Report 2009-109 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2009-109: Sacramento and Marin Superior Courts: Both Courts Need to Ensure That Family Court Appointees Have Necessary Qualifications, Improve Administrative Policies and Procedures, and Comply With Laws and Rules (Release Date: January 2011)

Recommendation #1 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should retain in the mediatorís official personnel file any decisions to substitute additional education for experience or additional experience for the educational requirements.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court stated that it revised its internal recruitment and selection practice to ensure that its determinations and validations of minimum qualifications and best qualified criteria are clearly noted in its employeesí personnel files. The court provided its Recruitment and Selection policy, dated September 2009, which requires the court to certify applicants who meet the†necessary qualifications for the position. In addition, the court stated that it will retain a copy of†the candidateís transcript and license in the official personnel file. (See 2013-406, p. 151)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #2 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that its Family Court Services (FCS) mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should update the current mediators' official personnel files with any missing information.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

The Court fully implemented this recommendation as referenced in our letter and materials provided to BSA on July 20, 2011. Subsequently BSA acknowledged the completed implementation on page 141 of their report entitled Implementation of the State Auditor's Recommendations for Audits Released in January 2010 through December 2011, Report Number 2012-406, issued March 2012.

  • Completion Date: September 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #3 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should verify the initial training of those FCS mediators they hire who have worked at other superior courts.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento superior and family courts provided copies of training certificates and other information such as sign-in sheets to demonstrate that the FCS mediator mentioned in the audit report met the minimum qualifications and training requirements. In addition, the courts provided a letter from the FCS mediatorís former employer that stated its practice was to send employees to training upon initial hire; however, the court does not retain training records older than three years. (See 2013-406, p. 152)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #4 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should develop a policy to retain training completion records for at least as long as an FCS mediator is a court employee.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court provided a retention policy titled Record Retention Policy for Human Resources Division and it requires training records for all court classifications to be kept in its staff ís official personnel files for five years after the employee separates from the court. (See 2013-406, p. 152)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #5 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that its FCS mediators are qualified, the Sacramento superior and family courts should take all reasonable steps to ensure that the FCS mediators meet all of the minimum qualifications and training requirements before assigning them to future mediations. If necessary, and as soon as reasonably possible, the court should require the FCS mediators to take additional education or training courses to compensate for the minimum qualifications and training requirements that were not met.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento superior and family courts reported that they have documentation to demonstrate that the FCS mediators have completed additional training education or training courses to compensate for the minimum requirements for which there was no documentation. The courts also stated that the documents will be placed in the FCS mediatorsí personnel files. We reviewed the documents the court provided and as recommended, the court has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the FCS mediators meet all of the minimum qualifications and training requirements. (See 2013-406, p. 152)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #6 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should develop processes to ensure that it signs all FCS evaluator declarations of qualifications annually.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 6 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to develop a process to sign annual FCS evaluator declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

The Sacramento family court no longer offers custody evaluation services. Therefore, this recommendation is not applicable at this time. Should the Sacramento family court begin offering custody evaluation services at a future date, we anticipate that the court will assess its practices and ensure that its evaluators are qualified.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 6 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to develop a process to sign annual FCS evaluator declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 6 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to develop a process to sign annual FCS evaluator declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As indicated in the Court's July 20, 2011 response to recommendation 2, due to budget reductions Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) is no longer conducting custody evaluations making the need to sign FCS evaluator declarations of qualifications unnecessary.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #7 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should ensure that its unlicensed FCS evaluators complete the licensing portion of the annual declarations of qualifications.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 7 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to have FCS evaluators complete annual declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

The Sacramento family court no longer offers custody evaluation services. Therefore, this recommendation is not applicable at this time. Should the Sacramento family court begin offering custody evaluation services at a future date, we anticipate that the court will assess its practices and ensure that its evaluators are qualified.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 7 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to have FCS evaluators complete annual declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 7 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation to have FCS evaluators complete annual declarations of qualifications is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As indicated in the Court's July 20, 2011 response to recommendation 3, due to budget reductions Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) is no longer conducting custody evaluations making the need for unlicensed FCS evaluators to complete the licensing portion of the annual declarations of qualifications unnecessary.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #8 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should identify the training each of the FCS evaluators need to satisfy the court rules' requirements and ensure that they attend the trainings.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 8 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the training of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

