Code Section Group

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 9. PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES [10000 - 18999.8]

  ( Division 9 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )

PART 6. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS [18000 - 18999.8]

  ( Part 6 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )

CHAPTER 11. The Office of Child Abuse Prevention [18950 - 18973]

  ( Chapter 11 added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1334. )

ARTICLE 4. Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment Projects [18960 - 18964]
  ( Heading of Article 4 amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1122, Sec. 1. )

18960.
  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention programs be encouraged by the funding of agencies addressing needs of children at high risk of abuse or neglect and their families.

(b) All funds expended by a county for activities under this section shall be expended by the county in a manner that will maximize eligibility for federal financial participation.

(c) Priority shall be given to prevention programs through nonprofit agencies, including, where appropriate, programs that identify and provide services to isolated families, particularly those with children five years of age or younger, high quality home visiting programs based on research-based models of best practice, and services to child victims of crime.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 35, Sec. 149. (SB 1013) Effective June 27, 2012.)

18961.
  

(a) Projects and services funded pursuant to this article shall be selected using the following criteria:

(1) Priority shall be given to private, nonprofit agencies with programs that serve the needs of children at risk of abuse or neglect and that have demonstrated effectiveness in prevention or intervention.

(2) Agencies shall be eligible for funding provided that evidence is submitted that the proposed services are not duplicated in the community, are based on needs of children at risk, and are supported by a local public agency, including, but not limited to, one of the following:

(A) The county welfare department.

(B) A public law enforcement agency.

(C) The county probation department.

(D) The county board of supervisors.

(E) The county public health department.

(F) The county mental health department.

(G) The school district.

(3) Services provided shall be culturally and linguistically appropriate to the populations served.

(4) Services may include, but need not be limited to, day care, respite services, transportation, mental health services, services provided through home visiting programs, parent education and support programs, domestic violence services, disability services, early developmental screening and assessment, and counseling services.

(5) Applicant agencies shall demonstrate the existence of a 10 percent cash or in-kind match that will support the goals of child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention.

(6) Funding shall be used to supplement, but not supplant, child welfare services authorized pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 16500) of Part 4.

(7) Priority for services shall be given to children who are at high risk, including children who are being served by the county welfare departments for being abused and neglected and other children who are referred for services by legal, medical, or social services agencies.

(8) Service to minority populations shall be reflected in the funding of projects.

(9) Projects and services shall clearly be related to the needs of children, especially those 14 years of age and under.

(b) In a county that has established a multidisciplinary council, the council shall be utilized to provide recommendations to the board of supervisors for the funding processes and priorities.

(c) Each county shall monitor the projects and services it funds.

(d) Beginning in the 2011–12 fiscal year, and for each fiscal year thereafter, funding and expenditures for programs and activities under this section shall be in accordance with the requirements provided in Sections 30025 and 30026.5 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 60, Sec. 1. (SB 602) Effective January 1, 2014.)

18961.5.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, any county may establish a computerized database system within that county to allow provider agencies, as defined in subdivision (h), to share identifying information, as specified in subdivision (c), regarding families at risk for child abuse or neglect for all of the following purposes:

(1) Forming a multidisciplinary personnel team, as defined in either subdivision (d) of Section 18951 or paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 18961.7.

(2) The prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse or neglect.

(3) The provision of child welfare services to a child or child’s family.

(b) Each county shall develop its own standards for defining “at risk” before establishing this system. Only information about children, the families of children, and persons living in the child’s home, at risk for child abuse or neglect, may be entered into a computerized database system established pursuant to this section.

(c) When a child or family has been identified as at risk for child abuse or neglect under this section, only the following information shall be entered into the system:

(1) The name, address, telephone number, and date and place of birth of family members and persons living in the child’s home.

(2) The number assigned to the case by each provider agency.

(3) The name and telephone number of each employee assigned to the case, or a contact person, from each provider agency.

(4) The date or dates of contact between each provider agency and a family member or a person living in the child’s home.

(d) The information may only be entered into the system by, or disclosed to, provider agency employees designated by the director of each participating provider agency. Members of the multidisciplinary personnel teams shall be drawn from these designated employees, or other persons, as specified in Section 18961. The heads of provider agencies shall establish a system by which unauthorized personnel cannot access the data contained in the system.

