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The Health and Human Services Department should provide more training and technical assistance to Head Start grantees to correct accounting and management "deficiencies,'' a new report by the agency's Inspector General recommends.

The report is based on a review of 674 audits of 569 grantees and includes a summary of more than 1,700 audit findings completed between September 1990 and December 1991.

According to the report, about 40 percent of the grantees did not have complete and timely accounting or budget-control procedures, 44 percent did not fully comply with federal regulations or meet standards for federal financial reports and independent audits, and 24 percent exhibited cash-management problems.

The report cited cases in which grantees had withdrawn funds in excess of immediate need, failed to return interest earned on federal funds, failed to deposit cash and checks in a timely fashion, and transferred Head Start funds to nonfederal activities.

The report urges H.H.S. "to continue its efforts toward the development of reliable systems that will insure proper stewardship over program funds.''

It also advises the Administration for Children and Families to establish corrective-action plans for grantees with problems and drop those who "cannot demonstrate sound fiscal and management controls.''

An A.C.F. response included in the report disputes the significance of some findings, details how others are already being rectified, and argues that the report "does not support a conclusion that federal Head Start dollars are at significant risk.''


Rep. Michael N. Castle, R-Del., will fill a vacant seat on the House Education and Labor Committee.

Mr. Castle, elected to Congress in 1992 after serving as Delaware's Governor since 1985, will serve on the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education and Training and the Subcommittee on Human Resources.

He replaces former Rep. Paul Henry, R-Mich., who died this year.

As Governor, Mr. Castle served for three years as the chairman of the National Governors' Association's Human Resources Committee. He also co-chaired a task force on health care with then-Gov. Bill Clinton.

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