The Department of Human Resources has temporarily hired a management expert from the Los Angeles County welfare department and has implemented productivity standards for more employes to reduce high error rates in the city welfare department.
Frederick W. Gustafson, chief of the management and evaluation division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, will spend two months helping DHR officials define and correct management problems that may be contributing to the high error rates.
The thrust of the program, said Gustafson, is to devise a management system that makes workers more accountable for their actions. Similar planning was introduced into the Los Angeles welfare system six years ago, he said.
As a result, the county's combined error rate for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and General Public Assistance (GPA) dropped from 14 percent to 3 percent, Gustafson said. The county was also able to reduce its staff while increasing productivity, he said.
Los Angeles County pays out $2 billion in welfare payments annually, Gustafson said. Even with the reduced error rate, about $21 million dollars is misspent within the total program each year. Seven million dollars, or one per cent of the total $702 million AFDC budget, is misspent on AFDC payments alone, he said. Approximately 168,000 families receive AFDC in Los Angeles County.
DHR Director Albert P. Russo said the combined error rates for AFDC and GPA in the District have declined within the past year. The department is now tabulating figures on exactly how much it has dropped. New management techniques and productivity standards are expected to further improve the record, he said.
On Jan. 2, productivity standards were applied to GPA workers who review the records of GPA recipients to determine whether they are still eligible to receive public assistance. The standards are part of a continuing process that has been applied to other Public Assistance Administration (PAA) workers, and will eventually be applied to all DHR employes.
GPA recertification workers at the GS-5 level must now review a minimum of 20 cases per month. A GS-7 worker must review 25 cases monthly, and a GS-9 must review 30 cases.
Russo said it is especially important to lower error rates in the GPA program because it is funded entirely by the District without any matching federal funds.
GPA is provided for temporarily disabled persons who have no income while they are unemployed.