(e) The information obtained pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be used solely for the prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse, child neglect, or both, or for the provision of child welfare services. Any person knowingly and intentionally violating this subdivision shall be subject to any administrative or civil penalties set forth in the respective statutes governing the confidentiality of the records maintained by the provider agencies.

(f) This section shall not supplant any duties required by the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code).

(g) No employee of a provider agency that serves children and their families shall be civilly or criminally liable for furnishing or sharing information as authorized by this section.

(h) For the purposes of this section, “provider agency” means any governmental or other agency that has as one of its purposes the prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse or neglect. The provider agencies serving children and their families that may share information under this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following entities or service agencies:

(1) Social services.

(2) Children’s services.

(3) Health services.

(4) Mental health services.

(5) Probation.

(6) Law enforcement.

(7) Schools.

(i) A county that establishes a computerized database system pursuant to this section shall install system controls to monitor system use and to detect any violations of the system controls.

(j) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the Counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo may jointly establish a computerized database system to be used between and among those counties pursuant to this section.

(2) (A) A computerized database system established pursuant to this subdivision may, in addition to the purposes specified in subdivision (a), share identifying information, as specified in subdivision (c), regarding families at risk for child abuse or neglect for research purposes, the intent of which is to identify ways to better serve these families and to prevent abuse and neglect. The counties may enter into a memorandum of understanding with a research entity for the research purposes. The memorandum of understanding shall include an information sharing agreement. Personal identifying information may only be shared upon approval by an institutional review board. The approval required under this paragraph shall include a review and determination that all of the following criteria have been satisfied:

(i) The researcher has provided a plan sufficient to protect personal identifying information from improper use and disclosures, including sufficient administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect personal identifying information from reasonably anticipated threats to the security or confidentiality of the information.

(ii) The researcher has provided a sufficient plan to destroy or return all personal identifying information as soon as it is no longer needed for the research project, unless the researcher has demonstrated an ongoing need for the personal identifying information for the research project and has provided a long-term plan sufficient to protect the confidentiality of that information.

(iii) The researcher has provided sufficient written assurances that the personal identifying information will not be reused or disclosed to any other person or entity, or used in any manner, not approved in the research protocol, except as required by law or for authorized oversight of the research project.

(B) The institutional review board shall, at a minimum, accomplish all of the following as part of its review and approval of the research project for the purpose of protecting personal identifying information held in the databases established under this section:

(i) Determine whether the requested personal identifying information is needed to conduct the research.

(ii) Permit access to personal identifying information only if it is needed for the research project.

(iii) Permit access only to the minimum necessary personal identifying information needed for the research project.

(iv) Require the assignment of unique subject codes that are not derived from personal identifying information in lieu of social security numbers if the research can still be conducted without social security numbers.

(v) If feasible, and if cost, time, and technical expertise permit, require the county to conduct a portion of the data processing for the researcher to minimize the release of personal identifying information.

(C) Reasonable costs to the county associated with the county’s process of protecting personal identifying information under the conditions of institutional review board approval may be billed to the researcher, including, but not limited to, an agency’s costs for conducting a portion of the data processing for the researcher, removing personal identifying information, encrypting or otherwise securing personal identifying information, or assigning subject codes.

(3) The counties jointly establishing and using a computerized database system pursuant to this subdivision shall install, and be jointly responsible for, agreed-upon system controls to monitor system use and information security to detect any violations that may cause intentional or unintentional disclosure of information to unauthorized users of the system.

(4) For the purposes of a computerized database system established pursuant to this subdivision, “provider agency” includes local educational agencies in addition to the entities or agencies listed in subdivision (h).

(5) If the ability to share identifying information, as described in this subdivision, becomes available within the statewide child welfare information system, the counties shall decommission the computerized database system established pursuant to this subdivision.

(k) If any functionality of a county’s computerized database system developed pursuant to this section becomes fully available and deployed to all counties within the statewide child welfare information system, the county shall decommission the duplicative functionality within its computerized database system.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 581, Sec. 1. (AB 597) Effective January 1, 2018.)

18961.6.
  

(a) Notwithstanding subdivision (c) of Section 18961.5, if the County of Los Angeles establishes a database pursuant to Section 18961.5, the database may also include the convictions of family members and persons living in the child’s home for crimes that involved a child as a victim.

