The Administration for Children and Families Should Improve the Oversight of Tribal Grantees' Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Programs
The Administration for Children and Families' (ACF's) oversight of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) did not ensure that grant funds were (1) used to provide the maximum available LIHEAP benefits to eligible households and (2) consistently administered in accordance with Federal laws, regulations, and guidance. (For this audit, we reviewed ACF's oversight in the context of the results of our previous audits of three Indian Tribes' (Tribal grantees') administration of their LIHEAP grant funds.) ACF's oversight of Tribal grantees focused on the reporting of obligated funds and not on whether the grantees had adequate policies and procedures to ensure that they used obligated funds to provide the maximum available LIHEAP benefits to eligible households. Furthermore, ACF selected only a limited number of Tribal grantees for onsite compliance reviews each year. These reviews did not ensure that grantees complied with Federal regulations. ACF did not have adequate policies and procedures to effectively oversee the Tribal grantees' LIHEAP grants.
We made procedural recommendations to ACF to revise its policies and procedures to improve the information that it has to oversee the Tribal grantees. We recommended that ACF enhance its policies and procedures for the Tribal grantees' use of obligated funds, for its reviews of the grantees' reports and their policies and procedures, and for the continued expansion of its program monitoring activities.
ACF concurred with most of our recommendations. It did not concur with part of one recommendation that dealt with the timing of the return of grant funds from home energy suppliers to the Tribal grantees and our recommendation to continue to expand its program monitoring activities. After reviewing ACF's comments, we revised the part of one recommendation that dealt with the timing of the return of grant funds from home energy suppliers to the Tribes. In addition, we revised our recommendation regarding the expansion of ACF's program monitoring activities to state that ACF should incorporate the findings from previous monitoring reviews into the monitoring prioritization assessment tool to help evaluate the optimal composition of State, Territory, and Tribal grantees selected for annual on-site monitoring reviews.
Filed under: Administration for Children and Families