Assemblyman Benoit Announces Childcare Audit Results
State Auditor Uncovers Significant Shortfalls in Monitoring Efforts and Enforcement Actions
SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman John J. Benoit (R-Palm Desert) today announced that the State Auditor has released the results of the childcare safety audit he requested in August 2005. The Assemblyman personally reviewed the findings with the Auditor’s staff this morning.
Assemblyman Benoit said, “This report tragically points out that many of our children are at risk. The state is unable to adequately inspect and certify the safety of these facilities. Worse, when complaints lead to confirmed serious violations, we fail to adequately inform parents. I hope that the findings of this audit will move the Legislature to action in this most important topic.”
The audit found that the Department of Social Services:
• Struggled to make required visits to facilities and carry out its other monitoring responsibilities
• Did not always complete investigations within deadlines
• Did not always determine whether child care facilities corrected the deficiencies its identified during its visits to facilities
• Did not always adequately enforce legal actions against licensed child care facilities
• Did not keep reliable data regarding inspection visits
Assemblyman Benoit and Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) requested the audit in response to growing concern among the public and childcare advocates about the effectiveness of California’s current childcare oversight system. In the Assemblymembers’ request letter, they cite specific incidents, including the March 2004 death of Aryanna Sanchez of Riverside. This tragedy occurred at a Riverside family childcare home with a lengthy list of serious safety violations already on its record.
Assemblyman Benoit has prioritized childcare safety issues during his time in the Legislature. He is the author of Aryanna’s Law (Assembly Bill 633), legislation to improve transparency in California’s childcare oversight system by empowering parents with the information they need to safeguard their children’s health and well-being. The measure is currently awaiting consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The audit was undertaken by the Bureau of State Audits, which serves as a public watchdog to ensure the effective and efficient administration and management of public funds and programs.
Complete results of the audit are available on the Bureau’s web site at www.bsa.ca.gov.