The Sacramento family court no longer offers custody evaluation services. Therefore, this recommendation is not applicable at this time. Should the Sacramento family court begin offering custody evaluation services at a future date, we anticipate that the court will assess its practices and ensure that its evaluators are qualified.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 8 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the training of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 8 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the training of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As indicated in the Court's July 20, 2011 response to recommendation 4, due to budget reductions Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) is no longer conducting custody evaluations making the need to implement the recommendation regarding training of FCS evaluators unnecessary.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #9 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should develop a policy to retain training completion records for at least as long as an FCS evaluator is a court employee.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court established a record retention policy to retain all training records for a total of five years after an FCS evaluator separates from the court. However, the Sacramento Superior Court reported to us that effective July 2011 FCS will no longer conduct Family Code Section 3111 evaluations. The court cited budget reductions as its reason for discontinuing this†service. (See 2013-406, p. 153)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #10 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should develop processes to ensure that evaluator declarations of qualifications include all relevant information, such as the evaluator's experience.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 10 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the declarations of qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

The Sacramento family court no longer offers custody evaluation services. Therefore, this recommendation is not applicable at this time. Should the Sacramento family court begin offering custody evaluation services at a future date, we anticipate that the court will assess its practices and ensure that its evaluators are qualified.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 10 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the declarations of qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 10 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the declarations of qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As indicated in the Court's July 20, 2011 response to recommendation 5, due to budget reductions Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) is no longer conducting custody evaluations making the need to implement the recommendation regarding qualification declarations of FCS evaluators unnecessary.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #11 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should ensure that FCS evaluators attach certificates for their domestic violence training to each 3111 evaluation report they prepare.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court adopted a local rule effective January 1, 2012, that requires all court-appointed child custody evaluators to annually lodge with the court a sworn affidavit that they have completed all required domestic violence training and instruction required by statute and/or California Rules of Court. In the absence of an affidavit, the child custody evaluators must attach copies of their certificates of completion of the required training to each child custody evaluation report they submit to the court. However, the court reported to us that effective July 2011 FCS will no longer conduct Family Code Section 3111 evaluations. The court cited budget reductions as its reasons for discontinuing this service. (See 2013-406, p. 154)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #12 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make certain that the FCS evaluators are qualified, the Sacramento family court should take all reasonable steps to ensure its FCS evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before assigning them to any future Family Code Section 3111 evaluations. If necessary, and as soon as reasonably possible, the court should require the FCS evaluators to take additional education or training courses to compensate for the minimum qualifications and training requirements that were not met.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 12 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the education, training and minimum qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

The Sacramento family court no longer offers custody evaluation services. Therefore, this recommendation is not applicable at this time. Should the Sacramento family court begin offering custody evaluation services at a future date, we anticipate that the court will assess its practices and ensure that its evaluators are qualified.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 12 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the education, training and minimum qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 12 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation concerning the education, training and minimum qualifications of FCS evaluators is inapplicable to our Court.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As indicated in the Court's July 20, 2011 response to recommendation 6, due to budget reductions Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) is no longer conducting custody evaluations making the need to ensure that FCS evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training before assigning them to cases is unnecessary.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #13 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To determine whether staff are capable and suitable for positions, the Sacramento FCS should ensure it follows the superior courtís probationary policy for any former employees the court rehires.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court revised as of March 2012 the form it uses to evaluate probationary staff. The courtís policy covering probationary employees, dated January 15, 2010, requires the employeeís manager to complete two interim reports and a final report during the employeeís probationary period. (See 2013-406, p. 154)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #14 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that it assists nonprobationary staff in developing their skills and improving their job performance, the Sacramento Superior Court should ensure that the FCS adheres to its employee appraisal policy.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court revised as of March 2012 the form it uses to evaluate nonprobationary staff. In addition, as of March 6, 2012, the court revised its employee appraisal policy and generally requires supervisors and managers to provide employees with an appraisal every two years. (See 2013-406, p. 154)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #15 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that it assists nonprobationary staff in developing their skills and improving their job performance, the Sacramento Superior Court should clarify the employee appraisal policy by specifying how often updates to the duty statement should occur.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court revised as of March 6, 2012, its employee appraisal policy and generally requires supervisors to provide employees with an appraisal every two years. The policy states that the evaluation must be based on the employeeís current duty statement. The courtís duty statement policy requires supervisors and managers to periodically review and update the statements. (See 2013-406, p. 155)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #16 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should obtain any missing applications and training records for private mediators and evaluators on its current panel list before appointing them to future cases.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 16 will not be implemented by the Court. In light of staffing reductions the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. However, the Court verifies that all private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through the use of Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411).

