hand they deserve.”
Rockland County will receive $60,000 from OCFS’s Child Care Fraud Prevention and Detection Incentive grant program. The grant allows the county to obtain the resources needed to detect, prosecute and prevent child care subsidy fraud.
Currently, OCFS provides child care block grants for 210,000 children across the state, as well as licensing and registration of over 18,000 child care providers and 50,000 legally-exempt child care providers. According to OCFS, when unscrupulous providers submit fraudulent subsidy vouchers, the funding available for eligible families is decreased, therefore, reducing the number of families that can participate in the program.
To combat this, OCFS has launched a comprehensive statewide anti-fraud initiative. In addition to many new requirements for child care providers and increased local social services authority to stop child care payments and initiate legal actions against fraudulent child care providers, OCFS has awarded 20 grants to local social services, including Rockland County, for a total of nearly $1.2 million. These grants were awarded through a competitive application process.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt said, “I am a proud working mother. All of my staff are also hardworking moms. We understand how crucial it is to have the best, most affordable child care options for your children. The goal of this initiative is to make sure that more hardworking parents are able to know they can go to work while leaving their child in a safe, enriching environment that they can afford and rely on.”