A new report finds significant problems with a state-funded child care program that’s designed to help low income families in Jersey.

State Comptroller Matt Boxer says after carefully reviewing program records, “we found overpayments being made by the state for one out of every 6 children in the program – that came back to things like over-stated attendance figures that the child-care centers were reporting- that were actually mistaken – ranging from that to things like simple math errors…if what we found in the sample holds true throughout the program, it’s an issue in the millions of dollars – it’s several million dollars that are at stake.”

He says the audit also found “that 1out of every 7 children in the program are actually ineligible based on their family income – that indicates that there may be 4 thousand children statewide in the program who shouldn’t be…there are 8 thousand kids on the waiting list, and so we have a situation where struggling families that the program was designed to help are sitting on a waiting list, while other folks who may lie on their application or there are other mistakes on the application are receiving state assistance for which they don’t actually qualify.”

Boxer adds his office has made a series of recommendations to the agency that operates the program to get things turned around, “things like when somebody applies for the program, require the applicant to submit their income tax returns to prove their income level rather than just take their word for it – we’ve also recommended that they go recoup the misspent funds that have happened to this point…and they’ve assured us they’re already in the process of implementing those recommendations.”