Investigation: State audit shows tax dollars went to childcare centers with no kids

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by Chris Nagus / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 10, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 11 at 6:49 AM

(KMOV.com) -- Anyone who has ever watched kids knows it’s a tough job, but it’s not bad when you get paid to watch kids that don’t exist.

An audit of the Missouri Early Childhood Development Education and Care Fund reveals something troubling.

More than $170,000 that was supposed to help children did not.

State Auditor Tom Schweich says his staff uncovered big problems.

“What we can say is there is a lot of waste,” said Schweich.

Money that was earmarked to help childcare centers open or expand was totally mismanaged.

In one case the Department of Social Services paid $22,500 to operate a daycare near the Lake of the Ozarks, but there was one important thing missing.

“No children attended it, they paid the salary but no children ever showed,” said Schweich.

Then there was the $60,000 paid to expand a facility outside Kansas City, Bright Futures Daycare and Preschool in Higginsville, MO.

According to the Auditor, the expansion never happened, but the money was paid out.

But the biggest waste was more than $89,000 to a daycare provider in Dexter, MO.

Three months after getting money to upgrade the facility, the owner sold the place, the new owner chose not to operate a daycare.

“It would be like a taxpayer paying for the addition on your house, you sell the house and get all the benefit of it, that’s not how the taxpayer dollars should be paid,” said Schweich.

DSS responded to the Audit stating they are working to get a portion of the $170,000 back.

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