Controversy surrounding juvenile funding has State of Michigan questioning Wayne County officials

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) - A controversy that involves a program designed to help juvenile offenders is pitting the State of Michigan and Wayne County against each other. 

Officials from the county, the state, and the courts came up with the idea to help at risk kids.  Half the cost of some of the programs can be reimbursed by the state.  In a letter obtained by 7 action news, the state claims the county billed them incorrectly, mismanaged funding and now owes them 3.5 million dollars, possibly more. 

"As an example, one contract Wayne County approved, paid and submitted for reimbursement of services for numerous years did not qualify for child care fund reimbursement.  These errors have cost the state millions of dollars," said Dave Akerly, with the State of Michigan during a phone interview.

The state called for an accounting firm to look at the program in 2011 and claims the firm found several errors that cannot explain where the millions of dollars have gone.

"It's unaccounted for.  It's unaccounted for properly in terms of being able to qualify for reimbursement," said Akerly.

It is a letter the county calls a little fishy because it's not addressed to anyone, plus they never received it said Tadarial Sturdivant, with Wayne County's Children and Family Services.

"We think that there is some inconsistencies in that letter which does not provide the full story of the Wayne County juvenile services model," said Sturdivant.

The county acknowledges that some services were wrongly billed for and that the county is addressing the problem.  Sturdivant said the majority of money the state believes it's owed can be explained in accounting differences.

"It's even stated in one of the consulting engagements which was conducted by the state that the two should come together and resolve that issue.  If they resolve the issue of the accounting methods, it will resolve overwhelmingly the differences," said Sturdivant.

Even though the report acknowledges issues like differences in accounting, the state still believes they are owed millions and sent the county a plan they want them to follow to get those dollars back.

Wayne County said they are writing a response back to the State of Michigan.

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