Report 2005-129 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2005-129: Department of Social Services: In Rebuilding Its Child Care Program Oversight, the Department Needs to Improve Its Monitoring Efforts and Enforcement Actions (Release Date: May 2006)

Recommendation #1 To: Social Services, Department of

To ensure that the department continues to make monitoring visits, including periodic inspections and complaint visits, and carries out its other required responsibilities for child care facilities, the department should continue its efforts to make all nonconfidential information about its monitoring visits more readily available to the public.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2012

CDSS has improved the transparency of licensing reports and records to ensure parents and guardians using a licensed child care facility are aware of situations that present the greatest danger to children.

The CDSS' transparency efforts include:

Posting a notice of a site visit at the facility, which indicates an inspection was recently conducted and that copies of the non-confidential reports from that visit may be obtained by contacting the CDSS. Parents may also ask to review the licensee's copy. Licensees are required to leave this notice posted in their facility for 30 consecutive days.

Informing the public on the CDSS' Web site that they may contact the local Regional Office or County Office to make a request to review a facility's non-confidential file in person or over the phone.

Requiring Licensees to provide copies of any document showing a Type A deficiency, a noncompliance conference, and/or any legal action to current parents, as well as all documents showing noncompliance for the 12-month period to new parents upon enrollment of a child in a facility.

The Legislature added to the CDSS' transparency by requiring Resource and Referral Agencies to advise parents of their right to get information about any substantiated or inconclusive complaints concerning a child care provider by calling the local licensing office.

The CDSS meets with stakeholders including the Resource and Referral Network to share licensing information. They, in turn, communicate with providers and the general public relative to licensing requirements, including the posting and parent notification requirements identified above.

In this past year the CDSS made changes to the child care licensing home page in order to make it less cumbersome and easier to navigate. This additionally ensures greater ease of public access to licensing information. In addition to Quarterly Updates, the CDSS provides e-blasts when information is needed immediately. The Community Care Licensing Division believes these changes, coupled with the above information, reflect the CDSS' commitment to make all non-confidential information readily available to the public. Although a future goal, there is no current technological capacity to post licensing reports online.

  • Completion Date: May 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

Recommendation #2 To: Social Services, Department of

The department should develop a plan to measure its random and required visits against its statutory requirement to visit each facility at least once every five years and assess its progress in meeting the requirement. In addition, it should continue to assess its progress in meeting its other statutory visit requirements. Further, it should ensure that the data it uses to assess its progress in meeting the various requirements are sufficiently reliable.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2011

The department now has data to measure compliance with its annual and five year visit requirements. The LRAP had, as a component, the development of new automated management information which will facilitate the ability to assess CCLD’s progress in meeting all of its statutory requirements. A new complaint tracking management report has been completed as part of that project and is now in use. (2010-041, p. 46)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #3 To: Social Services, Department of

The department should continue its efforts to rebuild the oversight operations of its child care program and assess the sufficiency of its current monitoring efforts and statutory requirements to ensure the health and safety of children in child care facilities. As part of its assessment, the department should evaluate whether its caseloads and frequency of periodic inspections are sufficient.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2011

The department now has data to measure compliance with its annual and five year visit requirements. The Licensing Reform Automation Project (LRAP) had, as a component, the development of new automated management information which will facilitate the ability to assess Community Care Licensing Division’s (CCLD) progress in meeting all of its statutory requirements. A new complaint tracking management report has been completed as part of that project and is now in use. (2010-041, p. 46)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #4 To: Social Services, Department of

The department should complete complaint investigations within the established 90-day period. In addition, the department should revise its policies to identify specific actions its child care program staff could take to reduce the number of inconclusive complaint findings. Further, the department should continue its plans to train all of its analysts in evaluating evidence and reaching conclusions on complaint allegations.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2008

Regarding 90 day completion for complaints: Available data regarding completion timeframes for complaints has been reviewed. Currently, each month complaints pending over ninety days are identified, reviewed and a plan made for completion and closure. The number of such open complaints is being systematically reduced. This identification and review process will continue as a standard procedure. This recommendation has been successfully addressed and is now operational in the Division. Regarding inconclusive findings for complaint investigations: Available data has been reviewed and findings fall into historical ranges. Additional data specific to individual Regional Offices has been requested. This will require reprogramming of the Field Automation System, but once information is available, the track record of each office can be assessed and more focused reviews can occur. Also, all staff in the Child Care Program has been trained in all facets of complaint investigations, including determining accurate findings. This recommendation has been successfully addressed and is now operational in the Division.(2007-041, p. 40)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #5 To: Social Services, Department of

