Amended in Assembly August 18, 2015

Amended in Assembly July 9, 2015

Amended in Senate June 1, 2015

Senate BillNo. 478


Introduced by Senator Huff

(Coauthor: Senator Hertzberg)

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chang, Dababneh, and Cristina Garcia)

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. The bill would impose specified standards onbegin delete counties participatingend deletebegin insert a county that participatesend insert in the pilot program. 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. The bill would require the department to oversee and administer the pilot program, and requirebegin delete countiesend deletebegin insert a countyend insert thatbegin delete chooseend deletebegin insert choosesend insert to participatebegin insert in the pilot programend insert to hire an evaluator to monitor implementation of the program.begin insert The bill would require a county that participates in the pilot program to develop outcome measures that determine the effectiveness of the pilot program of the county, as specified, and report to specified committees of the Legislature on or before January 1, 2020, on the effectiveness of the pilot program.end insert 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.

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 reports by mandated
7reporters, as specified in paragraph (5), 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
14standardized safety assessment qualifying questions in order to
15 obtain necessary information required to assess the need for child
16welfare services and a response. The State Department of Social
17Services shall provide guidance through written directives to
18counties participating in the pilot program to incorporate qualifying
P3    1questions in the online report that would indicate the need to
2redirect the mandated reporter to perform a telephone report.

3(3) The mandated reporter is required to complete all required
4fields, including identity and contact information of the mandated
5reporter, in order to submit the report.

6(4) The agency provides an Internet-based reporting system that
7has appropriate security protocols to preserve the confidentiality
8of the reports and any documents or photographs submitted through
9the system.

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

12(A) A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing
13with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2.

14(B) A probation officer or social worker, as defined in Section
15215 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

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

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

20(E) A coroner.

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

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

33(2) In a county where the pilot program is active, a mandated
34reporter who submits the initial report through the Internet-based
35reporting tool in lieu of the required initial telephone report is not
36required to submit the written followup report required pursuant
37to subdivision (a) of Section 11166.

38(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021,
39and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
40is enacted before January 1, 2021, deletes or extends that date.

P4    1

SEC. 2.  

Section 10612.5 is added to the Welfare and
2Institutions Code
, to read:

3

10612.5.  

(a) The department shall consult with the County
4Welfare Directors Association of California and any interested
5county welfare agencies to determine which counties may be
6involved in the pilot program established pursuant to Section
711166.02 of the Penal Code. The pilot program may operate in up
8to 10 counties.

9(b) The department shall oversee and administer the pilot
10program through the issuance of written directives that shall have
11the same force and effect as regulations. The directives shall be
12exempt from the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative
13Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of
14Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

15(c) A county that chooses to participate in the pilot program
16shall hire an evaluator to monitor the implementation of the
17program in accordance with directives issued by the department
18pursuant to subdivision (b).

begin insert

19(d) (1) A county that participates in the pilot program shall, in
20collaboration with the County Welfare Directors Association of
21California, develop outcome measures to determine the
22effectiveness of the pilot program of the county during the duration
23of the pilot program, which may include the following:

end insert
begin insert

24(A) The number of reports provided by telephone and any
25increase or decrease in the usage of telephone reports.

end insert
begin insert

26(B) The number of reports provided through the Internet-based
27reporting system and any increase or decrease in usage of the
28system.

end insert
begin insert

29(C) Any increase or decrease in the number of emergency or
30nonemergency telephone reports.

end insert
begin insert

31(D) Any increase or decrease in the overall number of
32emergency or nonemergency reports.

end insert
begin insert

33(2) A county that participates in the pilot program shall, on or
34before January 1, 2020, provide information to the Assembly
35 Committee on Human Services and the Senate Committee on
36Human Services pertaining to the effectiveness of the pilot program
37based on the outcome measures developed pursuant to this
38subdivision.

end insert
begin delete

22 39(d)

end delete

P5    1begin insert(e)end insert The department may conclude the pilot program on a
2county-by-county basis prior to January 1, 2021, if the evaluation
3and monitoring indicate the pilot program is compromising the
4safety of children.

begin delete

27 5(e)

end delete

6begin insert (f)end insert This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021,
7and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
8is enacted before January 1, 2021, deletes or extends that date.



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