Federal undercover investigators found workers at federally financed child care centers frequently misrepresenting information about applicants’ job status and earnings to fraudulently register ineligible children, the Government Accountability Office said in a report issued Tuesday.
The investigators posed as parents or guardians of fictitious children and used bogus pay stubs and other documents to seek to register for day care services at Head Start centers, the report said. In 8 of 15 undercover tests, employees lied on federal forms about the applicants’ family income and other information to gain approval for the ineligible children, the report said.
Head Start, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department ith a budget of about $9 billion this year, provides child care and other services to nearly one million children nationwide. To be eligible, children must be from families whose incomes do not exceed 130 percent of the poverty level, or about $28,600 a year for a family of four.