To ensure that the department continues to make monitoring visits, including periodic inspections and complaint visits, and carries out its other required responsibilities for child care facilities, the department should evaluate its pilot project for supervisory approval after the plan of correction has been completed and implement a consistent process statewide for ensuring that licensees take appropriate corrective action.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2008

The pilot project for supervisory approval after the plan of correction was completed and evaluated. It was determined that approval should occur prior to the plan of correction. Procedures to clarify this decision have been incorporated into the Evaluator Manual (EM) and a directive memo was issued July 31, 2007. This recommendation has been successfully completed and is now operational. Regarding how to implement a consistent process for ensuring licensees take appropriate corrective action: Extensive revisions to the EM have been implemented in the areas of developing effective Plans of Correction and clearing citations/deficiencies. The Licensing Program Analyst (LPA) Academy has been enhanced in these areas and refresher training for seasoned staff will be provided whenever possible. This recommendation has been successfully completed and operational.(2007-041, p. 40)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #6 To: Social Services, Department of

To ensure that the department continues to make monitoring visits, including periodic inspections and complaint visits, and carries out its other required responsibilities for child care facilities, the department should provide specific guidance to its staff about whether deficiencies, such as those cited for absent or expired certifications for first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, should be categorized as Type A or Type B violations.

Recommendation #7 To: Social Services, Department of

To ensure that the department continues to make monitoring visits, including periodic inspections and complaint visits, and carries out its other required responsibilities for child care facilities, the department should ensure that deficiencies identified during its monitoring visits are corrected within its established 30-day time frame, that evidence of corrective action is included in its facility files, and that required plans of correction submitted by facilities are written so that it can verify and measure the actions taken.

1-Year Agency Response

The department developed extensive revisions to its evaluator manual, particularly regarding clearing deficiencies, granting extensions for plans of correction, and using self-certifications. The evaluator manual revisions also included guidelines for developing effective plans of correction. In addition, the department indicated that it trained its staff in these areas and that there has been an increase in supervisory involvement to ensure consistency. (2008-406, p. 190)

  • Response Date: August 2007

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #8 To: Social Services, Department of

To ensure that the department continues to make monitoring visits, including periodic inspections and complaint visits, and carries out its other required responsibilities for child care facilities, the department should conduct a review of the complaint specialist pilot project in its regional offices. The review should include, at a minimum, the timeliness and appropriateness of actions taken since the project’s implementation. The department should then use the results of its review to determine how it should modify its existing processes.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2008

The two year Complaint Specialist Pilot has been completed and pilot requirements regarding timeliness and quality of complaint processing were successfully met. The pilot is considered operationally successful. The CCLD has incorporated the practices tested and refined during the pilot as a permanent way of investigating serious complaints. Incorporation of the work processes of the Complaint Specialist LPAs into the EM and the Investigations Manual is underway. This is considered an ongoing task. A request for a pay differential for Complaint Specialist LPAs has been prepared and will soon be submitted to Department of Personnel Administration. The differential is intended to address recruitment and retention issues that were identified during the pilot. This recommendation has been successfully completed. (2007-041, p. 41)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #9 To: Social Services, Department of

The department should develop sufficient automated management information to facilitate the effective oversight of its child care program regional offices.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From January 2011

The LRAP had, as a component, the development of new automated management information which will facilitate the ability to assess CCLD’s progress in meeting all of its statutory requirements and to facilitate effective oversight of the regional offices. A new complaint tracking management report has been completed as part of that project and is now in use. Other case management reports were developed earlier that track virtually every part of the licensing workload at the regional office level. There are quality control staff in the child care program that pull data from these reports to ensure proper oversight of the regional offices. (2010-041, p. 46)

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #10 To: Social Services, Department of

The department should ensure that it assesses civil penalties in all instances where state laws and regulations require it. Additionally, it should consider proposing statutes or regulations requiring it to assess civil penalties on homes for additional types of violations. Further, the department should consider seeking changes to the requirement that it cannot assess civil penalties if follow-up visits are not conducted within 10 days of the time that corrective action was due.

