Report 2016-126 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2016-126: California Department of Social Services: Its Caregiver Background Check Bureau Lacks Criminal History Information It Needs to Protect Vulnerable Populations in Licensed Care Facilities (Release Date: March 2017)

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Recommendations to Justice, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
4

To ensure that Social Services receives all appropriate criminal history information, Justice should immediately update its procedures to accurately reflect that staff should disseminate nonreferable arrests when there is a corresponding conviction and ensure that staff follow these updated procedures.

18

To ensure that Social Services receives criminal history information within 14 days of receiving an individual's fingerprint information, as state law requires, by July 2017 Justice should analyze its process, including delayed transmissions, implement changes to address problems it identifies, and regularly measure itself against the requirement to determine whether it is meeting its statutory requirement.

19

To ensure that it has complete disposition information, Justice should coordinate with the Judicial Council at least once a year to share information about court reporting gaps and to determine the need to distribute additional information to courts about reporting requirements and the manner in which to report. In addition, Justice should reconvene its advisory committee and meet on a regular basis to discuss, at a minimum, improving the frequency and timeliness with which courts report dispositions to Justice and law enforcement agencies report arrest information to Justice.

20

To ensure that it is receiving all arrest information from law enforcement agencies, at a minimum, Justice should consider trends in the number of arrest reports each law enforcement agency sends it and the number of reports that it might expect to receive from an agency given the agency's size, location, and reporting history. Whenever Justice identifies a law enforcement agency that it determines may not be reporting all required information, it should request that the agency forward all required arrest information.

Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

1. To ensure that Social Services receives all necessary information for making exemption decisions, the Legislature should amend state law to require Justice to send Social Services all available sentencing information for all convictions. Additionally, the Legislature should amend state law to require Justice to send juvenile criminal history information related to serious and violent felony offenses as well as any other juvenile criminal history that Social Services identifies as valuable to its exemption reviews.

2

To ensure that any entity authorized by state or federal law to receive state or federal criminal history information subsequent to receiving the initial RAP sheet is informed of all criminal activity of an individual, the Legislature should amend state law to clearly direct Justice to transmit all convictions it receives to the entities authorized to receive subsequent criminal history and require Justice to obtain and transmit subsequent federal RAP sheets to all entities authorized to receive subsequent California criminal history information and to report to the Legislature periodically about its implementation efforts.

3

To ensure that all applicable entities share their administrative actions with each other as state law intends, the Legislature should amend state law to require that Social Services, the Department of Aging, Public Health, Health Care Services, Medical Services, and county agencies provide each other their administrative action information.

11

To better ensure the safety of clients in licensed facilities, the Legislature should amend state law to require that Social Services receive state and federal RAP sheets for individuals before allowing them access to licensed facilities.

12

To better ensure the safety of clients in licensed facilities, the Legislature should amend state law to expand the list of nonexemptible crimes to include the eight crimes we identified and any other crimes it deems appropriate.

Recommendations to Social Services, Department of
Number Recommendation Status
5

To ensure that it more effectively shares, receives, and uses administrative action information, Social Services should develop and maintain a centralized database containing its own administrative actions and those received from other state departments, in order to share this information among these departments as required by state law. Social Services should seek funding if it believes additional resources are necessary.

6

To ensure that it more effectively shares, receives, and uses administrative action information, until a centralized database can facilitate real-time information transmittal, Social Services should amend its interagency agreements to specify that the departments should share their administrative action information as soon as possible after the action is final, but no later than five business days after the end of the month in which it became final. It should begin amending its interagency agreements by July 2017.

7

To ensure that it more effectively shares, receives, and uses administrative action information, Social Services should amend its interagency agreements so that the agreements remain in effect indefinitely. It should begin amending its interagency agreements by July 2017.

8

To ensure that it more effectively shares, receives, and uses administrative action information, Social Services should, as it receives administrative action information from other departments, share this information with the county agencies that perform licensing duties on its behalf.

9

To ensure that it more effectively shares, receives, and uses administrative action information, Social Services should direct its exemption analysts to review the administrative action information as part of their background check reviews.

10

To ensure that Social Services evaluates the risk individuals may pose to vulnerable populations in its licensed care facilities as quickly as possible, by July 2017 Social Services should establish time frames for staff to evaluate individuals who are present in their facilities and who have received administrative actions from other departments. In addition, it should monitor and follow up with the appropriate staff regarding the status of their assessments of these individuals and their final decisions.

