Report 2009-109 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 2009-109: Sacramento and Marin Superior Courts: Both Courts Need to Ensure That Family Court Appointees Have Necessary Qualifications, Improve Administrative Policies and Procedures, and Comply With Laws and Rules (Release Date: January 2011)

:
Recommendations to Superior Court of California, County of Marin
Number Recommendation Status
25

To ensure that the FCS mediators are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should retain documentation in the FCS mediatorsí official personnel files to demonstrate that they met the minimum qualifications.

Fully Implemented
26

To ensure that the FCS mediators are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should verify the initial training of those FCS mediators hired who have worked at other superior courts.

Fully Implemented
27

To ensure that the FCS mediators are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should ensure that the FCS mediators receive supervision from someone who is qualified to perform clinical supervision so that they can resume their participation in performance supervision, as the court rules require.

Fully Implemented
28

To confirm that the private evaluators the family court appoints are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should establish a process to ensure that the private evaluators file declarations of their qualifications with the court no later than 10 days after notification of each appointment and before they begin any work on a case.

Fully Implemented
29

To confirm that the private evaluators the family court appoints are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should adopt a local rule regarding procedures for the private evaluators to notify the family court that they have met the domestic violence training requirements. If the superior court chooses not to adopt a local rule, the family court should establish a process to ensure that the private evaluators attach copies of their domestic violence training certificates to their completed evaluation reports.

Fully Implemented
30

To verify that the private minorís counsel it appoints are qualified, the Marin family court should establish a process to ensure that minorís counsel submit, no later than 10 days after notification of their appointment and before working on a case, the required declaration of qualifications.

Fully Implemented
31

To make certain that it orders evaluations as the court rules require, the Marin family court should consistently use the standard form.

Fully Implemented
35

To make certain that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Marin Superior Court should keep a complete log of all verbal and written complaints it receives regarding FCS staff.

Fully Implemented
36

To make certain that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Marin Superior Court should ensure that FCS follows the courtís established complaint process, including retaining the appropriate documentation to demonstrate adherence to the process.

Fully Implemented
38

To verify that all complaints received about the private mediators or evaluators that the family courts appoint are tracked and reviewed promptly, the Marin Superior Court should keep logs of all complaints it receives.

Fully Implemented
39

The Marin Superior Court should make certain that for future complaints it may receive, the court follows the steps stated in its process for registering complaints about evaluators.

Fully Implemented
50

To ensure that it reimburses only appropriate and necessary minorís counsel costs, the Marin Superior Court should develop a written policy that outlines the costs it will reimburse and that requires the attorneys to provide original receipts for their costs.

Fully Implemented
51

To make its conflict-of-interest policy more effective, the Marin Superior Court should modify its conflict-of-interest policy to include documenting the cause of potential conflicts of interest in writing and tracking their final disposition.

Fully Implemented
55

The Marin Superior Court should develop and implement processes to review periodically the court rules to ensure that its local rules reflect all required court rules.

Fully Implemented
Recommendations to Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento
Number Recommendation Status
1

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should retain in the mediatorís official personnel file any decisions to substitute additional education for experience or additional experience for the educational requirements.

Fully Implemented
2

To ensure that its Family Court Services (FCS) mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should update the current mediators' official personnel files with any missing information.

Fully Implemented
3

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should verify the initial training of those FCS mediators they hire who have worked at other superior courts.

Fully Implemented
4

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should develop a policy to retain training completion records for at least as long as an FCS mediator is a court employee.

Fully Implemented
5

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should take all reasonable steps to ensure that the FCS mediators meet all of the minimum qualifications and training requirements before assigning them to future mediations. If necessary, and as soon as reasonably possible, the court should require the FCS mediators to take additional education or training courses to compensate for the minimum qualifications and training requirements that were not met.

Fully Implemented
6

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should develop processes to ensure that it signs all FCS evaluator declarations of qualifications annually.

Resolved
7

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should ensure that its unlicensed FCS evaluators complete the licensing portion of the annual declarations of qualifications.

Resolved
8

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should identify the training each of the FCS evaluators need to satisfy the court rules' requirements and ensure that they attend the trainings.

Resolved
9

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should develop a policy to retain training completion records for at least as long as an FCS evaluator is a court employee.

Fully Implemented
10

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should develop processes to ensure that evaluator declarations of qualifications include all relevant information, such as the evaluator's experience.

Resolved
11

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should ensure that FCS evaluators attach certificates for their domestic violence training to each 3111 evaluation report they prepare.

Fully Implemented
12

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should take all reasonable steps to ensure its FCS evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before assigning them to any future Family Code Section 3111 evaluations. If necessary, and as soon as reasonably possible, the court should require the FCS evaluators to take additional education or training courses to compensate for the minimum qualifications and training requirements that were not met.

Resolved
13

To determine whether staff are capable and suitable for positions, the Sacramento FCS should ensure it follows the superior courtís probationary policy for any former employees the court rehires.

Fully Implemented
14

To ensure that it assists nonprobationary staff in developing their skills and improving their job performance, the Sacramento Superior Court should ensure that the FCS adheres to its employee appraisal policy.

