BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




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                                UNFINISHED BUSINESS 


          Bill No:  SB 478
          Author:   Huff (R), et al.
          Amended:  8/27/15  
          Vote:     21  

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE:  6-0, 4/14/15
           AYES:  Hancock, Anderson, Leno, McGuire, Monning, Stone
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Liu

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:  7-0, 5/28/15
           AYES:  Lara, Bates, Beall, Hill, Leyva, Mendoza, Nielsen

           SENATE FLOOR:  40-0, 6/2/15
           AYES:  Allen, Anderson, Bates, Beall, Berryhill, Block,  
            Cannella, De León, Fuller, Gaines, Galgiani, Glazer, Hall,  
            Hancock, Hernandez, Hertzberg, Hill, Hueso, Huff, Jackson,  
            Lara, Leno, Leyva, Liu, McGuire, Mendoza, Mitchell, Monning,  
            Moorlach, Morrell, Nguyen, Nielsen, Pan, Pavley, Roth, Runner,  
            Stone, Vidak, Wieckowski, Wolk

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  79-0, 9/02/15 (Consent) - See last page for  
            vote

           SUBJECT:   Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act: mandated  
                     reporters: pilot program 


          SOURCE:    County Welfare Directors Association of California 
                     Los Angeles County
                     

          DIGEST:   This bill authorizes a 5-year pilot program for  
          Internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect in up to 10  
          counties, as specified.









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          Assembly Amendments 1) delete a requirement that the mandated  
          reporter cooperate with any requests by the agency for  
          additional information, if needed, to investigate the report,  
          subject to applicable confidentiality requirements, and instead  
          provide that, "A mandated reporter . . . submitting an  
          Internet-based report . . . shall, as soon as practically  
          possible, cooperate with the agency on any requests for  
          additional information if needed to investigate the report,  
          subject to applicable confidentiality requirements"; 2) add  
          conditions a county welfare agency must meet to participate in  
          the pilot program, as specified; 3) expand the kinds of mandated  
          reporters who can use the piloted system, as specified; 4)  
          require the Department of Social Services ("DSS") to oversee and  
          administer the program, as specified; 5) require participating  
          counties to hire an evaluator for the program, as specified; 6)  
          authorize a participating county to end the pilot if the  
          evaluation and monitoring indicate the pilot program is  
          compromising the safety of children; and,  7) require  
          participating counties to develop outcome measures, as  
          specified.

          ANALYSIS: 
          
          Existing law:

          1)Establishes the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act  
            ("CANRA"), which generally is intended to protect children  
            from abuse and neglect.  (Penal Code § 11164.)

          2)Enumerates 44 categories of mandatory child abuse reporters.   
            (Penal Code § 11165.7.)

          3)Requires mandated reporters to make reports of suspected child  
            abuse or neglect, as specified.  (Penal Code § 11165.9.)

          4)Generally requires mandated reporters 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.  The mandated reporter shall  
            make an initial report by telephone to the agency immediately  








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            or as soon as is practicably possible, and shall prepare and  
            send, fax, or electronically transmit a written follow-up  
            report within 36 hours of receiving the information concerning  
            the incident. The mandated reporter may include with the  
            report any non-privileged documentary evidence the mandated  
            reporter possesses relating to the incident."  (Penal Code §  
            11166.)

          5)Requires that reports of suspected child abuse or neglect be  
            made "to any police department or sheriff's department, not  
            including a school district police or security department,  
            county probation department, if designated by the county to  
            receive mandated reports, or the county welfare department. .  
            . ." (Penal Code § 11165.9.)    

          This bill:

          1)Authorizes a county welfare agency to develop a pilot program  
            for Internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect, as  
            specified, meeting all of the following conditions:

             a)   The suspected child abuse or neglect does not indicate  
               that the child is  subject to an immediate risk of abuse,  
               neglect, or exploitation or that the child is in imminent  
               danger of severe harm or death;
             b)   The agency provides an Internet form, as specified;   
             c)   The mandated reporter is required to complete all  
               required fields, including identity and contact information  
               of the mandated reporter, in order to submit the report.
             d)   The agency provides an Internet-based reporting system  
               that has appropriate security protocols to preserve the  
               confidentiality of the reports and any documents or  
               photographs submitted through the system.

          2)Requires that this system can only be used by mandated  
            reporters who are any of the following:

             a)   A peace officer, as specified.
             b)   A probation officer or social worker, as specified.
             c)   A school teacher, counselor, or administrator.
             d)   A physician and surgeon, psychologist, licensed nurse,  
               or clinical social worker, as specified.  








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             e)   A coroner.

          3)Expressly provides that nothing in these provisions shall be  
            construed as changing specified current statutory or  
            regulatory requirements.

          4)Provides that participating authorized mandated reporters may  
            use the Internet-based reporting tool in lieu of the required  
            initial telephone report required under current law, and  
            shall, as soon as practically possible, cooperate with the  
            agency on any requests for additional information if needed to  
            investigate the report, subject to applicable confidentiality  
            requirements.

          5)Provides that participating mandated reporters who submit the  
            initial report through the Internet-based reporting tool in  
            lieu of the required initial telephone report is not required  
            to submit a written followup report, as specified.

          6)Requires DSS to consult with the County Welfare Directors  
            Association of California and any interested county welfare  
            agencies to determine which counties may be involved in the  
            pilot program, which may operate in up to 10 counties.

          7)Requires DSS to oversee and administer the pilot program, as  
            specified. 

