BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                  AB 1707
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  March 27, 2012
          Counsel:       Sandy Uribe


                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                                 Tom Ammiano, Chair

                   AB 1707 (Ammiano) - As Amended:  March 13, 2012
           
           
           SUMMARY  :  Removes non-reoffending minors from the Child Abuse 
          Central Index (CACI) after 10 years, and amends the CACI notice 
          provisions.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Provides that, on or after January 1, 2013, if a person is 
            listed in the CACI as a perpetrator of abuse due to an 
            incident that occurred when the person was under 18 years old, 
            the listing shall be deleted from the CACI 10 years after the 
            incident, if no other incidents have occurred.

          2)Requires reporting agencies to provide notice of the CACI 
            report to the attorney of a known or suspected abuser, if any, 
            when the subject is a minor or nonminor dependent of the 
            juvenile court (a foster child).

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Requires that any specified mandated reporter who has 
            knowledge of or observes a child, in his or her professional 
            capacity or within the scope of his or her employment whom the 
            reporter knows, or reasonably suspects, has been the victim of 
            child abuse, shall report it immediately to a specified child 
            protection agency.  ĘPenal Code Section 11166(a).]

          2)Requires specified local agencies to send the California 
            Department of Justice (DOJ) reports of every case of child 
            abuse or severe neglect that they investigate and determine to 
            be substantiated.  ĘPenal Code Section 11169(a).]

          3)Directs the DOJ to maintain an index, referred to as the CACI, 
            of all substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect 
            submitted as specified.  ĘPenal Code Section 11170(a)(1) and 
            (a)(3).]  

          4)Allows DOJ to disclose information contained in the CACI to 








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            multiple identified parties for purposes of child abuse 
            investigation, licensing, and employment applications for 
            positions that have interaction with children.  ĘPenal Code 
            Section 11170(b).]

          5)Requires reporting agencies to provide written notification to 
            a person reported to the CACI.  ĘPenal Code Section 11169(c).]

          6)Provide that, except in those cases where a court has 
            determined that suspected child abuse or neglect has occurred 
            or a case is currently pending before the court, any person 
            listed in the CACI has the right to hearing which comports 
            with due process before the agency that requested the person's 
            CACI inclusion.  ĘPenal Code Section 11169(d) and (e).]

          7)Requires a reporting agency to notify the DOJ when a due 
            process hearing results in a finding that a CACI listing was 
            based on an unsubstantiated report.  ĘPenal Code Section 
            11169(g).]

          8)Requires the DOJ to remove a person's name from the CACI when 
            it is notified that the due process hearing resulted in a 
            finding that the listing was based on an unsubstantiated 
            report.  ĘPenal Code Section 11169(g).]

          9)Provides that any person listed in CACI who has reached age 
            100 is to be removed from CACI.  ĘPenal Code Section 
            11169(f).]

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement  :  According to the author, "Children can be 
            listed on CACI as perpetrators of physical abuse if they 
            injure another child in circumstances other than a mutual 
            fight or an accident.  Children can also be listed on CACI as 
            perpetrators of sexual abuse due to any reported sexual 
            behavior between the child and another child, even if the 
            behavior is consensual.  Children in the foster-care system 
            are especially vulnerable to being listed on CACI because they 
            may act out due to past abuse and because their behavior is 
            subject to closer scrutiny by child welfare agency case 
            workers than that of children in the general population.









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          "AB 1707 provides an avenue for the removal of single-offense 
            minors from the CACI.  Specifically if a person is listed in 
            the CACI as a perpetrator of abuse due to an incident that 
            occurred when the person was under 18 years old, the listing 
            shall be removed from the CACI 10 years after the incident, if 
            no other incidents have occurred.  By removing non-reoffending 
            minors, AB 1707 would protect youth from suffering life-long 
            restrictions on job opportunities and licensing eligibility 
            due to misbehavior that occurred when they were under 18. 

          "AB 1707 will also improve the use and operation of CACI by 
            providing important clean up.  Listing conduct of 
            non-reoffending minors can make CACI less effective because it 
            loads CACI with questionable data and wastes the time of 
            subsequent investigators that rely on in conducting 
            investigations and background checks."

           2)Background  :  CACI was created in 1965 as a centralized system 
            for collecting reports of suspected child abuse.  This is not 
            an index of persons who necessarily have been convicted of any 
            crime; it is an index of persons against whom reports of child 
            abuse or neglect have been made, investigated, and determined 
            by the reporting agency (local welfare departments and law 
            enforcement) to meet the requirements for inclusion, according 
            to standards that have changed over the years.

            Access to CACI initially was limited to official 
            investigations of open child abuse cases, but in 1986 the 
            Legislature expanded access to allow the Department of Social 
            Services (DSS) to use the information for conducting 
            background checks on applications for licenses, adoptions, and 
            employment in child care and related services positions.

            DOJ provides the following summary of CACI on its Web site:

            "The Attorney General administers the Child Abuse Central 
            Index (CACI), which was created by the Legislature in 1965 as 
            a tool for state and local agencies to help protect the health 
            and safety of California's children.

            "Each year, child abuse investigations are reported to the 
            CACI. These reports pertain to investigations of alleged 
            physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental/emotional abuse, and/or 
            severe neglect of a child. The reports are submitted by county 
            welfare and probation departments.








