Amended in Assembly July 9, 2015

Amended in Senate June 1, 2015

Senate BillNo. 478


Introduced by Senator Huff

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(Coauthor: Senator Hertzberg)

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(Coauthors: Assembly Membersbegin delete Chang and Dababnehend deletebegin insert Chang, Dababneh, and Cristina Garciaend insert)

February 26, 2015


An act to add and repeal Section 11166.02 of the Penal Code, and to add and repeal Section 10612.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to child abuse.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 478, as amended, Huff. Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act: mandated reporters: pilot program.

The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act requires a mandated reporter, as defined, to make a report to a specified agency whenever the mandated reporter, in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, has knowledge of or observes a child whom the mandated reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect. Existing law further requires the mandated reporter to make an initial report by telephone to the agency immediately or as soon as is practicably possible, and to prepare and send, fax, or electronically transmit a written followup report within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning the incident.

This bill, until January 1, 2021, would authorize certain county welfare agencies to develop a pilot program for Internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect, as specified.begin insert The bill would impose specified standards on counties participating in the pilot program.end insert The bill would also require the State Department of Social Services to consult with the County Welfare Directors Association of California and the county welfare agencies of the individual counties to determine which counties may be involved in the pilot program.begin insert The bill would require the department to oversee and administer the pilot program, and require counties that choose to participate to hire an evaluator to monitor implementation of the program. The bill would authorize the department to conclude the pilot program prior to January 1, 2021, if the evaluation and monitoring indicate that implementation of the program compromises the safety of children.end insert

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 11166.02 is added to the Penal Code, to
2read:

3

11166.02.  

(a) A county welfare agency, as determined in
4Section 10612.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, may develop
5a pilot program for Internet-based reporting of child abuse and
6neglect. The pilot program may receive reportsbegin insert by mandated
7reporters, as specified in paragraph (5),end insert
of suspected child abuse
8or neglect and shall meet all of the following conditions:

9(1) The suspected child abuse or neglect does not indicate that
10the child is subject to an immediate risk of abuse, neglect, or
11exploitation or that the child is in imminent danger of severe harm
12or death.

13(2) The agency provides an Internet form that includes
14begin insert standardized safety assessmentend insert qualifying questions in order to
15obtain necessary information required to assess the need for child
16welfare services and a response.begin insert The State Department of Social
17Services shall provide guidance through written directives to
18counties participating in the pilot program to incorporate
19qualifying questions in the online report that would indicate the
20need to redirect the mandated reporter to perform a telephone
21report.end insert

22(3) The mandated reporter is required to complete all required
23fields, including identity and contact information of the mandated
24reporter, in order to submit the report.

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P3    1(4) The mandated reporter is required to cooperate with any
2requests by the agency for additional information, if needed, to
3investigate the report, subject to applicable confidentiality
4requirements.

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5(4) The agency provides an Internet-based reporting system
6that has appropriate security protocols to preserve the
7confidentiality of the reports and any documents or photographs
8submitted through the system.

end insert

9 (5) The system can only be used by mandated reporters who
10are any of the following:

11(A) A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing
12with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2.

13(B) A probationbegin delete officer.end deletebegin insert officer or social worker, as defined in
14Section 215 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.end insert

15(C) A school teacher, counselor, or administrator.

16(D) A physician and surgeon,begin delete or licensed nurse.end deletebegin insert psychologist,
17licensed nurse, or clinical social worker licensed pursuant to
18Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of the Business and
19Professions Code.end insert

20(E) A coroner.

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21(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as changing
22current statutory or regulatory requirements regarding timely
23review, assessment, and response to reports of possible abuse or
24neglect.

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25(b) begin insert(1)end insertbegin insertend insertIn a county where the pilot program is active, a mandated
26reporter listed in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) may use the
27Internet-based reporting tool in lieu of the required initial telephone
28report required by subdivision (a) of Section 11166.begin insert A mandated
29reporter listed in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) submitting an
30Internet-based report in accordance with this subdivision shall,
31as soon as practically possible, cooperate with the agency on any
32requests for additional information if needed to investigate the
33report, subject to applicable confidentiality requirements.end insert

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34(2) In a county where the pilot program is active, a mandated
35reporter who submits the initial report through the Internet-based
36reporting tool in lieu of the required initial telephone report is not
37required to submit the written follow-up report required pursuant
38to subdivision (a) of Section 11166.

end insert

P4    1(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021,
2and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
3is enacted before January 1, 2021, deletes or extends that date.

4

SEC. 2.  

Section 10612.5 is added to the Welfare and
5Institutions Code
, to read:

6

10612.5.  

(a) The department shall consult with the County
7Welfare Directors Association of California and any interested
8county welfare agencies to determine which counties may be
9involved in the pilot program established pursuant to Section
1011166.02 of the Penal Code. The pilot program may operate in up
11to 10 counties.

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12(b) The department shall oversee and administer the pilot
13program through the issuance of written directives that shall have
14the same force and effect as regulations. The directives shall be
15exempt from the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative
16Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of
17Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

end insert
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18(c) A county that chooses to participate in the pilot program
19shall hire an evaluator to monitor the implementation of the
20program in accordance with directives issued by the department
21pursuant to subdivision (b).

end insert
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22(d) The department may conclude the pilot program on a
23county-by-county basis prior to January 1, 2021, if the evaluation
24and monitoring indicate the pilot program is compromising the
25safety of children.

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26 (b)

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27begin insert (e)end insert This section shall remain in effect only until January 1,
282021, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute,
29that is enacted before January 1, 2021, deletes or extends that date.



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