State-Funded Child Care Agency 4C Council Placed Under Audit

Source: Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside, March 22, 2017

… The Community Child Care Council of Santa Clara County—known as 4Cs, or 4C Council—lost Renales’ case file and fell behind on paperwork. She found out that the publicly funded nonprofit overstated her income by $5,800 a year, understated her family size and miscalculated her subsidy. The agency, which relies on roughly $45 million a year in government funding, has also fallen several thousands of dollars behind on payments to her child care provider, Action Day Primary. … Employees at 4Cs say that at least 100 cases went missing at one point, prompting a manager to order staff to stop what they’re doing and go on a “scavenger hunt” until they found them. Another source say 4Cs is so backlogged that in addition to missing files, there are more than 1,000 unassigned cases. … Last week, a handful of attachés from the California Department of Education (CDE)—the nonprofit’s primary funder—walked into the 4Cs north San Jose headquarters to begin an in-depth audit. … The 4C Council is responsible for subsidizing child care for more than 5,500 children in Silicon Valley. Since last fall, San Jose Inside has reported about the rampant dysfunction, crippling staff turnover, shuttered day cares and missing retirement payments at the 45-year-old agency. New details now indicate that the future of 4Cs—the South Bay’s single largest taxpayer funded nonprofit—grows increasingly uncertain. …

… Under Villaseñor’s leadership, day care centers have closed and families that depend on subsidies fear losing them because 4Cs misses deadlines. Day cares that depend on 4Cs to reimburse them have gone months without getting paid. … Contractors have operated with little oversight, leading to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against 4Cs for allegedly failing to prevent two girls from being sexually assaulted by an employee at one home day care. Despite tens of thousands of children in need of child care, according to a Santa Clara Child Care Needs Assessment, 4Cs struggles to meet enrollment targets and routinely fails to hire enough teachers to meet the one-per-eight student ratio. It’s not for a lack of funding either, as the nonprofit has returned millions of dollars in federal grant money in years past. … Other problems have only come to light because of a protracted battle between employees who voted to unionize. In February, San Jose Inside reported on a retiree’s pension payments being withheld. Two weeks after that story was published and seven months after her last day on the job, the retiree, Gloria Pena, got her first check in the mail. Meanwhile, four sources familiar with the situation say the nonprofit’s attorneys have admitted at the negotiating table that both pension accounts run afoul of federal law. According to union reps, Villaseñor also excluded an entire category of staffers from receiving pensions, misclassifying teachers and their aides as temps even if they worked at 4Cs for several years. …