We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Child Welfare Services: California Can and Must Provide Better Protection and Support for Abused and Neglected Children

October 2011:

Note: The report is supposed to be covering children, but a review of the graphic shows 3/4 of the objectionable facilities are for adults. I call this hyping the facts.

Results in Briefz
The Department of Social Services (Social Services) oversees the efforts of county child welfare services (CWS) agencies to protect California children from abuse and neglect. When these agencies determine that children’s safety is at risk, they have the authority to remove them from their homes and place them with relatives, foster parents, or group homes (placements). Both Social Services and county CWS agencies need to better ensure that these placements are safe. Specifically, Social Services could make better use of the Department of Justice’s (Justice) Sex and Arson Registry (sex offender registry) to ensure that sex offenders are not living or working among children in the CWS system. We compared the addresses of sex offenders in this registry with the addresses of Social Services’ and county’s licensed facilities, as well as the
addresses of CWS placements, and found over 1,000 address matches, nearly 600 of which are high risk and in need of immediate investigation.

We provided these address matches to Social Services in July 2011. In October 2011 Social Services stated that it and county CWS agencies had investigated 99 percent of the address matches. Social Services indicates it has begun legal actions against eight licensees (four temporary suspension orders and four license revocations) and issued 36 immediate exclusion orders (orders barring individuals from licensed facilities). In six of the eight legal actions, Social Services found registered sex offenders living or present in licensed facilities. The department added that counties found 36 registered sex offenders having “some association” with county foster homes and took actions, including removing foster children from homes and ordering registered sex offenders out of homes.

We also found that Social Services’ established oversight mechanisms—on‑site reviews of its licensed facilities every five years and licensing reviews of county CWS agencies to which it has delegated licensing authority every three years—are lagging behind statutory requirements and department‑set goals. Social Services cites the lack of resources as the primary reason why it has not implemented an automated sex offender address match and why its oversight mechanisms are falling short of requirements.

For their part, the county CWS agencies appear to be performing required background checks of applicable individuals before placing children in foster homes and generally appear to remove children quickly if the home is found to be inappropriate. However, they could improve their follow‑up and communication related to allegations against a foster home or parent. Specifically, these agencies do not consistently notify Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division of allegations involving its licensees, and they do not always forward required information regarding instances of abuse or neglect to Justice.

For the remainder of this report: by The California Auditor

See Also: Brief Report or the Fact Sheet

No comments: