LITTLE ROCK — Lawmakers voted Tuesday to move forward with a state audit of a financially troubled Russellville nonprofit that recently relinquished government funded child care operations.

LITTLE ROCK — Lawmakers voted Tuesday to move forward with a state audit of a financially troubled Russellville nonprofit that recently relinquished government funded child care operations.

The Legislative Joint Auditing Committee also reviewed a state audit of the Department of Workforce Services’ unemployment benefits program requested after a federal report showed the agency overpaid claimants by $161 million over three years.

The audit of Child Development Inc. was requested by state Sen. Terry Rice, R-Waldron, and Rep. Jon Eubanks, R-Paris, after news reports this month disclosed that some employees were not paid for work they did in January and that the non-profit had relinquished the federal and state grant funding it received to run the centers.

David Coles, an auditor with the state Division of Legislative Audit, said after Tuesday’s meeting that he and officials with the state Department of Human Services and state Department of Labor had planned to go to Russellville on Tuesday to gather information for the audit, but that meeting was postponed at the request of an attorney representing the nonprofit’s board of directors.

“I believe the wording was that counsel wanted time to review the situation and make sure that everybody was on the same page,” Coles said.

Child Development Inc., which provided child care services to more than 2,300 children at 30 centers in 12 counties, closed its doors Jan. 31, the last day of the fiscal year for the federally funded Head Start program. It reopened the next day but eventually relinquished the federal and state grant funding it received to run the centers.

Denver-based Community Development Institute took over both preschool programs Feb. 13.

Last week, DHS’ quality assurance office began investigating the Russellville nonprofit, and on Friday Kenneth Wolfe, an officials of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, said the agency’s Office of Inspector General has been asked to investigate.

In an email Thursday night, the governing board for CDI-Russellville informed employees that funds that had been deposited into their checking accounts to cover paychecks for work done between Feb. 6 and Feb. 10 had been withdrawn because of insufficient funds.

Amy Webb, spokeswoman for DHS, said this week that state officials were concerned because the Russellville firm received its grant funding earlier this month so its employees could be paid for work done between Feb. 6 and Feb. 10.

J. Cotten Cunningham, attorney for the nonprofit’s board of directors, did not immediately return a telephone call for comment Tuesday.

Lawmakers requested an audit of Workforce Services in September after a federal Labor Department report said the state overpaid jobless benefits by $161 million over the past three years.

Workforce Services officials said later that overpayments of unemployment benefits was closer to $45 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

Coles told lawmakers Tuesday the audit found that the amount of overpayments was actually $44 million.

“As a result of our review, we did not identify any areas of inappropriate activity relating to the benefits payments,” Coles said, adding the audit recommend some technical changes in the process Workforce Services uses in dealing with unemployment benefits.

Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Searcy, said later he was pleased with the audit results because it eased the minds of many lawmakers, and found some issues that DWS can correct.