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

Given the time that has passed since the State Auditor made this recommendation, it is likely that the private mediator and evaluator panels' membership has changed. In addition, as the Sacramento family court noted in its response, it assesses qualifications and training as part of its appointment process for panel membership. As such, this recommendation is not applicable at this time.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 16 will not be implemented by the Court. In light of recent staffing reductions the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. However, the Court verifies that all private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through the use of the Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411).

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As explained in the Court's previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 16 will not be implemented by the Court. In light of recent staffing reductions the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. However, the Court verifies that all private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through the use of the Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411).

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As indicated in the Court's response of January 7, 2011, the use of Judicial Council form FL-326 assures that private mediator and panel members meet minimum qualifications and training requirements. In light of recent staffing reductions the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #17 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should ensure that if it continues to rely on the evaluatorsí licensure to satisfy the training requirements, the training courses that evaluators on its current panel list take are approved by the AOC or that the evaluators seek individual approvals from the AOC to take the courses.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Family Court notified private evaluator panel members via an email dated March†18, 2011, that they must attend training approved by the AOC or seek individual approval of†required courses. (See 2013-406, p. 155)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #18 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should create a record retention policy to retain the applications and training records related to private mediators and evaluators on its panel list for as long as they remain on the list.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Family Court established a policy to maintain the private mediatorís or evaluatorís application, which includes training records, for as long as the private mediator or evaluator remains on the courtís panel list. (See 2013-406, p. 155)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #19 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should establish a process to ensure that the private mediators and evaluators file their declarations of qualifications with the court no later than 10 days after notification of each appointment and before they begin work on a case.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Family Court modified its Order for Private Mediation and its Order Appointing Child Custody Evaluator to include a requirement that the appointed private mediator or private evaluator file a declaration regarding qualifications within 10 days of notification of the appointment and before beginning work on the case. (See 2013-406, p. 156)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #20 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To verify that its private mediator and evaluator panel members meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements before appointment, the Sacramento family court should reinstate its local rules for private mediators and evaluators to provide a minimum of three references, and for private evaluators to provide a statement that they have read the court's evaluator guidelines.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

The Court already verifies that private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through use of Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411). Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 20.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

Given the time that has passed since the State Auditor made this recommendation, it is likely that the private mediator and evaluator panels' membership has changed. In addition, as the Sacramento family court noted in its response, it assesses private mediators' and evaluators' qualifications before appointment. As such, this recommendation is not applicable at this time.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

The Court already verifies that private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through use of the Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411). Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 20.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

The Court already verifies that private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through use of the Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411). Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 20.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

The Court already verifies that private evaluators meet the minimum qualifications and training requirements through the use of Judicial Council form FL-326. The Court also verifies the training and qualification requirements of private mediators before their appointment through use of the Declaration of Private Child Custody Recommending Counselor Regarding Qualifications (local form FR-411). Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 20.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As stated in the Court's letter of January 7, 2011, Judicial Council form FL-322 obviates the need to implement this recommendation.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #21 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

The Sacramento family court should ensure that minorís counsel submit, within 10 days of their appointment, the required declarations about their qualifications, education, training, and experience. Specifically, the family court should send annual notices to the minorís counsel it appoints, instructing them to file the declaration.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court stated that it does not believe it is necessary to send annual notices to appointed minorís counsel of the need to file a declaration. The court stated that the order appointing minorís counsel includes a specific requirement that the minorís counsel submit a declaration within 10 days of appointment and before beginning any work on a case. The court included in its Order Appointing Counsel for a Child the specific requirement to file a declaration of qualifications within 10 days of appointment or before beginning work on a case. The courtís alternative approach addresses our concern that the minorís counsel should submit the required declaration in a timely manner. (See 2013-406, p. 156)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #22 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

The Sacramento family court should ensure that minorís counsel submit, within 10 days of their appointment, the required declarations about their qualifications, education, training, and experience. Specifically, the family court should continue to ensure the appointment orders direct the minorís counsel to complete and promptly file the declaration.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Family Court included in its Order Appointing Counsel for a Child the specific requirement to file a declaration of qualifications within 10 days of appointment or before beginning work on a case. (See 2013-406, p. 156)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #23 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make sure that the minor's counsel it appoints meet the additional standards required by the superior court's local rules, the Sacramento family court should obtain any missing applications for minor's counsel before appointing them to any future cases.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As a result of reduced staffing, the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, the Court's use of Judicial Council form FL-322 ensures that counsel appointed for a child is qualified. Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 23.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

