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The Rundown with Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit

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The Rundown is your source for news and updates from the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit including conversations with staff discussing the findings of performance audits released to the Kansas Legislature. Continue Reading >>
The Rundown is your source for news and updates from the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit including conversations with staff discussing the findings of performance audits released to the Kansas Legislature. << Show Less
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Availability, Cost, and Quality of Centralized IT Security Services [July 2022] The 2018 Kansas Cybersecurity Act created the Kansas Information Security Office (KISO) to reduce state agencies’ cybersecurity risk. KISO offers agencies 3 cybersecurity service levels--basic, intermediate, and advanced--that appear to align with the Cybersecurity Act requirements we could review. However, KISO’s services may not have as many effects as the Legislature intended because few agencies use intermediate or advanced services. Agency officials we surveyed had mostly positive opinions about KISO’s services but officials may not always know what their agencies’ needs are or what KISO services they receive. That may be because KISO’s communication with agencies isn’t proactive enough.KISO is funded through fees it collects from agencies. Its revenues appeared to be less than its costs in fiscal years 2020-2021. But we don&apos;t know if KISO’s services are cost-effective because of data limitations and neither do KISO officials or most of the 7 agencies we interviewed. KISO officials described steps they take to limit their costs, some of which may have unintended negative effects.
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Reviewing Issues Related to State Cryptocurrency Tax Policies [July 2022] Kansas’s cryptocurrency tax policies generally aligned with federal policies, but some of those policies have been difficult to enforce in recent years. Federal tax policy is set up to tax cryptocurrency in several ways. Kansas’s income tax code mirrors federal tax policy. As a result, the state should receive income tax revenue from cryptocurrency transactions. However, it’s unlikely Kansas receives all income tax revenue from cryptocurrency transactions because of a lack of federal reporting guidelines. Finally, state governments have yet to agree on a set of best practices regarding the taxation of cryptocurrencies.
Availability, Cost, and Quality of Centralized IT Security Services [July 2022] The 2018 Kansas Cybersecurity Act created the Kansas Information Security Office (KISO) to reduce state agencies’ cybersecurity risk. KISO offers agencies 3 cybersecurity service levels--basic, intermediate, and advanced--that appear to align with the Cybersecurity Act requirements we could review. However, KISO’s services may not have as many effects as the Legislature intended because few agencies use intermediate or advanced services. Agency officials we surveyed had mostly positive opinions about KISO’s services but officials may not always know what their agencies’ needs are or what KISO services they receive. That may be because KISO’s communication with agencies isn’t proactive enough.KISO is funded through fees it collects from agencies. Its revenues appeared to be less than its costs in fiscal years 2020-2021. But we don&apos;t know if KISO’s services are cost-effective because of data limitations and neither do KISO officials or most of the 7 agencies we interviewed. KISO officials described steps they take to limit their costs, some of which may have unintended negative effects.
The Audit Proposal Process and New Audits While some audits are statutorily required, most are requested by legislators and approved by the Legislative Post Audit Committee. A legislator, legislative committee, or representative from the Governor’s Office contacts our staff to let us know they are interested in an audit. In this Rundown episode, Chris Clarke, Legislative Post Auditor, and Kristen Rottinghaus, Deputy Post Auditor, discuss the audit proposal process and summarize the new audit proposals LPA staff will be working on in the coming months.
Trends in Social Workers Employed by School Districts [April 2022] The Kansas Legislature created the Mental Health Intervention Team Program in school year 2019 to increase students’ access to mental health care resources. It has reauthorized and expanded the program in the following years. Kansas school districts employ licensed mental health care staff to provide several different services to students.  Districts reported a 13% increase in total licensed mental health staff FTE including a 29% increase in social worker staff FTE from school year 2019 to 2022. However, the FTE trends should be interpreted with caution because school districts don’t report social worker FTE consistently to the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). The 5 community mental health centers (CMHCs) and 5 school districts we interviewed generally reported positive experiences with the program even though all 5 CMHCs reported losing staff to school districts.
Reviewing Agencies’ Implementation of Selected Performance Audit Recommendations [April 2022] Our January 2020 audit of the juvenile justice reforms (Senate Bill 367) had recommendations related to improving and sharing available juvenile offender data across several agencies and strengthening the Department of Correction&apos;s grant approval processes. In this follow up audit, we determined the 2 agencies implemented 4 of the 5 recommendations we made in the 2020 audit. Specifically, as of February 2022, the Kansas Department of Corrections implemented all 3 recommendations. The Office of Judicial Administration has implemented 1 and is currently implementing the other recommendation.  We also noted the Office of Judicial Administration&apos;s centralized case management system project is significantly behind schedule.
