Report 2009-109 Recommendations and Responses in 2013-041

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

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2012-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento 2 41 17 9 9

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 6 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to develop a process to sign annual FCS evaluator declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 7 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to have FCS evaluators complete annual declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 8 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the training of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 10 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the declarations of qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 12 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the education, training and minimum qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 16 will not be implemented by the Court. In light of recent staffing reductions the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. However, the Court verifies that all private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through the use of the Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411).

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 42 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation related to FCS evaluation cost billing and accounting procedures is not needed.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

The Court already verifies that private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through use of the Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411). Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 20.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

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.

Response

As a result of reduced staffing, the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, the Court's use of Judicial Council form FL-322 ensures that counsel appointed for a child is qualified. Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 23.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2013-041