Given the time that has passed since the State Auditor made this recommendation, it is likely that the pool of attorney's who act as minor's counsel has changed. In addition, as the Sacramento family court noted in its response, it assesses counsel's qualifications as summarized on a standard Judicial Council form. As such, this recommendation is not applicable at this time.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As a result of reduced staffing, the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, the Court's use of Judicial Council form FL-322 ensures that counsel appointed for a child is qualified. Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 23.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As a result of reduced staffing, the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, the Court's use of Judicial Council form FL-322 ensures that counsel appointed for a child is qualified. Therefore, the Court does not intend to implement Recommendation Number 23.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As a result of reduced staffing, the Court does not have the resources to search for and review all previous training records. As stated in the Court's letter of January 7, 2011, Judicial Council form FL-322 obviates the need to implement this recommendation.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #24 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make sure that the minorís counsel it appoints meet the additional standards required by the superior courtís local rules, the Sacramento family court should create a record retention policy to retain the minorís counsel applications for as long as they remain on its panel list.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Family Court established a policy to maintain the minorís counsel application for as long as the minorís counsel remains on the courtís panel list. (See 2013-406, p. 157)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #25 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To ensure that the FCS mediators are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should retain documentation in the FCS mediatorsí official personnel files to demonstrate that they met the minimum qualifications.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin superior and family courts adopted a policy requiring FCS mediators to submit annually their original certificates of training for retention in their official personnel files. (See 2013-406, p. 157)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #26 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To ensure that the FCS mediators are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should verify the initial training of those FCS mediators hired who have worked at other superior courts.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin superior and family courts adopted a policy requiring its newly hired FCS mediators who have worked at other superior courts to submit to it copies of their certificates of training for retention in their official personnel files. If the mediator is unable to produce these records, the court will attempt to obtain the records from the FCS mediatorís former court employer. If the records are unavailable, the court will require the FCS mediator to prepare a sworn statement that he or she has met these requirements in another court. (See 2013-406, p. 157)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #27 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To ensure that the FCS mediators are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should ensure that the FCS mediators receive supervision from someone who is qualified to perform clinical supervision so that they can resume their participation in performance supervision, as the court rules require.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin superior and family courts contracted with a clinical supervisor to provide three onsite visits per year to conduct performance supervision. (See 2013-406, p. 158)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #28 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To confirm that the private evaluators the family court appoints are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should establish a process to ensure that the private evaluators file declarations of their qualifications with the court no later than 10 days after notification of each appointment and before they begin any work on a case.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin superior and family courts developed procedures to ensure that private evaluators file their declarations of qualifications no later than 10 days after notification of each appointment and before they begin any work on a case. (See 2013-406, p. 158)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #29 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To confirm that the private evaluators the family court appoints are qualified, the Marin superior and family courts should adopt a local rule regarding procedures for the private evaluators to notify the family court that they have met the domestic violence training requirements. If the superior court chooses not to adopt a local rule, the family court should establish a process to ensure that the private evaluators attach copies of their domestic violence training certificates to their completed evaluation reports.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court adopted a local rule requiring private evaluators to submit annually to the court copies of their domestic violence training certificates. (See 2013-406, p. 158)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #30 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To verify that the private minorís counsel it appoints are qualified, the Marin family court should establish a process to ensure that minorís counsel submit, no later than 10 days after notification of their appointment and before working on a case, the required declaration of qualifications.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin superior and family courts developed procedures to ensure that minorís counsel file their declarations of qualifications no later than 10 days after notification of each appointment and before they begin any work on a case. (See 2013-406, p. 158)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #31 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To make certain that it orders evaluations as the court rules require, the Marin family court should consistently use the standard form.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Family Court acknowledged that the Order Appointing Child Custody Evaluator was†the†standard form and stated that it would consistently use the form for all future private evaluator appointments. (See 2013-406, p. 158)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #32 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento FCS and family court should keep a complete log of all verbal and written complaints they receive regarding FCS staff.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento FCS and family court developed a log to track all verbal and written FCS staff complaints it receives. (See 2013-406, p. 159)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #33 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento FCS and family court should follow the established complaint process, including retaining the appropriate documentation to demonstrate adherence to the process.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento FCS and family court stated that it uses a log to document the steps taken to resolve†complaints. (See 2013-406, p. 159)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #34 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento FCS and family court should establish specific time frames for responding to complaints.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento FCS and family court modified the client complaint process to reflect that FCS will act on all verbal and written complaints within 90 days of receiving them. (See 2013-406, p. 159)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #35 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To make certain that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Marin Superior Court should keep a complete log of all verbal and written complaints it receives regarding FCS staff.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court developed a log to track all verbal and written FCS staff complaints it receives. (See 2013-406, p. 159)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #36 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To make certain that all complaints regarding FCS staff are tracked properly and reviewed promptly, the Marin Superior Court should ensure that FCS follows the courtís established complaint process, including retaining the appropriate documentation to demonstrate adherence to the process.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court developed an FCS mediator complaint tracking form and stated that its human resources manager will complete the form while investigating the complaint, attach the form to the written complaint or to the notes pertaining to a verbal complaint, and retain the form in the FCS complaint file for mediators. (See 2013-406, p. 159)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #37 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To verify that all complaints received about the private mediators or evaluators that the family courts appoint are tracked and reviewed promptly, the Sacramento Superior Court should keep logs of all complaints it receives.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court established a log for complaints about private mediators and private†evaluators. (See 2013-406, p. 160)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #38 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To verify that all complaints received about the private mediators or evaluators that the family courts appoint are tracked and reviewed promptly, the Marin Superior Court should keep logs of all complaints it receives.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court developed a log to track all written private evaluator complaints it†receives. (See 2013-406, p. 160)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #39 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

