National Court–Appointed Special Advocate Program
Audit Report 07-04
Office of the Inspector General
We conducted an audit of NCASAA and the member CASA programs to determine: (1) the types of activities NCASAA has funded since 1993, and (2) the outcomes in cases where CASA volunteers are involved as compared to cases where CASA volunteers are not involved, including:
We conducted our audit in accordance with Government Auditing Standards. We included such tests as were necessary to accomplish the audit objectives. The audit generally covered, but was not limited to, the period of January 1, 1993, through June 30, 2006. Audit work was conducted at NCASAA and state, local, and tribal CASA program offices.
To determine the types of activities funded by NCASAA since 1993, we requested that NCASAA provide accounting data from January 1, 1993, through June 30, 2006, for all expenditures from both federal and private funding sources. We found that NCASAA did not retain any accounting records or supporting documentation for expenditures occurring prior to 1995. Additionally, although NCASAA retained some of the accounting records and supporting documentation for 1995 through 1997, the information was incomplete. According to federal regulations (28 C.F.R. § 70, updated 2006) grantees are only required to retain financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to Department of Justice grants for a period of 3 years from the date of submission of the final financial report. Therefore, NCASAA was not required to retain the accounting records and supporting documentation for its expenditures occurring prior to 1998, and we do not take exception to this practice. As a result, our analysis was limited to the period of January 1, 1998, through June 30, 2006.
To determine the types of activities funded by NCASAA from January 1, 1998, through June 30, 2006, we sorted the expenditures reported in NCASAA’s general ledgers by program code. Additionally, we requested summary accounting information for the subgrantee expenditures for the same time period, which we also sorted by type of expense.
To verify NCASAA expenses for allowability and allocability, we judgmentally selected 25 cost accounts totaling over $1.6 million. Additionally, we randomly selected 15 transactions totaling over $500,000. We tested the supporting documentation for all expenditures included in our sample to determine if the costs were allowable, allocable, and properly supported.
To determine the outcomes in cases where CASA volunteers are involved as compared to cases where CASA volunteers are not involved, we found that with the exception of the length of time a child spends in foster care, HHS does not require state and local CPS agencies to report data that specifically addresses the outcome measures mandated by Congress for this audit. NCASAA also does not request that its CASA program members provide data that specifically addresses the outcome measures required for this audit. As a result, although we obtained data for the state and local CASA programs that we used to address the audit objectives, we were not always able to obtain comparison data for cases that did not involve a CASA volunteer. Further, OJP had not established outcome measures for any of its grant programs that provide funding to CASA programs.
Additionally, at any point in time, only a small percentage of the participating state, local, and tribal CASA programs have open subgrants of OJP grant funding awarded by NCASAA. For those CASA programs that do not have subgrants NCASAA can request, but not require, that they provide outcome data. Nonetheless, for its 2005 Annual Program Survey, NCASAA received data on children from 90 percent of its CASA program members.
Because of the lack of data on the objectives mandated for this audit, to determine the outcomes in cases where CASA volunteers are involved as compared to cases where CASA volunteers are not involved, we relied on the following:
We identified two studies of the CASA program that in our judgment provided the most comprehensive and current information related to this objective.
For the CASA Data Request, NCASAA distributed our request for data from the case management systems to 731 state, local, and tribal CASA programs. We received data from 192 respondents representing 339 programs.Additionally, we distributed a nationwide survey to state, local, and tribal CASA programs offices requesting information on the four outcome measures, as well as additional information on the: (1) basis for the responses related to the four outcome measures in our survey, (2) effectiveness of NCASAA, and (3) data reported in the Caliber Study. Out of the 945 CASA programs to which the OIG survey was sent, we received 491 responses. The consolidated results of the OIG survey are detailed in Appendix II.
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