Sunday, April 24, 2005

They Don't Even Meet Their Own Legal Standards...

...yet, in true hypocritical fashion, they yank children from their families if their own subjective and often vague standards are not met.

Care facilities get less review

Licensing agency has cut inspections that protect children and the elderly.

By Clea Benson -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, April 24, 2005

Excerpts: (Highlights only -- the entire article is worth reading...)

The state is not conducting enough inspections of foster homes, child care centers and facilities for the elderly to meet its own legal standards, which became the lowest in the nation when lawmakers relaxed them during budget cuts two years ago.

The state in 2003 switched from inspecting care facilities once every year or two to only once every five years - with additional unannounced spot checks of 10 percent of the state's 79,000 care centers each year. Inspectors still must visit all institutions within 10 days when there is a complaint.

To the concern of advocates for abused children and other care-facility residents, some California institutions won't receive a visit even once every half decade, according to state data.

The numbers are estimates because, even though state law requires the Department of Social Services to adhere to a strict inspection rate, state officials said they failed to keep track of whether they were doing enough facility visits last year.

Carole Shauffer of the Youth Law Center, a nonprofit legal organization that aids foster children, said it is clear that the state is not complying with the law, and that abused and troubled children are at risk. But even if the state were performing inspections at the rate of once every five years, that would not be enough, she said.

Budget cuts have also affected the department's other primary function: conducting criminal background checks of people who work in care institutions.

A series of state audits over the past few years has found the division has fallen short in ensuring that people with violent criminal histories are barred from working in care homes and day-care centers.

In material submitted at a legislative hearing last week, an employee of the division complained that the department still allows people who were arrested for assault more than five years ago and people with a history of drug arrests to care for the elderly and abused children.

Until Next Time...

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