Updated:SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —
A program that was supposed to help Seminole County teenagers make the transition out of foster care has been caught spending money on foster kids from other parts of the state.
Channel 9 uncovered records that show the Orange County non-profit intervention services was helping people age out of foster care from as far away as Tampa.
According to the non-profit's contract, the organization was only supposed to be helping people aging out of foster care in Seminole County.
"The other communities should really be paying for the other people's issues that other counties should be paying for it, not ours," Seminole County taxpayer George Marques said.
Compliance officer Buddy Balagia says 16 out of the 23 people who were helped last year were not eligible.
"There is no way to fix it, there is no way to go back and make them eligible," Balagia said.
Even though the county could demand intervention services return the more than $16,000 that went to non-Seminole County residents, officials are recommending they keep the money because it is going to people in need.
"Everybody needs help, I mean sometimes I need help, it's nice helping people," Seminole County taxpayer Jon Deuel said.
Next year's contract has strict requirements that force the non-profit to list its objectives, provide a financial report of receipts and expenditures and give officials access to intervention services records.
In a statement, intervention services said, "the non-compliance with our contract with Seminole County was a result of our misinterpretation of the contract language."
The non-profit is now working with the county, to make sure the language in the contract is perfectly clear.