Former foster care contractor was financially stable despite report

Lead foster care agency admits mistake in previous report

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The lead agency for foster care in Northeast Jacksonville admits it made a mistake when it reported the financial viability of their former contractor was a "potential problem."

Family Support Services of North Florida (FSSNF) ended its case management contract with Children's Home Society Buckner Division following a 2019 annual report that described "overwhelmed" case workers and a potential problem with the financial viability of the CHS.

On Friday, News4Jax I-TEAM obtained an email from the CEO of Family Support Services of North Florida to top executives of the Children's Home Society stating that FSSNF actually had no concerns over the financial viability of CHS.

The CEO of FSSNF explains in the email that their staff accountant calculated some established financial ratios and based on those calculations made an assessment regarding CHS Buckner Divisions financial viability, but when their senior management reviewed the report the concerns were dismissed as not valid.

The CEO explains although the concerns about CHS's financial viability were dismissed, the changes were not made in the report.

Family Support Services spokesperson said the January and February monitoring did point out serious deficiencies, but it was not the reason FSSNF discontinued the case management contract.

The Vice President of FSSNF told News4Jax the agency decided to stop subcontracting with Children's Home Services because of previous reports of large caseloads for caseworkers.

"There has been concern around the Buckner Division's underperformance for some length of time," Clayton said. "Those concerns center primarily around an unsustainable ratio of cases per dependency worker that falls outside of contract limits and an inability to timely attain permanency and adoptions that could not finalize within reasonable timelines."

The report from January and February 2019 summarizes interviews with three staff members at CHS.

"Some staff expressed they do not feel supported by their supervisor and feel overwhelmed at times. The staff stated there are only three transporters and expressed that they need more transporters to assist with visits and medical appointments," according to the report. 

McDade said the agency will continue to partner with FSSNF for other services.

According to a NSSNF spokesperson, National Youth Advocate Program is taking over the case management service.

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