Evaluating Disbursements for the Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program [April 2022] The Tax Credit for Low Income Student Scholarship program helps eligible students to attend private schools of their choice. Kansas law requires that 90% of contributions be disbursed as scholarships within 36 months. During the period from 2015-2021, scholarship granting organizations disbursed just over $9 million in scholarships of the $15.5 million in contributions they received. All but 2 scholarship granting organizations met the 90% distribution requirement during that time. Both organizations mentioned that a lack of eligible students caused them to fall short of the requirement. KSDE monitors scholarship granting organizations&apos; compliance with state law at a high level, but their processes lack information to track the 90% distribution requirement.
Impacts and Financial Aspects of the Kansas Driver’s License Suspension and Revocation Process [April 2022] Overseen by the Kansas Department of Revenue, the Division of Vehicles is responsible for suspending and revoking driver’s licenses. Suspended or revoked drivers must fulfill violation-specific criteria to have their license reinstated, and in some cases, they must also pay a fee. From 2019 to 2021, Kansas drivers paid about $18 million in fees to have their driver’s licenses reinstated. The fee revenue was allocated to several different state agencies and programs. From 2019 to 2021, the Division of Vehicles issued 176,000 driver’s license suspensions or revocations. Some Kansas drivers may have experienced financial or social hardships from their suspension or revocation. Fees and other financial obligations may have limited some drivers’ ability to get their license reinstated for less-severe violations. Most of the academic research we reviewed also suggested that the loss of driving privileges had a negative financial and social impact on people. Stakeholders we spoke to agreed that the loss of driving privileges could have a negative impact on Kansans, but recent changes in state law could help lessen that impact.
Reviewing Foster Care Services for the Health and Safety of Children [March 2022] In fiscal year 2021, 4 case management providers served about 7,000 children in foster care statewide. DCF monitors the foster care program at a high level, but case management providers determine how best to serve children in foster care. Although DCF generally has adequate written policies, DCF and case management providers’ practices were not adequate to ensure the safety of children in foster care in several areas. DCF’s policies appeared generally adequate to ensure children were placed in appropriate homes, but they could be stronger in one area.  However, case management providers did not meet key safety and well-being standards related to appropriate placements. Further, case management providers aren’t always using comprehensive data for making placement decisions.  DCF policies were adequate regarding monthly visits between case management staff and children in foster care.  However, in practice case management providers did not follow DCF policy related to frequency of in-home visits. Further, case management providers did not sufficiently assess the safety of a child in all cases. DCF had adequate policies and grant requirements for responding to urgent matters. However, foster parents complained about slow responses to urgent situations and poor communication in general. DCF policies on foster parent training were adequate, and most foster parents report they have been provided with appropriate training. DCF had adequate policies to locate missing foster care children, and it appears case management providers and DCF followed took appropriate action for runaway or missing children.   High caseloads and data use likely caused many of the issues we found related to child placement and safety. DCF has not taken action to correct systemwide safety issues despite continued concerns about the safety of children in foster care. The state does not have the capacity to provide services to all children in foster care, especially those with specialized service needs. Most Kansas counties had enough foster home capacity to meet their demand in fiscal year 2021, but close to 40% of the state’s counties might not have enough foster home capacity. Even when counties have enough licensed foster homes, stakeholders told us the state may not have enough homes to care for children with complex physical, emotional, and behavioral needs. DCF told us they are looking into options to address placements for children with complex physical, emotional, and behavioral needs children. Caseloads for case workers were higher across the state than best practices recommend. Case workers we surveyed told us high caseloads made it difficult for them to do their job.  Across the state, children may not have always received services they needed, especially specialized or acute services. Much like safety issues, service delivery and capacity issues are not new to DCF and suggest larger accessibility issues.
Division of the Budget: Evaluating the Accuracy of Certain Economic Impact Statements [March 2022] Since 2008, state law required state agency officials to complete an economic impact statement for every new or amended Kansas Administrative Regulation. In 2018, amendments to state law significantly changed the economic impact statement process.  We found that most economic impact statements (84%) submitted from 2018 to 2020 did not have a cost estimate because agencies either believed there was no cost or did not report one. Additionally, several economic impact statements we reviewed had small errors or inconsistencies. We found the Division of the Budget’s review appeared to have little effect on agencies’ economic impact statements. The division&apos;s review process also did not include two requirements in state law. We also reviewed a state law requiring agencies to hold a public hearing for any economic impact statements that had two-year compliance costs exceeding $3 million. From 2018 to 2020, only two economic impact statements had a two-year cost that exceeded the $3 million threshold. However, were unable to fully evaluate the impact of adjusting the $3 million threshold because of how agencies reported costs.
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