Auditors fault Vegas foster home
Auditors reviewing Nevada’s facilities for children in state care were so concerned about the mess they found in a Las Vegas foster home in March that they called Clark County Child Protective Services.
Deputy Legislative Auditor Sandra McGuirk wrote that, when they entered the home, they saw an empty insulin syringe on the floor, an empty prescription medicine bottle, unsecured flammable liquids, a hammer and sharp knives, pans full of grease on the stove, overflowing garbage cans and filthy bathroom sinks, as well as food remnants and soda cans on the carpet.
She said this is the first time conditions have been so bad in an inspection that they felt it necessary to call Child Protective Services.
“These conditions are unacceptable in any foster home,” said Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno.
The foster home was one of more than 30 operated by Eagle Quest, which has homes in Las Vegas and Pahrump. Director of Operations Dave Doyle said the mess happened after the foster parent running the home suffered a medical issue and was taken to the hospital. He said the woman’s husband was overwhelmed and he was not informed that she wasn’t there.
Doyle apologized to the legislative audit subcommittee but added that the home was under a corrective action plan from Child Protective Services in Clark County and he was never told about that. He admitted that conditions in the house were “atrocious” when the audit team showed up and, and he said that’s why he immediately moved the six foster children there to another home.
He said numerous changes have been made by the company since then to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again in one of its homes.
Foster home operators in his system must tell him immediately if they are being investigated by a government agency. He said that if a foster parent has a medical issue or another problem requiring their absence, his staff is to be informed within 24 hours so they can put someone in there. He said other changes have been made as well, including tightening controls over medications given to children in foster care – a perennial complaint by legislators.
“We now have multiple people signing off on the medication logs,” Doyle said.
Leslie, who chairs the audit subcommittee, said the medications issue is still showing up in every six-month audit of the child care system, yet she was unable to get a bill through this past session requiring training for foster care and group home workers so they keep accurate records.
Doyle said that standardized training is needed and that operators like himself need to hold their employees accountable.
The practice of investigating a sample of both governmental and private child-care facilities every six months was started about four years ago after serious charges were raised about conditions and treatment of those confined to the state’s juvenile prison, the Nevada Youth Training Center in Elko.