The Marin Superior Court should make certain that for future complaints it may receive, the court follows the steps stated in its process for registering complaints about evaluators.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court developed an evaluator complaint tracking form and stated that its human resources manager will complete the form while overseeing the investigation of the complaint, attach the form to the written complaint along with the evaluatorís written response and the written response from the other party if one is provided, and retain the form in the FCS complaint file for private evaluators. (See 2013-406, p. 160)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #40 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To ensure that it provides transparency for the parties in family court cases, the Sacramento Superior Court should develop a local rule that defines its process for receiving, reviewing, and resolving complaints against private mediators and evaluators.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court adopted a local rule related to the complaint process for private mediators and evaluators. The local rule became effective on January 1, 2012. (See 2013-406, p. 160)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #41 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To clearly identify its process for registering complaints about private evaluators, the Sacramento Superior Court should make the necessary corrections to its 2012 local rules to add the complaint procedures that were omitted in error.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court adopted a local rule related to the complaint process for private mediators and evaluators. The local rule became effective on January 1, 2012. (See 2013-406, p. 161)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #42 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its accounting process for California Family Code Section 3111 evaluations, the Sacramento Superior Court should update its accounting procedures related to billing FCS evaluation costs to include steps for verifying the mathematical accuracy of the FCS summary and the proper allocation of costs between the parties.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2015

As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 42 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation related to FCS evaluation cost billing and accounting procedures is not needed.

  • Estimated Completion Date:

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Resolved

The Sacramento family court no longer offers custody evaluation services. Therefore, this recommendation is not applicable at this time. Should the Sacramento family court begin offering custody evaluation services at a future date, we anticipate that the court will assess its practices.


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 42 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation related to FCS evaluation cost billing and accounting procedures is not needed.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

As explained in previous responses to the State Auditor, Recommendation Number 42 will not be implemented by the Court. As a result of budget reductions to the Court, Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) no longer conducts custody evaluations; therefore this recommendation related to FCS evaluation cost billing and accounting procedures is not needed.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2012

As indicated in the Court's July 20, 2011 response to recommendation 10, due to budget reductions Sacramento's Family Court Services (FCS) is no longer conducting custody evaluations making the need to update its accounting procedures unnecessary.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Will Not Implement


