The state Department of Education has implemented 9 of 10 recommendations made by the legislative auditor to better control spending on child care, according to a report issued Monday morning.

The agency has partially implemented the 10th recommendation, Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said.

Under review is spending on the Child Care Assistance Program.

The program helps pay for child care while the parents in low-income families are at work or attending school.

The payments average $210 per month for children under 13 or disabled children under the age of 18.

About $59 million was spent on 23,478 children in 2017.

Nearly 5,000 more children are on a waiting list for benefits.

A 2012 report by the Legislative Auditor said the state made about $46,000 in improper payments when the program was controlled by the Department of Children and Family Services.

But the latest report said the state Department of Education, which took control of the program in 2015, has trimmed the amount of improper payments to about $24,000.

The audit said the department has taken steps to prevent providers from caring for children who live with them, a violation of state rules.

It also said the education agency has implemented procedures to keep providers from scanning children in and out of care on behalf of parents; tightened controls over manual payments and launched a monthly report to highlight cases of where excessive numbers of children were listed retroactively as attending.

The report said the department could take steps to easier identify improper payments for those children listed late as having attended.

Department officials disagreed.

In a written response, they told Purpera proper procedures are already in place and that violators face sanctions.

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