Report 2007-124 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 2007-124: Safely Surrendered Baby Law: Stronger Guidance From the State and Better Information for the Public Could Enhance Its Impact (Release Date: April 2008)
|Recommendations to Social Services, Department of|
To ensure that it is aware of and can appropriately react to changes in the number of abandoned babies, Social Services should work with the Department of Public Health and county agencies to gain access to the most accurate and complete statistics on abandoned babies.
To support future efforts related to the safe-surrender law, including continuing outreach and improving the quality of the State's statistics, Social Services should consider using a portion of existing funds, such as those available in its trust fund, and should consider renewing its partnership with First 5 California, which Social Services can legally use for such efforts.
To ensure that individuals who surrender babies receive proper protection under the safe surrender law, Social Services should clarify the definition of 'safe surrender', and then disseminate and monitor its use among county and state agencies. The clarified definition should address situations in which babies are born and surrendered in a hospital as well as those in which the individual surrendering the baby indicates that adoption is his or her ultimate goal. If Social Services believes statutory change is needed to do so, it should seek the requisite authority from the Legislature.
To ensure that individuals who surrender babies receive proper protection under the safe-surrender law, Social Services should clarify the circumstances under which safe-surrender sites and counties must protect the identifying information on the individual who surrenders an infant. At a minimum, Social Services should revoke its erroneous guidance on the waiver of the privilege of confidentiality by individuals who safely surrender babies.
To ensure that individuals who surrender babies receive proper protection under the safe-surrender law, Social Services should require counties to correct records in the CWS/CMS that Social Services' staff believe are erroneous because counties have misclassified babies as either surrendered or abandoned. Because Social Services does not believe it presently has the authority to do so, Social Services should seek legislation to obtain this authority.
To provide surrendered babies and their health care providers as much information on their medical histories as possible, Social Services should consider ways to improve the availability of medical information.
To continue promoting awareness of the safe-surrender law in the most cost-effective manner, Social Services should work with the counties to leverage models and tools currently in use in California, such as existing middle and high school curricula and translated materials.