          8)Requires a county that participates in the pilot to hire an  
            evaluator to monitor the implementation of the program, as  
            specified.  

          9)Requires participating counties, in collaboration with the  
            County Welfare Directors Association of California and DSS, to  
            develop outcome measures to determine the effectiveness of the  
            pilot program of the county during the duration of the pilot  
            program, which may include the following:

             a)   The number of reports provided by telephone and any  
               increase or decrease in the usage of telephone reports.
             b)   The number of reports provided through the  
               Internet-based reporting system and any increase or  
               decrease in usage of the system.








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             c)   Any increase or decrease in the number of emergency or  
               nonemergency telephone reports.
             d)   Any increase or decrease in the overall number of  
               emergency or nonemergency reports.

          10)Requires a participating county, on or before January 1,  
            2020, provide information to the Assembly Committee on Human  
            Services and the Senate Committee on Human Services pertaining  
            to the effectiveness of the pilot program based on the outcome  
            measures developed pursuant to the bill's provisions.

          11)Authorizes CSS to conclude the pilot program on a  
            county-by-county basis prior to January 1, 2021, if the  
            evaluation and monitoring indicate the pilot program is  
            compromising the safety of children.

          12)Sunsets these provisions January 1, 2021.

          Background
          
          Existing law establishes the CANRA, which 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. (Penal Code (PC) § 11166(a).) Existing law  
          enumerates 44 categories of mandated reporters of child abuse or  
          neglect. (PC § 11165.7.)

          Existing law 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 follow-up report within 36  
          hours of receiving the information concerning the incident. (PC  
          § 11166(a).)

          Existing law specifies that reports of suspected child abuse or  
          neglect shall be made to a police department or sheriff's  
          department, not including a school district police or security  
          department, a county probation department, if designated by the  
          county to receive mandated reports, or a county welfare  








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          department. These agencies are required to accept a report of  
          suspected child abuse or neglect whether offered by a mandated  
          reporter or another person, or referred by another agency, even  
          if the agency to whom the report is being made lacks subject  
          matter or geographical jurisdiction to investigate the reported  
          case, unless the agency can immediately electronically transfer  
          the call to an agency with proper jurisdiction. (PC §11165.9.)

          When an agency takes a report about a case of suspected child  
          abuse or neglect in which that agency lacks jurisdiction, the  
          agency is required to immediately refer the case by telephone,  
          fax, or electronic transmission to an agency with proper  
          jurisdiction. Agencies that are required to receive reports of  
          suspected child abuse or neglect may not refuse to accept a  
          report of suspected child abuse or neglect from a mandated  
          reporter or another person unless otherwise authorized, and are  
          required to maintain a record of all reports received. (PC  
          §11165.9.)
          
          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   No


          According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee:




          1)Minor costs, likely less than $75,000 (GF) annually to DSS to  
            oversee and administer the program.


          2)Minor one-time costs (GF) to DSS to consult with the County  
            Welfare Directors Association of California and any interested  
            county welfare agencies to determine county involvement in the  
            pilot program.


          3)Because the program is optional for counties, any costs  
            incurred by participating agencies are not reimbursable by the  
            State.









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          SUPPORT:   (Verified9/2/15)


          Los Angeles County (co-source)
          County Welfare Directors Association of California (co-source)
          California State Association of Counties
          LIUNA Locals 777 & 792
          Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee
          Urban Counties Caucus


          OPPOSITION:   (Verified9/2/15)


          None received


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:  The author states:


               The Child Protective Hotline and emergency response  
               system that sends social workers to investigate  
               allegations of abuse and neglect is the first touch  
               point between the public and the county agency  
               responsible for ensuring the safety of thousands of  
               vulnerable children.  Los Angeles County is the  
               largest in the state, with 2.4 million children and  
               youth between the ages of 0-20 years.   Currently the  
               Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) employs  
               7,500 workers, 3,200 of which are children's social  
               workers.  According to the DCFS current budget report,  
               over 214,000 calls were made to the Child Protection  
               Hotline last year.


               While DCFS has made great improvements to call/wait  
               times on the telephonic system, historically some  
               years have seen tremendous spikes in the amount of  
               calls placed.  1998 was likely the worst year in which  
               some peak-hour waits lasted anywhere from 45 minutes  
               to 4 hours!  Every possible resource is given to  








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               ensure that any hotline calls are investigated and the  
               information is shared appropriately with law  
               enforcement and child advocates. Yet, it is clear that  
               child abuse and neglect cases go up with the poverty  
               and unemployment rates.  Due to its sheer size, the  
               workload for Los Angeles County social workers can be  
               incredibly daunting at critical times when resources  
               become strained.


               This pilot program is absolutely essential for the  
               well-being of so many at-risk kids.  By virtually  
               eliminating wait times, an online reporting system  
               will increase efficiencies at every level of the  
               non-emergency and emergency response services.  SB 478  
               will be an excellent resource to help county social  
               workers assess and respond to child abuse and neglect  
               cases in a timely manner.   

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  79-0, 9/02/15
           AYES: Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chang,  
            Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle,  
            Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Irwin, Jones, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Melendez, Mullin,  
            Nazarian, Obernolte, O'Donnell, Olsen, Patterson, Perea,  
            Quirk, Rendon, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago,  
            Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber,  
            Wilk, Williams, Wood, Atkins
           NO VOTE RECORDED: Jones-Sawyer



          Prepared by:Alison Anderson / PUB. S. / 
          9/2/15 17:36:37


                                   ****  END  ****









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