Some foster children were placed in the care of relatives with a history of alleged abuse or neglect because Maryland’s social services agency did not properly monitor local agencies, according to a new audit.
State auditors found that 16 children, ranging in age from 2 months to nearly 5 years old, were put in the care of relatives despite “credible evidence of abuse or neglect” by them before or during the placements. The Office of Legislative Audits, which released the report this week, reviewed records from July 2010 to January 2013.
“We need to do better. The bottom line is, these placements need to be safe,” said Melissa Rock, child welfare director for Advocates for Children and Youth, a nonprofit advocacy group. “When a child is abused or neglected in a DHR placement — be it a group home, a foster home, a kinship care home — we need accountability and there needs to be more public awareness to help hold everyone accountable.”
This is not the first time auditors have cited the foster care agency, overseen by the state Department of Human Resources, for failing to properly monitor such placements. A 2011 audit found the same problem.