13

To comply with state law and better protect vulnerable populations in California's licensed care facilities, Social Services should immediately change its policy to require that its exemption analysts evaluate all infraction convictions, other than minor traffic violations, before granting exemptions to individuals. If Social Services believes it is not feasible to evaluate all of these convictions, it should report to the Legislature by June 2017 how it ensures that vulnerable populations are not at risk and should request that the Legislature change the law to eliminate infraction convictions as a crime category that Social Services must evaluate in order to grant an exemption.

14

To comply with state regulations and its policies, the CBCB should immediately ensure that its background check case files support its exemption decisions by including complete decision summaries and all required supporting documents. Also, it should immediately update its exemption-needed letter to identify all of the documents its policies require exemption analysts to evaluate when deciding whether to grant an exemption. The letter should also eliminate requests for documents that Social Services does not believe can be used if the applicant obtains them, such as law enforcement reports.

15

To ensure that its exemption analysts are receiving information that Social Services believes is necessary and relevant to make exemption decisions, Social Services should immediately revise its policy to require that exemption analysts obtain law enforcement reports on behalf of individuals who seek exemptions.

16

Until the Legislature requires that Social Services receive both California and federal criminal history information before issuing a clearance or processing an exemption, to better protect vulnerable populations, Social Services should immediately revise its policy to require its regional offices to obtain all self-disclosure forms for individuals who submit fingerprints to Justice as part of an application to be present in a licensed facility. The regional offices should then forward to the CBCB all self-disclosure forms that identify a conviction.

17

Until the Legislature requires that Social Services receive both California and federal criminal history information before issuing a clearance or processing an exemption, to better protect vulnerable populations, Social Services should immediately change its practice of allowing individuals who have not submitted a self-disclosure form to Social Services to have access to licensed facilities, thus reflecting the requirements of state law. In addition, the CBCB should develop a process to ensure that individuals cannot receive a clearance or an exemption without the CBCB first receiving both California and federal criminal history information if a regional office does not have a self-disclosure form for the individual.

21

To ensure that Social Services processes criminal history reviews as quickly as possible so that delays do not impede individuals whose presence in a licensed facility would pose no risk, by July 2017 the department should establish formal time frames and monitor the stages of the exemption process. At a minimum, Social Services should establish time frames for notifying individuals and facilities that a criminal history exemption is required, evaluating information it receives, and making decisions on exemptions. As part of monitoring, Social Services should identify when cases become backlogged and work to swiftly conclude those exemption reviews. In addition, if it determines that its staffing levels are insufficient to meet its time frames, it should seek additional resources.

22

To ensure that Social Services processes legal actions as quickly as possible so that delays do not impede individuals whose presence in a licensed facility would pose no risk, by July 2017 the department should establish formal time frames and monitor the stages of the legal process. At a minimum, Social Services should establish time frames for assigning cases to attorneys. Further, it should regularly monitor itself against the 120-day time frame for serving an accusation after the Legal Division receives a case.

23

To ensure that it can accurately monitor its pending cases, by May 2017 Social Services should develop a work plan to identify and address its exemption process backlog by September 2017. At a minimum, the work plan should include reviewing the cases its database identifies as open without activity 150 days after receiving a RAP sheet and closing the cases in its database where Social Services already performed its final exemption decision action.

24

To ensure that Social Services processes arrest-only cases as quickly as possible, it should immediately follow its arrest-only and investigation policies, and monitor against those time frames for the various stages of the process.

25

To ensure that its regional offices consistently verify that excluded individuals are no longer present at licensed facilities, at a minimum, Social Services should immediately revise its policy to require that regional offices conduct site visits after it issues exclusion orders. In addition, it should formalize the verification process it develops in its procedures, train all regional offices, and monitor compliance with the process.

26

To ensure that regional offices pursue legal actions in a timely manner, by July 2017 Social Services' headquarters should identify a resource—such as a unit—to monitor and follow up with the regional offices regarding the status of their legal actions related to substantiated address matches of registered sex offenders at licensed facilities.

27

The CBCB should update its procedures manual so that it is a centralized document staff are able to use for the most up-to-date guidance in performing their duties. In, addition, it should update the CBCB-specific policies and combine them into a centralized document.

28

To ensure that its procedures are consistent and clear, Social Services should update its arrest-only case procedures and document its process for addressing subsequent arrest-only cases.

29

The CBCB should follow its new schedule for its refresher training sessions on the exemption process and continue to offer sessions as managers or staff identify a need.

30

The CBCB's arrest-only unit should develop and periodically conduct trainings on the aspects of the arrest-only process for which its analysts have not yet received training.

31

The CBCB should implement its planned changes for ensuring that files in the file room are in the appropriate place and filed correctly.



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