Report 2013-110 Recommendations and Responses in 2015-041

Report 2013-110: Child Welfare Services: The County Child Welfare Services Agencies We Reviewed Must Provide Better Protection for Abused and Neglected Children

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2014-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
City and County of San Francisco Human Services Agency 1 15 4 N/A 0
Department of Social Services 1 2 2 N/A 2

Recommendation To: San Francisco Human Services Agency, City and County of

To ensure that the statewide case management system contains accurate and complete information for each referral, the San Francisco County CWS agency should update its policies or otherwise provide clear guidance to social workers about the importance of ensuring that all alleged perpetrators, victims, and types of maltreatment are accurately recorded upon intake.

Response

Policy The new Hotline Intake and Emergency Response/After Hours (ER/AH) Policies and Desk Guides (DG) were completed and distributed to all staff on 7/29/2015. Initial training and review was conducted with the Front End staff during the summer. Based on the feedback received, formalized training sessions are scheduled for all staff on the new policies beginning in October 2015.

Quick Guide/Flow Charts (QG) for screeners have been completed and distributed and provide detailed instructions for completing the Referral Intakes. The QG directs PSWs on how to document each client, alleged perpetrator, and types of maltreatment accurately upon intake. Additionally, the new policies require systematic reviews by the Program Directors, to ensure that the supervisors are reviewing for accuracy.

The Hotline DG provides screeners with step by step instructions for correctly documenting in CWS/CMS.

The ER/AF Policy and DGs were also completed and distributed to all staff on 7/29/2015. The ER/AH DG specifically directs After Hours staff on all required actions which must be done when completing a referral including inputting into CWS/CMS and utilizing the SDM Hotline tool.

Training CWS/CMS Hotline Referral Entry Training is now required before a PSW or a Supervisor can work in the After Hours program. The importance of ensuring that accurate and complete information is entered in each referral is addressed in the training and in policies.

Intake staff continues to abide by the new guidelines.

See Supporting Documentation

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: August 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: San Francisco Human Services Agency, City and County of

To ensure that social workers are making reasonable and timely efforts to make in-person contact with children who are allegedly being maltreated, the San Francisco County CWS agency should develop clear policies for how frequently social workers must follow up with alleged victims in the event that initial attempts at contact are unsuccessful.

Response

Policy - The Emergency Response (ER) Policy and Desk Guide (DG) were completed and distributed to all staff on 7/29/2015. Initial training and review was conducted with the Front End staff during the summer. Based on the feedback received, formalized training sessions are scheduled for all staff on the new policies beginning in October 2015.

The new ER Policy Manual includes a section directing how frequently PSWs must follow up with alleged victims in the event that initial attempts at contacts are unsuccessful. It states that "when an initial attempt to see a child is unsuccessful, and the investigating PSW is unable to locate the child within the assigned referral response time, subsequent attempts will occur as soon as possible and no more than every five business days until contact is made. Subsequent attempts to contact a child will be made at varying times (e.g., morning, afternoon and evening) and locations."

This guideline applies to each child with an allegation, regardless of the allegation type, with the exception of a sibling identified as: "at risk, sibling abused." The ER DG General IR Referral Protocol Section provides specific time frames for the PSW to respond to referrals and meet with all children living in the allegation household.

See Supporting Documentation

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: August 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: San Francisco Human Services Agency, City and County of

To ensure that social workers are making reasonable and timely efforts to make in-person contact with children who are allegedly being maltreated, the San Francisco County CWS agency should develop clear policies about the method and duration of social workers attempts at making contact with hard-to-reach families, and clearly state under what circumstances a referral may be closed for lack of contact.

Response

Policy - The Emergency Response After Hours (ER/AH) Policy and Desk Guide (DG) were completed and distributed to all staff on 7/29/2015. Initial training and review was conducted with the Front End staff during the summer. Based on the feedback received, formalized training sessions are scheduled for all staff on the new policies beginning in October 2015.

In order to ensure that PSWs are making reasonable and timely efforts to make in-person contact with children who are allegedly being maltreated, we have developed policies to address agency expectations as to the method and duration of PSW attempts at making contact with families (including hard-to-reach families) and the specific circumstances under which a referral may be closed for lack of contact. The Attempted Contacts with a Child or Family Sections of the ER and ER/AH Desk Guides also provide PSWs with clear and specific instructions and actions they are to take before closing a referral for lack of contact. Supervisory Oversight has been included in the Desk Guides to ensure proper monitoring by the Supervisors.

Supportive Documentation Provided

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: August 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: San Francisco Human Services Agency, City and County of

To improve its coordination and communication with local law enforcement, the San Francisco County CWS agency should consider entering into a memorandum of understanding with the applicable law enforcement agency that delineates how the two agencies will share information and assist each other in responding to child maltreatment.

Response

In the last year we have put into place a process for a formalized agreement, and have already integrated the substance of this agreement into the new Emergency Response (ER) and After Hours (AH) Policies. Also we have begun to plan for cross training of Law Enforcement and Family & Children Services staff on the Law Enforcement Protocol.

During the initial meetings with Law Enforcement, it became evident that in order to bring about this change in practice, we needed to create detailed policy on Interagency Investigations of Child Abuse and Neglect. To this end, Directors from FCS, Law Enforcement, and the City Attorney's office have been meeting regularly to develop comprehensive policies and procedures for both agencies. Rosa Hernandez, Policy Development Supervisor, has been meeting with the group to ensure that the new agreements are in alignment with and included in FCS Policies. Much of the work accomplished by the group has already been incorporated into the attached policy manuals. I am also submitting a "Policies and Law Enforcement Agreements" document which more specifically delineates the work we have completed and areas that are in development. Included are the specific policy manuals and desk guide sections where the information is located. Through this process, we have developed a new understanding of our work with law enforcement and submit to you that we are now in compliance with California Penal Code, Section 11166.3(a).

Supportive Documentation Provided

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: August 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: Social Services, Department of

To promote continued improvement in the CWS system, Social Services should encourage each county CWS agency to designate personnel to update regularly their policies and procedures, to include a detailed description of the need for ongoing supervisory reviews of key aspects of their respective service processes and incorporate that description into their policies and procedures, and to designate personnel to perform regular quality assurance reviews.

Response

All County Letters (ACLs) 14-84 and 15-34 were issued on 11/20/14 and 3/16/15 respectively (see following links).

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAAahUKEwihgOjJiZPIAhWElYgKHcB-B7k&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dss.cahwnet.gov%2Flettersnotices%2FEntRes%2Fgetinfo%2Facl%2F2014%2F14-84.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFbujU-qAO-euRtBjOI-EQRvvleeg&bvm=bv.103627116,bs.2,d.cGU

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAAahUKEwjg-4PqipPIAhWGOYgKHf9KAhI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dss.cahwnet.gov%2Flettersnotices%2FEntRes%2Fgetinfo%2Facl%2F2015%2F15-34.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFFywe7mpup5i1DpriraAAvClE6sA&bvm=bv.103388427,d.cGU

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented
  • Estimated Completion Date: March 2015
  • Response Date: September 2015

Recommendation To: Social Services, Department of

To promote continued improvement in the CWS system, Social Services should ask each county CWS agency to report to Social Services on the status of these efforts within 60 days, six months, and one year from the publication of this audit report.

Response

CDSS is asking for renewed implementation plans (the originals were required via the ACL 15-34 released on 3/16/15).

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: 11/30/15
  • Response Date: September 2015

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2015-041