Recommendation #43 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its accounting process for California Family Code Section 3111 evaluations, the Sacramento Superior Court should update its process for collecting amounts it is owed for California Family Code 3111 evaluations.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court stated that it mailed out delinquent account notices. In addition, the†court noted that the accounting unit will provide up to two delinquent account notices. Finally,†the court stated it began using a private collection agency for those accounts it has been unsuccessful in collecting. (See 2013-406, p. 161)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #44 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its accounting process for California Family Code Section 3111 evaluations, the Sacramento Superior Court should develop a written policy for reviewing periodically the hourly rate it charges parties for California Family Code 3111 evaluations.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court developed a written policy for reviewing periodically the hourly rate it charges parties for Family Code Section 3111 evaluations. However, the Sacramento Superior Court reported to us that effective July 2011 FCS will no longer conduct Family Code Section 3111 evaluations. The court cited budget reductions as its reason for discontinuing this service. (See 2013-406, p. 161)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #45 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should ensure that determinations about the partiesí ability to pay are made in accordance with the court rules and are properly reflected in the orders appointing the minorís counsel.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento superior and family courts have a process for documenting the judicial determination and allocation of the payment of minorís counsel fees. (See 2013-406, p. 161)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #46 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should finalize, approve, and implement the draft procedures for processing minorís counsel invoices.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento superior and family courts stated that the accounting staff implemented procedures for processing minorís counsel invoices. (See 2013-406, p. 162)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #47 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should make certain that accounting follows the appropriate court policy when reviewing minorís counsel costs and that accounting does not pay costs that the policy does not allow.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento superior and family courts stated that the accounting staff continue to follow the court policy so that only costs permitted by that policy are paid. (See 2013-406, p. 162)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #48 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should take the steps necessary to confirm that accounting does not make duplicate or erroneous payments to minorís counsel.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento superior and family courts stated that the accounting staff implemented the procedures for processing minorís counsel invoices and have taken steps to assure the duplicate payments are not remitted to minorís counsel. (See 2013-406, p. 162)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #49 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To strengthen its processes related to minorís counsel fees, the Sacramento superior and family courts should take necessary steps to collect minorís counsel costs that accounting has paid improperly.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court stated that overpayments to minorís counsel have either been billed or deducted from a subsequent invoice payment. (See 2013-406, p. 162)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #50 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To ensure that it reimburses only appropriate and necessary minorís counsel costs, the Marin Superior Court should develop a written policy that outlines the costs it will reimburse and that requires the attorneys to provide original receipts for their costs.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court developed a policy for reviewing incidental costs on minorís counsel invoices. The policy reflects the courtís reimbursement rates and, in certain circumstances, requires minorís counsel to provide receipts. (See 2013-406, p. 162)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #51 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

To make its conflict-of-interest policy more effective, the Marin Superior Court should modify its conflict-of-interest policy to include documenting the cause of potential conflicts of interest in writing and tracking their final disposition.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court modified its conflict-of-interest policy to require the mediator to notify the human resources manager in writing if an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest exists. The policy requires the human resources manager to notify the mediator in writing regarding the final disposition. (See 2013-406, p. 163)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #52 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make its conflict-of-interest process more effective, the Sacramento FCS should continue to maintain its log recording potential conflicts of interest.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Family Court stated that it will continue to maintain its log of all FCS mediator conflicts of interest. (See 2013-406, p. 163)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #53 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

To make its conflict-of-interest process more effective, the Sacramento FCS should update its conflict-of-interest policy to match its practice of identifying cases that could present a real or perceived conflict of interest, including cases involving court employees, and to include its current practice of documenting potential conflicts of interest in the FCS files.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Family Court updated its policy to document its current practice of identifying cases that could present an actual or perceived conflict of interest. The court also stated it implemented a process to maintain records pertaining to conflicts of interest in the FCS case files. (See 2013-406, p. 163)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #54 To: Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

The Sacramento Superior Court should develop and implement processes to review periodically the court rules to ensure that its local rules reflect all required court rules.

1-Year Agency Response

The Sacramento Superior Court stated that it has assigned to its family law research attorney the ongoing responsibility of reviewing all changes to the court rules, which necessitate any change to its local rules. (See 2013-406, p. 163)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #55 To: Superior Court of California, County of Marin

The Marin Superior Court should develop and implement processes to review periodically the court rules to ensure that its local rules reflect all required court rules.

1-Year Agency Response

The Marin Superior Court has developed a process to review periodically the court rules to ensure that its local rules reflect all required court rules. According to the court executive officer, she made assignments to court managers to review new and amended court rules to ensure that the court is aware of any provisions that require the court to adopt them. (See 2013-406, p. 164)

  • Response Date: December 2012

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


All Recommendations in 2009-109

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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