Law Enforcement Contacts in Children's Residential Facilities (AB 388)
Assembly Bill 388 (Chesbro, Chapter 760, statutes of 2014) requires the Department of Social Services (CDSS) to provide information about incidents concerning children in group homes, transitional housing placement providers, community treatment facilities, runaway and homeless youth shelters, short-term residential therapeutic programs, temporary shelter care facilities, and transitional shelter care facilities which result in contact with a law enforcement agency. This includes but is not limited to, children who leave these facilities without approval, as well as those exhibiting aggressive and/or assaultive behaviors.
CDSS generates and publishes information and outcomes regarding law enforcement contacts made by these types of facilities on a regular basis. Data used for these reports are derived from the Department’s administrative data systems, incident reports submitted by licensees, and data compiled from each county’s Children's Protective Services 24-hour Emergency Response Hotline.
Licensees are required to report any unusual incidents or client absences that threaten the physical and/or emotional health or safety of any client in the facility to CDSS’s Community Care Licensing Division by the next working day and follow up with a written report within seven days. In addition, to comply with new reporting requirements, incidents resulting in law enforcement contact require additional reporting. In these instances, facilities are required to submit a follow-up report within six months of the initial incident and to include the outcome if known.
Incident reports submitted to CDSS are directed to the primary Licensing Program Analyst responsible for overseeing the facility. Incidents involving law enforcement contacts are forwarded to the Law Enforcement Contact Review Unit (LECRU) Licensing Program Analyst who is responsible for manually recording the data required for reporting. All reported incidents are reviewed to determine if the facility took appropriate follow-up action. Depending on the severity and details of the case, the facility may be called for further information and clarification, or a case management visit may be made to ensure health and safety.
CDSS began compiling data on the number, types, and outcomes of all law enforcement contacts reported by the specified providers during the 2016 calendar year¹. Facility level data, which includes information on the number, type and outcome of all licensing complaints, as well as citations, exclusion orders, suspensions, revocations or surrenders was compiled starting with the 2015 calendar year.
During the initial implementation of this project, CDSS received inconsistent and/or incomplete information from some facilities which resulted in poor data quality. In response, CDSS modified the incident report format to improve the data collection process. The revised incident reporting form was made available to providers in May of 2016. As such, the data collected in 2017 is not consistent with the 2016 data as reporting and data collection procedures in 2016 were still being developed. Additionally, 2016 data did not include complete follow-up information. For example, there may have been incidents resulting in youth being placed in juvenile hall that were not updated in the 2016 data. Therefore, caution should be used when making comparisons between 2016 and 2017. Data received in 2017 marks the period in which more consistent information was produced. Data prior to 2018 included all law enforcement contacts made regarding a dependent in care, regardless of facility involvement. Published data for 2018-2020 only includes law enforcement contacts that were made by facility staff and dependents of the facility. Starting in 2021, the data reflects a change in reporting methodology including a further review of all Law Enforcement (LE) Contacts. Incidents were further reviewed and those identified as not per the intent of the law (AB 388) were excluded.
A few important notes regarding the 2021 data:
- The information contained within this report was extracted as of November 16, 2022, and should be considered as point in time data.
- AB 388 requirements for Transitional Shelter Care Facilities came into effect January 1, 2018, thus there is no data from prior years.
- Facilities are on the list of the facility type they were at the end of 2021, therefore if a facility converted from a GH to STRTP in 2021 it would show up on the STRTP list along with all contacts made for that license number during that year. This list also includes facilities that closed at some point during 2021, therefore the total number of facilities is not a representation of the number of licensed facilities at a given time. Incident data is for the calendar year 2021 and was compiled based on incidents which occurred between January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.
- Complaint and Citation data will not match data from the Department’s Transparency Website. Complaint and Citation data reflects all complaints received in 2021 that were investigated and closed during the calendar year 2021. Complaint and citation data posted on the Department’s Transparency Website reflects data for the past 5 years. To get more information on any facility, including more detail on any citations, please visit the Transparency Website at http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Community-Care-Licensing/Facility-Search-Welcome.
- The numbers of citations are based on citations issued relating to complaint investigations only.
- Some facilities have a practice of submitting more than one report for the same incident reflective of the multiple calls made to law enforcement to protect the child during a period of elopement. The data does not un-duplicate these reports.
- The universe of law enforcement contacts includes incidents relating to substance abuse, selling drugs, medical or mental health emergencies, behavioral episodes, property damage, absence without leave, theft, crime, and a variety of other issues.
¹ Policy and program development for implementation of this bill occurred during the majority of 2015.