Article updated on June 1, 2023.
Why do regulatory officials inspect facilities that serve children and vulnerable adults? The reasons are obvious. Yet audits that describe unsanitary and hazardous conditions at group homes and similar facilities appear with alarming frequency.
Many such audits are produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, which checks up on agencies that receive federal funding. Some of the OIG’s recent findings include:
A review of three child-care providers in New York City uncovered “potentially hazardous physical conditions” at 11 locations. These include unlocked fuse boxes, broken windows, insufficient smoke detectors and emergency exits.
In Kansas, 24 of 31 foster care group homes inspected by the OIG failed to comply with state environmental requirements. Infractions include rodent droppings, broken or missing windows, walls and doors with holes and rundown playgrounds strewn with trash.
All of the 20 foster care group homes the OIG inspected in Washington state failed to comply with at least one state health and safety requirement. There were holes in walls, decayed staircases, bedbugs, moldy vegetables and much more.
The problem in most cases isn’t that officials are indifferent or incompetent. The problem, rather, is that ensuring that licensed facilities meet health and safety requirements is difficult. Officials must inspect them regularly and in response to complaints. They also must ensure that inspectors conduct the inspections they’ve been assigned.
While software can’t do inspections for you, it can help your agency schedule and manage them … as well as the people who conduct them.
Software can be tailored to schedule inspections in any way your agency chooses using forms that feature all required inspection items. An application can manage ad hoc inspections as well, and it can even “load balance” inspectors in the field, assigning work according to the proximity and schedules of inspectors.
An application can allow inspectors to do their work using hand-held devices, which automatically transmit findings into the back-end of a software system, eliminating the need to enter data twice. Inspectors can even work in areas without internet connectivity. They enter information into hand-held devices, which send it when a connection is re-established.
With an application’s geolocation capability, you can track the locations of your inspectors and discourage the filing of fraudulent reports.
Learn more about GL Solutions’ Childcare Licensing Solutions.