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            "The information in the Index is available to aid law 
            enforcement investigations, prosecutions, and to provide 
            notification of new child abuse investigation reports 
            involving the same suspects and/or victims. Information also 
            is provided to designated social welfare agencies to help 
            screen applicants for licensing or employment in child care 
            facilities and foster homes, and to aid in background checks 
            for other possible child placements, and adoptions. 
            Dissemination of CACI information is restricted and controlled 
            by the Penal Code.

            "Information on file in the Child Abuse Central Index include:

                     "Names and personal descriptors of the suspects and 
                 victims listed on reports; 
                     "Reporting agency that investigated the incident; 
                     "The name and/or number assigned to the case by the 
                 investigating agency; 
                     "Type(s) of abuse investigated; and 
                     "The findings of the investigation for the incident 
                 are substantiated. 

            "It is important to note that the effectiveness of the index 
            is only as good as the quality of the information reported. 
            Each reporting agency is required by law to forward to the DOJ 
            a report of every child abuse incident it investigates, unless 
            the incident is determined to be unfounded or general neglect. 
            Each reporting agency is responsible for the accuracy, 
            completeness and retention of the original reports. The CACI 
            serves as a 'pointer' back to the original submitting agency." 
             (See .)

           1)Statistics Regarding Juvenile Suspects in CACI  :  According to 
            DOJ, the number of listings included in CACI changes all the 
            time.  As of November 30, 2011, CACI contained 52,973 listings 
            of child abuse or neglect committed by minors, 49,622 of which 
            were substantiated and 3,351 of which were inconclusive.  Of 
            the total number of suspects that came to be listed as suspect 
            due to conduct occurring when the person was a juvenile, 
            46,460 had been listed only once, meaning there were no 
            subsequent reports.   
           
           2)DOJ Review and Purging of CACI Files  :  Previously, information 
            from an inconclusive or unsubstantiated child abuse or neglect 








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            report was deleted from CACI after 10 years if no subsequent 
            report concerning the suspected child abuser is received 
            within the 10-year period.  ĘSee former Penal Code Section 
            11170(a)(3).]  This provision was deleted in 2011 when the law 
            was amended to stop the inclusion of inconclusive or 
            unsubstantiated reports.  The new law directed DOJ to remove 
            all inconclusive and unsubstantiated reports, and requires DOJ 
            to remove the names of suspects 100 years of age or older.  
            The purging provision of this bill works like the prior 
            purging provision, except that it is limited to suspects who 
            became listed as a minor.

           3)Argument in Support  :  According to the  County Welfare 
            Directors Association of California  , "There is growing concern 
            that being listed as a perpetrator of abuse in CACI can result 
            in a young person being unable to gain employment or licensure 
            later in life. In some cases these individuals do not know 
            that they have been listed in the index and find out only 
            later, when seeking employment or licensure in a profession 
            that requires a CACI check.

          "1707 would amend the CACI statute to provide that if a person 
            is listed in CACI as a perpetrator of child abuse due to an 
            incident that occurred when the person was under 18 years old, 
            that person's name shall be automatically removed from CACI 10 
            years after the date of the incident resulting in the listing, 
            if no subsequent reportable incidents have occurred.

          "The bill also would modify CACI's notice provisions. In 
            instances where the known or suspected abuser is under the 
            jurisdiction of the juvenile court, the agency reporting abuse 
            to the DOJ shall be required to provide notice of the report 
            to the minor's attorney, if any. 

            "These two changes reflect a reasonable approach to ensure 
            that individuals who have one reported incident at a young 
            age, and no subsequent incidents, are not forever affected by 
            a listing in CACI."  
             
           4)Argument in Opposition  :  According to the California District 
            Attorneys Association  , "It is important to have records of 
            abusive acts against children for both law enforcement and 
            employment purposes.  Often, substantiated acts of abuse do 
            not result in the filing of criminal charges, but it is 
            nevertheless essential to have a repository for reports of 








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            these acts.  CACI reports can be very useful in criminal 
            investigations and prosecutions by providing information about 
            prior acts including child protective services (CPS) reports 
            and records.  The facts that an act of abuse was committed by 
            a juvenile and 10 years has passed since that act are not 
            valid reasons to remove this vital information from the CACI, 
            especially since the reports now in the CACI are limited to 
            those that are substantiated."  
          
           5)Prior Legislation  :

             a)   AB 717 (Ammiano), Chapter 468, Statutes of 2012, amended 
               the CACI provisions by including only substantiated reports 
               and removing inconclusive and unfounded reports from CACI. 

             b)   SB 1312 (Peace), Chapter 91, Statutes of 2002, would 
               have made numerous changes to CACI including the purging of 
               old reports.  The provisions dealing with CACI were deleted 
               before SB 1312 was chaptered.  

             c)   AB 2442 (Keeley), Chapter 1064, Statutes of 2002, 
               established the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act Task 
               Force for the purpose of reviewing the act and CACI.

             d)   AB 1447 (Granlund), of the 1999-2000 Legislative 
               Session, made numerous changes to CACI including the 
               purging of old reports.  AB 1477 was never heard by the 
               Senate Judiciary Committee.


           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Children's Law Center of California (Co-Sponsor)
          Public Counsel Law Center (Co-Sponsor)
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          County Welfare Directors Association of California
          National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter


           Opposition 
           
          California District Attorneys Association
           








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          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sandy Uribe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744