New report shows 'significant changes' made to DCFS STEP program

New report shows 'significant changes' made to DCFS STEP program

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - According to a report released Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, "significant changes" have been made to the STEP program, which is operated by the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS).

The program gives eligible families job preparation and employment in hopes of helping them become self-sufficient.

According to the report, the program has reduced transportation costs and made steps at improving its job placement numbers. Those were two problem areas that needed improvement, according to a performance audit conducted in 2012.

"DCFS has reduced transportation costs by 81 percent, from approximately $5.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to just over $1 million in fiscal year 2015," the report stated.

The report credits the reduction to the number of participants in the program and the elimination of contracted providers and participant reimbursements.

The report also shows job placement has increased nearly 20 percent in the last year, though the program is still not reaching its placement goal. Program leaders have, however, entered into an agreement with the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) to help with job placement.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor released the following statement:

According to DCFS, a 'more immediate in-depth connection with LWC and the job market' will increase the likelihood of STEP participants leaving the program employed.

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