Milwaukee foster care agency surrenders license after state raised questions

A Milwaukee foster care company surrendered its license late last year — at least the fourth foster care provider to face closure amid heightened scrutiny by the state Department of Children and Families.
In its March revocation letter, the state alleged that Brighter Destinies Inc. had a "history of being out of compliance" with numerous regulations, including personnel and financial record-keeping, background checks, hiring qualified staff and other issues.
The company was given eight months to transfer the licenses of its foster families to other agencies. Brighter Destinies surrendered its license to provide foster care services on Nov. 15, according to DCF spokeswoman Sara Buschman. Between 12 and 14 foster children were being served by Brighter Destinies at the time of its license revocation, she said.
The state has begun to scrutinize the finances of such child-placing agencies, which contract with counties and other agencies to recruit, train and license foster parents and place children in foster homes.
Last week, the state Department of Children and Families revoked the license of Middleton-based Community Care Resources Inc., alleging its owner had overcharged the foster-care program by $6.1 million between 2009 and 2011. Owner Dan Simon has appealed the revocation, and the company continues to operate during the appeal. It serves about 120 children.
The state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services will be briefed about the CCR allegations by officials from the Department of Children and Families Thursday.
In its revocation letter, the state alleged that Brighter Destinies had overdrawn accounts and failed to timely reimburse a foster parent $3,750 in fees. The previous year, the company had avoided closure by agreeing that president and CEO Eric Folds would no longer be involved in "any shape or manner" in the business.
In an interview, Folds insisted there was no misappropriation of funds, but he declined to comment on specifics.