Fully Implemented
15

To ensure that it assists nonprobationary staff in developing their skills and improving their job performance, the Sacramento Superior Court should clarify the employee appraisal policy by specifying how often updates to the duty statement should occur.

Fully Implemented
16

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should obtain any missing applications and training records for private mediators and evaluators on its current panel list before appointing them to future cases.

Resolved
17

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should ensure that if it continues to rely on the evaluatorsí licensure to satisfy the training requirements, the training courses that evaluators on its current panel list take are approved by the AOC or that the evaluators seek individual approvals from the AOC to take the courses.

Fully Implemented
18

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should create a record retention policy to retain the applications and training records related to private mediators and evaluators on its panel list for as long as they remain on the list.

Fully Implemented
19

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should establish a process to ensure that the private mediators and evaluators file their declarations of qualifications with the court no later than 10 days after notification of each appointment and before they begin work on a case.

Fully Implemented
20

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should reinstate its local rules for private mediators and evaluators to provide a minimum of three references, and for private evaluators to provide a statement that they have read the court's evaluator guidelines.

Resolved
21

The Sacramento family court should ensure that minorís counsel submit, within 10 days of their appointment, the required declarations about their qualifications, education, training, and experience. Specifically, the family court should send annual notices to the minorís counsel it appoints, instructing them to file the declaration.

Fully Implemented
22

The Sacramento family court should ensure that minorís counsel submit, within 10 days of their appointment, the required declarations about their qualifications, education, training, and experience. Specifically, the family court should continue to ensure the appointment orders direct the minorís counsel to complete and promptly file the declaration.

Fully Implemented
23

To make sure that the minor's counsel it appoints meet the additional standards required by the superior court's local rules, the Sacramento family court should obtain any missing applications for minor's counsel before appointing them to any future cases.

Resolved
24

To make sure that the minorís counsel it appoints meet the additional standards required by the superior courtís local rules, the Sacramento family court should create a record retention policy to retain the minorís counsel applications for as long as they remain on its panel list.

Fully Implemented
32

To ensure that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento FCS and family court should keep a complete log of all verbal and written complaints they receive regarding FCS staff.

Fully Implemented
33

To ensure that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento FCS and family court should follow the established complaint process, including retaining the appropriate documentation to demonstrate adherence to the process.

Fully Implemented
34

To ensure that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento FCS and family court should establish specific time frames for responding to complaints.

Fully Implemented
37

To verify that all complaints received about the private mediators or evaluators that the family courts appoint are tracked and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento Superior Court should keep logs of all complaints it receives.

Fully Implemented
40

To ensure that it provides transparency for the parties in family court cases, the Sacramento Superior Court should develop a local rule that defines its process for receiving, reviewing, and resolving complaints against private mediators and evaluators.

Fully Implemented
41

To clearly identify its process for registering complaints about private evaluators, the Sacramento Superior Court should make the necessary corrections to its 2012 local rules to add the complaint procedures that were omitted in error.

Fully Implemented
42

To strengthen its accounting process for California Family Code Section 3111 evaluations, the Sacramento Superior Court should update its accounting procedures related to billing FCS evaluation costs to include steps for verifying the mathematical accuracy of the FCS summary and the proper allocation of costs between the parties.

Resolved
43

To strengthen its accounting process for California Family Code Section 3111 evaluations, the Sacramento Superior Court should update its process for collecting amounts it is owed for California Family Code 3111 evaluations.

Fully Implemented
44

To strengthen its accounting process for California Family Code Section 3111 evaluations, the Sacramento Superior Court should develop a written policy for reviewing periodically the hourly rate it charges parties for California Family Code 3111 evaluations.

Fully Implemented
45

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should ensure that determinations about the partiesí ability to pay are made in accordance with the court rules and are properly reflected in the orders appointing the minorís counsel.

Fully Implemented
46

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should finalize, approve, and implement the draft procedures for processing minorís counsel invoices.

Fully Implemented
47

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should make certain that accounting follows the appropriate court policy when reviewing minorís counsel costs and that accounting does not pay costs that the policy does not allow.

Fully Implemented
48

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should take the steps necessary to confirm that accounting does not make duplicate or erroneous payments to minorís counsel.

Fully Implemented
49

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should take necessary steps to collect minorís counsel costs that accounting has paid improperly.

Fully Implemented
52

To make its conflict-of-interest process more effective, the Sacramento FCS should continue to maintain its log recording potential conflicts of interest.

Fully Implemented
53

To make its conflict-of-interest process more effective, the Sacramento FCS should update its conflict-of-interest policy to match its practice of identifying cases that could present a real or perceived conflict of interest, including cases involving court employees, and to include its current practice of documenting potential conflicts of interest in the FCS files.

Fully Implemented
54

The Sacramento Superior Court should develop and implement processes to review periodically the court rules to ensure that its local rules reflect all required court rules.

Fully Implemented


Print all recommendations and responses.


Report type

Report type
















© 2013, California State Auditor | Privacy Policy | Conditions of Use | Download Adobe PDF Reader