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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Department of Human Services

Special Review

Key Findings:

  • The department did not structure its contract with DeafBlind Services Minnesota, Inc. (DBSM) to ensure that the deaf-blind grant funds were being used in accordance with the applicable appropriation laws. Although the appropriation law consistently referred to "providing services" to deaf-blind children and their families, the department did not write the grant contract to ensure that DBSM provided a maximum number of direct service hours to clients. In addition, the contracts did not limit the amount of administrative or indirect costs that DBSM could charge to the grant. Finally, the department did not have proper controls to ensure that DBSM did not report the same service hours to more than one state agency.
  • The department did not adequately monitor the DBSM grant contract in two areas. First, it continued to fund DBSM when the organization fell short of direct service hours as outlined in the grant agreement. Second, the department did not require DBSM to report actual grant expenditures when requesting reimbursements.

In November 1997, the Department of Human Services awarded DeafBlind Services Minnesota, Inc., (DBSM) a private, nonprofit agency, a grant contract for $150,000 to provide certain services to deaf-blind persons. Pursuant to Laws of 1998 that directed DHS to grant $100,000 to DBSM, the department increased the contract to a total of $250,000 in August 1998.

In January 1999, a complainant contacted the Office of the Legislative Auditor with concerns regarding DBSM. The complainant alleged that DBSM violated appropriation laws in its use of the grant funds. The complaint also alleged that DBSM received payment from more than one state agency for the same service hours. This report provides the results of our investigation into this complaint.

The department's response is included in the report.