1-Year Agency Response

The department stated that it proposed a “zero tolerance” policy that was included in a bill that would require civil penalties to be assessed for certain high-risk violations. The bill was considered by the Legislature in 2006 but did not pass. Additionally, the department issued memos and distributed a civil penalty manual about the requirement and use of civil penalties as well as developed enhancements to the evaluator manual to further clarify the use of civil penalties. Further, the department concluded that the requirement is appropriate for follow-up visits to be made within 10 days of the plan of correction date in order for civil penalties to be assessed. Finally, the department stated that it may use progressive civil penalties to bring a licensee into compliance in the event that a follow-up visit is not made within 10 days. (2008-406, p. 191).

  • Response Date: August 2007

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #11 To: Social Services, Department of

To improve its enforcement actions in order to effectively address health and safety violations by child care facilities, the department should clarify its direction to regional office staff to help ensure that they are using noncompliance conferences promptly and in appropriate instances. Additionally, the department should reevaluate the May 3, 2004, memorandum and, to the extent that it reflects the department’s current intent, incorporate the guidance into its evaluator manual. Further, the department should periodically review regional offices’ use of noncompliance conferences to ensure that they are consistently following established policies.

Recommendation #12 To: Social Services, Department of

To improve its enforcement actions in order to effectively address health and safety violations by child care facilities, the department should ensure that regional office staff consult with legal division staff early in the process when circumstances warrant it by clarifying its policies as necessary and following up to determine that the policies are complied with.

1-Year Agency Response

The department reported that the legal division’s early consultation pilot project in Southern California was well received, yet significant operational changes were made because of staff turnover. It reevaluated areas of assignment and sent legal staff to regional offices to be readily available for consultation. However, the department stated that it was doubtful it would expand the pilot project to Northern California, in part because the diversion of legal counsel to full-time consultation did not seem likely. Still, the department stated that it has continued to stress the need for early legal consultation. Finally, the department indicated that it requires monthly legal consultation on all cases that may result in an administrative action. (2008-406, p. 192)

  • Response Date: August 2007

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #13 To: Social Services, Department of

To improve its enforcement actions in order to effectively address health and safety violations by child care facilities, the department should require follow-up monitoring visits to ensure that child care facilities with revoked licenses are not operating and that individuals excluded from facilities are not present in the facilities. The department should also revise its policies for following up on excluded individuals to ensure that it more promptly verifies that they are not present in facilities.

1-Year Agency Response

The department issued a memo in October 2006 that directed all licensing staff to consider follow-up visits to facilities with revoked licenses or those with excluded individuals as the highest priority work, equal to complaint visits. The memo also addressed instructions for ensuring that a facility is actually closed when revocation becomes effective, ensuring that an excluded person has actually left the facility, and monitoring visits to facilities on probation. (2008-406, p. 193)

  • Response Date: August 2007

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

Subsequent to the original publication of this response, the state auditor considered this recommendation to be fully implemented.


Recommendation #14 To: Social Services, Department of

To improve its enforcement actions in order to effectively address health and safety violations by child care facilities, the department should ensure that visits to facilities on probation are made within the required deadline.

1-Year Agency Response

The department issued a memo in October 2006 that directed all licensing staff to consider follow-up visits to facilities with revoked licenses or those with excluded individuals as the highest priority work, equal to complaint visits. The memo also addressed instructions for ensuring that a facility is actually closed when revocation becomes effective, ensuring that an excluded person has actually left the facility, and monitoring visits to facilities on probation. In addition, the department indicated that it requested additional resources to minimize the impact on other licensing and monitoring activities. Further, the department stated that it was revising its evaluator manual to incorporate the mandates of the memo. Finally, the department stressed the importance of making enhancements to allow for automated tracking and notification for follow-up visits to facilities. 2008-406, p. 193)

  • Response Date: August 2007

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

Subsequent to the original publication of this response, the state auditor considered this recommendation to be fully implemented.


All Recommendations in 2005-129

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.