(b) Information entered pursuant to subdivision (a) shall only be accessible to those provider agencies, as described in subdivision (h) of Section 18961.5, currently entitled to obtain criminal history records. These provider agencies shall include, but not be limited to, children’s services, probation, and law enforcement. The County of Los Angeles shall install system controls to only allow access to the information entered pursuant to subdivision (a) to those provider agencies, as described in subdivision (h) of Section 18961.5, currently entitled to obtain criminal history records, including, but not limited to, children’s services, probation, and law enforcement. Nothing in this section shall preclude the information entered pursuant to subdivision (a) from being discussed in the context of a multidisciplinary team, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18951.

(c) If the database of the County of Los Angeles includes conviction information pursuant to subdivision (a), the conviction information added to the database pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be removed from the database 50 years after the date of the conviction.

(Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 551, Sec. 7. (AB 2322) Effective September 29, 2010.)

18961.7.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a county may establish a child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team within that county to allow provider agencies to share confidential information in order for provider agencies to investigate reports of suspected child abuse or neglect made pursuant to Section 11160, 11166, or 11166.05 of the Penal Code, or for the purpose of child welfare agencies making a detention determination.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) “Child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team” means a team of two or more persons who are trained in the prevention, identification, or treatment of child abuse and neglect cases and who are qualified to provide a broad range of services related to child abuse. The team may include, but shall not be limited to:

(A) Psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, professional clinical counselors, or other trained counseling personnel.

(B) Police officers or other law enforcement agents.

(C) Medical personnel with sufficient training to provide health services.

(D) Social services workers with experience or training in child abuse prevention.

(E) A public or private school teacher, administrative officer, supervisor of child welfare attendance, or certified pupil personnel employee.

(2) “Provider agency” means a governmental or other agency that has as one of its purposes the prevention, identification, management, or treatment of child abuse or neglect. The provider agencies serving children and their families that may share information under this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following entities or service agencies:

(A) Social services.

(B) Children’s services.

(C) Health services.

(D) Mental health services.

(E) Probation.

(F) Law enforcement.

(G) Schools.

(c) (1) Notwithstanding Section 827 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or any other law, during a 30-day period, or longer if documented good cause exists, following a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, members of a child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team engaged in the prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse may disclose to and exchange with one another information and writings that relate to any incident of child abuse that may also be designated as confidential under state law if the member of the team having that information or writing reasonably believes it is generally relevant to the prevention, identification, or treatment of child abuse. A discussion relative to the disclosure or exchange of the information or writings during a team meeting is confidential and, notwithstanding any other law, testimony concerning that discussion is not admissible in any criminal, civil, or juvenile court proceeding.

(2) Disclosure and exchange of information pursuant to this section may occur telephonically and electronically if there is adequate verification of the identity of the child abuse multidisciplinary personnel who are involved in that disclosure or exchange of information.

(3) Disclosure and exchange of information pursuant to this section shall not be made to anyone other than members of the child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team, and those qualified to receive information as set forth in subdivision (d).

(d) The child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team may designate persons qualified pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) to be a member of the team for a particular case. A person designated as a team member pursuant to this subdivision may receive and disclose relevant information and records, subject to the confidentiality provisions of subdivision (f).

(e) The sharing of information permitted under subdivision (c) shall be governed by protocols developed in each county describing how and what information may be shared by the child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team to ensure that confidential information gathered by the team is not disclosed in violation of state or federal law. A copy of the protocols shall be distributed to each participating agency and to persons in those agencies who participate in the child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team.

(f) Every member of the child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team who receives information or records regarding children and families in his or her capacity as a member of the team shall be under the same privacy and confidentiality obligations and subject to the same confidentiality penalties as the person disclosing or providing the information or records. The information or records obtained shall be maintained in a manner that ensures the maximum protection of privacy and confidentiality rights.

(g) This section shall not be construed to restrict guarantees of confidentiality provided under state or federal law.

(h) Information and records communicated or provided to the team members by all providers and agencies, as well as information and records created in the course of a child abuse or neglect investigation, shall be deemed private and confidential and shall be protected from discovery and disclosure by all applicable statutory and common law protections. Existing civil and criminal penalties shall apply to the inappropriate disclosure of information held by the team members.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 389, Sec. 20. (AB 2296) Effective January 1, 2019.)

