Report 2014-118 Recommendation 8 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 #8 To: Developmental Services, Department of
Developmental Services should review and update its process for collecting on delinquent accounts. This update should include a revision to the policies and procedures manual, training for field agents, and regular management review to ensure consistent adherence to the policy. As part of the update, Developmental Services should clarify when to designate an account as uncollectible.
Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From December 2017
The Department has completed staff training and process implementation for regular collection activities required on past due program families in accordance with the program's process and procedure manual. Staff are now required to regularly identify those accounts that meet the program's requirements for collection action and carry out all collection activities prescribed under the program requirements. Past due accounts defined by the program manual receive both telephone and mail contact from the Department seeking resolution of past due balances, along with other administrative activities when identified. Accounts which are identified with unknown contact information are regularly researched by program staff using approved skip tracing methods. Those accounts which remain unpaid and meet all of the required criteria are now identified and submitted to the Franchise Tax Board's offset program regularly and are updated annually. All collection activities are monitored by the program manager with updated status reports provided to upper management quarterly. Accounts which are identified as uncollectable or are beyond the statute of limitations pursuant to California law are placed into suspended status through the administrative process then reviewed for potential write off when all avenues of collections have been exhausted.
- Completion Date: January 2017
California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented
We confirmed that the department has revised its policies and procedures manual to document the practices described in their response.
Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2016
The Department has completed the staff realignment reported in prior updates and has begun to carry out collection activities in conformance with revised policies and procedures provided to the State Auditor. These activities include prescribed timelines for collection letters and phone calls to parents whose accounts remain in a delinquent status. In addition, the Department is currently identifying its full population of delinquent parental fee accounts that meet the criteria for the Franchise Tax Board's offset program to submit those accounts for offset during this calendar year's cycle set for submission in December 2016. Staff newly assigned to the program are being trained on past due collection requirements and expectations to fully implement requirements outlined in the program's policies and procedures. Accounts deemed uncollectable shall be referred for write-off in accordance with requirements by the State Controller's Office if it is determined future collection action will not result in payment or program compliance as outlined in the program's process and procedures. Full implementation of these activities is anticipated by January 1, 2017.
- Estimated Completion Date: January 1, 2017
California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented
1-Year Agency Response
Delinquent account collection policies are outlined in the program revised policy and procedures manual, detailing increased consistency in program's collection process. Additionally, the Department is in process of a staff realignment which will transfer current southern California field analyst to Sacramento HQ offices for the purpose of providing an increased collection presence over delinquent accounts.
- Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2016
- Response Date: February 2016
California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented
Developmental Services has updated its policies and procedures regarding delinquent accounts and is in the process of ensuring they have the proper staff to assist in collecting delinquent accounts.
6-Month Agency Response
The CFS Program Manager is continuing the practice of bi-weekly meetings with field agents to ensure timely collection efforts are being made on program's delinquent population as described in the Department's 60 day response. Further, the Department is continuing to explore other viable avenues for delinquent fee recovery through other methods not currently in practice. All program accounts which contain a past due balance will be reviewed for possible submission to the Franchise Tax Board under their tax offset program for delinquent fee recoveries.
- Estimated Completion Date: 11/30/2015
- Response Date: July 2015
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending
60-Day Agency Response
60-Day Report Response:
- Program manual revisions are currently underway which will provide more specific direction as to analysts collection efforts on past due Parental Fee accounts.
- CFS Program Manager conducts bi-weekly meetings with field agents to discuss updates on collection activity, and to provide consistent feedback and direction, and to identify training as needed.
- Estimated Completion Date: 07/31/2015
- Response Date: March 2015
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.