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The Administration for Children and Families Did Not Always Resolve American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Grantees' Single Audit Findings in Accordance With Federal Requirements

Head Start grantees are required to have Single Audits conducted in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget Circular A 133 (also known as A-133 audits) for fiscal years beginning before December 26, 2014. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is responsible for following up on recommendations made to grantees in A 133 audit reports. We reviewed Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC) data for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start grantees in ACF Regions VI, IX, and X that submitted A-133 audit reports from Federal fiscal years 2013 through 2015.

ACF had a process in place to ensure that Head Start grantees took corrective action on A-133 audit findings. However, for AIAN Head Start grantees that submitted audit reports to the FAC, ACF did not always resolve recurring audit findings in accordance with Federal requirements and ACF policies and procedures. Specifically, ACF did not issue Audit Determination Letters (letters) for 11 of the 14 audit reports we reviewed within 6 months after receiving the reports. In addition, although ACF provided the grantees with letters stating that the corrective action satisfied the recommendation for which ACF has resolution responsibility, ACF did not always establish specific dates for grantees to correct all deficiencies noted in the audit reports. Finally, ACF did not always follow up with grantees to ensure that they actually took corrective actions to resolve audit findings. The prompt resolution of audit findings helps ensure that Federal funds are effectively and efficiently used to carry out the activities for which they were authorized.

We recommended that ACF (1) ensure that management decisions are issued to AIAN Head Start grantees within the 6-month timeframe, (2) include in the letters sent to AIAN Head Start grantees specific dates for correcting deficiencies, (3) monitor AIAN Head Start grantees to ensure that grantees actually implement corrective actions, and (4) review its staffing levels to ensure that the audit resolution process is conducted in accordance with Federal requirements.

In written comments on our draft report, ACF concurred with our first and fourth recommendations but did not concur with our second or third recommendations. After reviewing ACF's comments, we maintain that our recommendations are valid and encourage ACF to take appropriate and timely corrective action.

Filed under: Administration for Children and Families