18962.
  

The county child welfare agency shall provide to the Office of Child Abuse Prevention, no later than October 1 of each year, an annual expenditure report to include funds expended, populations served, and other information deemed necessary based on a process to be developed by the department, in consultation with counties.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 60, Sec. 2. (SB 602) Effective January 1, 2014.)

18963.
  

Unless otherwise specified in the annual Budget Act, the funds appropriated in the annual Budget Act to the State Department of Social Services for the purposes of this article shall be allocated as follows:

(a) A sum equal to 90 percent of the appropriation shall be allocated to the board of supervisors of each of the participating counties.

(b) A sum equal to 7 percent of the appropriation shall be allocated to the State Children’s Trust Fund established under Section 18969 for innovative, child-centered approaches which indicate promise of quality, cost-effective services to prevent child abuse and neglect.

(c)  The Office of Child Abuse Prevention shall reserve a sum equal to 3 percent of the appropriation, to be used to provide administrative oversight and consultation that shall include activities necessary to do all of the following:

(1) Ensure that each county allocates revenues through the use of an accountable process that utilizes a multidisciplinary approach, particularly including strengthening child abuse councils and allocates revenues in a manner consistent with a county expenditure plan for all Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment program revenues. The county plans shall explain how services funded under this article are coordinated with the array of services available in the county and are based on unmet need. The Office of Child Abuse Prevention shall review and approve these plans prior to authorizing county expenditure of funds. The Office of Child Abuse Prevention shall require counties to submit annual reports on program services.

(2) Ensure Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment program compliance and accountability to the county plan and legislative intent.

(d) Counties with provider contracts in effect as of June 30, 1998, may continue those contracts. However, no county shall receive an augmentation of Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment funds unless the county modifies its program in accordance with subdivision (c). During the 1998–99 state fiscal year, if a county qualifies to receive an augmentation of funds, counties may augment existing provider contracts without competitive bids.

(e) The Office of Child Abuse Prevention may contract with a statewide nonprofit consortium with broad-based statewide representation to provide training and technical assistance, and to improve accountability for the use of funds in the Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment program using funds identified in subdivision (c).

(f) A portion of the funds specified in subdivision (c) may be allocated to the State Children’s Trust Fund to be used for statewide training and technical assistance services. Moneys for statewide training and technical assistance may be supplemented under subdivision (a) by an amount not to exceed 0.50 percent of the total Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment appropriation but the total amount allocated statewide for training and technical assistance shall not exceed 2 percent of the total Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment appropriation. To accomplish this augmentation, the board of supervisors of each participating county may allocate annually a portion of its allocation under this section as a supplement to funds for statewide training and technical assistance. Activities to be funded with these supplemental moneys may be specified by the allocating county and approved by the State Department of Social Services.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 60, Sec. 3. (SB 602) Effective January 1, 2014.)

18964.
  

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law governing the disclosure of information and records, including, but not limited to, Section 5328 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a person who is trained and qualified to serve on a multidisciplinary personnel team pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 18951, whether or not the person is serving on a team, may be deemed, by the team, to be part of the team as necessary for the purpose of the prevention, identification, management, or treatment of an abused child and his or her parents. The designated team may deem a person to be a member of the team for a particular case, and that team shall specify its reasons, in writing, for deeming that person to be a member of the team. The person, when deemed a member of the team, may receive and disclose information relevant to a particular case as though he or she were a member of the team. The information and records which may be disclosed shall not be restricted to those obtained in the course of providing services pursuant to this chapter.

(b) The caregiver of the child and, in the case of an Indian child, the child’s tribe shall be permitted to provide information about the child to the multidisciplinary personnel team that will be considered by the team and to attend meetings of the multidisciplinary personnel team, as deemed appropriate by the team, without becoming a member of the team. Any caregiver or tribal representative who attends multidisciplinary personnel team meetings shall agree in writing not to disclose any confidential information he or she receives as a result of his or her participation with the team.

(c) This section does not apply to the records of or pertaining to a nonminor dependent. The multidisciplinary personnel team may have access to those records only with the explicit written and informed consent of the nonminor dependent.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 846, Sec. 63. (AB 1712) Effective January 1, 2013.)

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