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$60G recouped from foster care program

More than $60,000 has been recouped from duplicate or overlapping payments by Nassau's foster care program, county Comptroller George Maragos has announced.

"In one case, a service provider" billed the county for a child simultaneously at two sites, Maragos said in a news release this week.

Karen Garber, a spokeswoman for Nassau's Department of Social Services, which operates the program, thanked Maragos.

"While out of 15,000 claims [audited for 2008 and 2009] 76 were found to be erroneous, this still remains an unacceptable number," she said. "We are grateful to the comptroller for assisting DSS in highlighting those claims and will take every step necessary to ensure there is no repetition."

Maragos said he is pleased "that DSS has taken many of our recommended steps. . . . Recouping the funds is also a win for the taxpayers."

Maragos' office, which has had an employee at DSS since March, will keep that person there indefinitely "to help," the comptroller said.

Nassau has more than 1,000 children in foster care. When a child is moved from one site to another, the required movement form is not always completed in a timely fashion, he said.

Maragos said that the current outstanding balance on $78,000 owed from the 76 incidents is nearly $16,000. That includes a payment plan for $7,800 from one contractor, while another is disputing $5,000.

"Inactive vendors account for about $3,000, which we recommend that DSS tries to collect," he said.

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