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Open Recommendations

Military Families: Additional DOD Actions Could Better Support Military Foster and Adoptive Families

GAO-21-438
Aug 19, 2021
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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should provide a centralized location for and promote awareness of information about foster and adoption-related policies and available DOD supports to better assist military foster and adoptive families. For example, the Secretary of Defense could provide such information through Military OneSource, using a designated point person on an installation, or through an existing installation program office. (Recommendation 1)
Open
DOD generally agreed with this recommendation. The Department stated that it will explore opportunities to enhance existing information on foster and adoptive resources on Military OneSource and promote awareness of these resources. DOD also stated that it will ensure the Secretaries of the military departments explore the identification of an installation level office or point of contact for foster and adoptive family assistance. We will consider closing this recommendation when these efforts to address it are implemented.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Secretary of the Air Force revise AFI 36-3026, Volume 1, in cooperation with other DOD components as appropriate, to make it consistent with Department of Defense regulations on the required documents to enroll foster children in DEERS. (Recommendation 2)
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DOD agreed with this recommendation and that foster- and adoption-related policy developed and implemented by the Secretaries of the military departments should be consistent with DOD's policy. The Secretary of the Air Force should take the lead to revise the AFI, in cooperation with other DOD components as appropriate. We will consider closing this recommendation when the AFI is revised to ensure consistency.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Secretaries of the military departments identify opportunities to regularly promote awareness of accurate information and guidance that includes accurate information on enrolling both foster and pre-adoptive children to all staff responsible for DEERS enrollments. For example, the military departments could coordinate with relevant offices to promote awareness of the guidance through annual trainings or other training mechanisms. (Recommendation 3)
Open
DOD agreed with this recommendation to promote awareness of guidance that includes accurate information on enrolling both foster and pre-adoptive children in DEERS. DOD stated that it will ensure steps are taken to examine department-wide training and evaluate operational guidance for the personnel responsible for DEERS enrollment. The Secretaries of the military departments, which oversee the operation of sites that are responsible for DEERS enrollment, will be responsible for promoting awareness of this information. We will monitor the progress of these efforts.

Social Security Disability: Process Needed to Review Productivity Expectations for Administrative Law Judges

GAO-21-341
Jun 17, 2021
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of SSA should develop and implement a process for periodically reviewing the annual productivity expectation, and the supporting expectations as needed, and document those processes so that the bases of the expectations are clear and can be communicated to judges. This process should be informed by reviewing ALJ productivity data, considering any recent changes in policies and procedures, seeking input from ALJs and relevant stakeholders, and assessing the impact of any changes on the backlog of requests for hearings. (Recommendation 1)
Open
SSA agreed with this recommendation. The agency acknowledged the importance of periodically reviewing expectations and stated it will engage with stakeholders, including employee labor unions, on any changes to expectations or new measures or metrics for its employees. However, SSA did not explicitly address parts of this recommendation that we believe are important-specifically, developing and implementing a process for periodically reviewing expectations and documenting the process so the bases of the expectations are clear and can be communicated to ALJs. We continue to believe that SSA should be explicit and transparent in its communication with ALJs about the bases for any new productivity expectations it establishes.
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of SSA should take steps to determine whether the current productivity expectations for ALJs are reasonable, such as by seeking formal feedback from ALJs, and examining any other factors affecting the ability of ALJs to maintain a work-life balance and ensure quality decisions on requests for hearings. (Recommendation 2)
Open
SSA agreed with our recommendation. The agency noted various flexibilities that currently exist for employees to help with work-life balance and stated that it will engage in listening sessions with employees, as well as its labor partners, to continue to better understand and consider the impact of current expectations on their employees. Additionally, SSA stated that it will consider this impact as a potential factor when determining whether or how to modify expectations. We will monitor the agency's progress on these efforts.

Domestic Abuse: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Prevention, Response, and Oversight

GAO-21-289
May 06, 2021
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31 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness clarifies guidance for submitting data on the number and types of domestic abuse allegations. (Recommendation 1)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the department has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness develops a quality control process for reporting accurate and complete data on allegations of abuse, including those that were determined to not meet DOD's criteria for domestic abuse. (Recommendation 2)
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DOD concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the department has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness expands the scope of its planned future reporting of domestic abuse data annually to the Congress to include analysis of the types of allegations of abuse. (Recommendation 3)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the department has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should evaluate and, if needed, clarify or adjust responsibilities for tracking domestic violence and related command action data, including how any necessary coordination among responsible offices should occur. (Recommendation 4)
Open
DOD concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the department has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should ensure the cognizant offices revise or issue regulations to clarify that violation of civilian protective orders is punishable under the UCMJ as required by DOD policy. (Recommendation 5)
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The Army concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the Army has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of the Navy The Secretary of the Navy should ensure the cognizant offices revise or issue regulations to clarify that violation of civilian protective orders is punishable under the UCMJ as required by DOD policy. (Recommendation 6)
Open
The Navy concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the Navy has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Federal Low-Income Programs: Use of Data to Verify Eligibility Varies Among Selected Programs and Opportunities Exist to Promote Additional Use

GAO-21-183
Mar 29, 2021
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Administration for Children and Families The Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families should review the electronic data sources used by state LIHEAP grantees and assess whether additional information could be provided to grantees on data sources not currently or widely used to verify income in order to enhance LIHEAP grantees' data verification efforts. (Recommendation 1)
Open
ACF agreed with this recommendation and plans to take several actions to address it. The agency intends to seek approval from OMB to conduct a survey of LIHEAP grantees on data verification sources, convene a related grantee work group, and disseminate information on relevant training. We will consider closing this recommendation when these efforts are complete.
Office of Public and Indian Housing The Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing should assess whether there are ways to identify and share information on how PHAs are using electronic data sources other than EIV to verify income and/or assets in order to enhance PHAs' data verification efforts. (Recommendation 2)
Open
HUD agreed with this recommendation but did not comment on plans to address it.
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