Monday, February 12, 2024
A recently released State Commission on Investigation report on addiction treatment facilities found a number of abuses and failures in the regulation and oversight of facilities throughout the state.
Atlantic County government case workers were among those who first brought concerns about abuses in a state-licensed sober living facility located in Atlantic County to the attention of the state which led to an FBI investigation.
“Case workers from the Atlantic County Department of Family and Community Development acted as whistle blowers,” stated County Executive Dennis Levinson. “When they noticed discrepancies and non-compliance with sober living regulations, they reported their findings to authorities. They are to be commended for taking steps to identify abuses and report them so they could be investigated and addressed.”
Levinson explained that county government receives referrals from multiple agencies for placement of individuals in sober living facilities. The county’s initial responsibility is to confirm if the referred individuals are eligible for General Assistance (GA) and Emergency Assistance (EA), which are both funded through federal and state governments.
“Sober living housing is licensed by the State Department of Community Affairs, not county government,” continued Levinson. “Our job is to check that the property is licensed and has a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). We also confirm that individuals are receiving housing in exchange for payments made to the facility. But that is the extent of our responsibility.”
“Payments that were made did not exceed three months at a time and no county taxpayer dollars were used,” he added.
“Taxpayers can be assured of the competency of county government. When we see something, we say something. Fraud and abuse will not be tolerated on our watch,” stated Levinson.