Report 2014-118 Recommendation 3 Responses

Report 2014-118: California Department of Developmental Services: Its Process for Assessing Fees Paid by Parents of Children Living in Residential Facilities Is Woefully Inefficient and Inconsistent (Release Date: January 2015)

Recommendation #3 To: Developmental Services, Department of

To make the initial parental fee assessment and annual redetermination processes more efficient, consistent, and transparent, Developmental Services should determine, as part of a formal policy development process, what family expenses it will consider in its determination of parental fees and what components of the fee determination require documentation from the parents. Developmental Services should then clearly communicate these policies to parents and staff and should reinforce these policies with regular management review of fee assessments.

1-Year Agency Response

AB564 was signed into law by the Governor on October 5, 2015. This legislation removed the client related expenses from consideration during the Parental Fee determination process. AB564 becomes effective on July 1, 2016. The Department continues to take the following steps to ensure consistency and efficiency when evaluating client expenses used for reduction of income for the purpose of fee assessment:

- Parental Fee Program Manager continues to review and approve all fee assessments, including client related expenses.

- Program staff has been fully trained on the program's policies as they relate to treatment of expenses being claimed by parents.

- The program's revised policy and procedure manual gives staff clear guidance on treatment of client related expenses.

  • Completion Date: January 2016
  • Response Date: February 2016

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

6-Month Agency Response

On March 26, 2015, Assembly member Eggman sponsored AB 564 which, if passed as amended on July 17th 2015, significantly streamline the administration of the Parental Fee Program. The Department has been providing technical assistance during the hearing process for this proposed legislation and continues to monitor the bill's status. Some of the significant changes contained in this legislation that would affect the operational structure of the current program, effective July 1, 2017 include:

- A change in methodology for fee assessment requiring DDS to consider only a families gross annual income and family size for the purpose of fee setting. This bill would remove the current requirement that DDS consider various other client related expenses and major unusual expenses for the family in the fee setting process. Fees proposed under this legislation would be assessed on a sliding scale based upon percentage of income compared to the Federal Poverty Level, and would exempt a portion of the current program population.

- The bill would require that DDS consider only those items during the appeal that were considered during the initial fee setting calculation, thus, eliminating the current practice of a broader review of parent's income and expenses as recommended in the CSA report.

- The bill also provides the Department authority to grant parents a temporary waiver from paying the monthly fee if they demonstrate with receipts an unavoidable and uninsured catastrophic loss.

The Department is continuing in its efforts in program improvement and updates to the policies and procedures manual as reported in the March update of corrective actions. It is assumed that many of these improved processes will remain intact should AB 564 become law. The policies and procedures manual will be updated consistent with current statute.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 09/30/2015
  • Response Date: July 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

60-Day Agency Response

60-Day Report Response: The Department has focused existing resources on a full review of program policies and procedures to address the recommendation that the determination of parental fee assessments be more efficient, consistent and transparent. Much of the work is centered on updating the program manual and this review and update of the manual is in process. By July 2015, DDS will determine if regulatory or statutory changes are necessary to implement recommendations and strengthen program administration.

Effective January 1, 2015, the CFS Program Manager has implemented weekly approval sessions with staff for the purpose of work product quality review, and approval of all rating activity for new and re-determined fee assessments.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 07/31/2015
  • Response Date: March 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

All Recommendations in 2014-118

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.