Report 2011-101.2 Data Reliability Assessments

Social Services, Department of
Description of Data Agency Purpose of Data
Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS)

A statewide computer system to automate the case management, services planning, and information gathering functions of child welfare services.

Magnitude of Data

As of April 2011, CWS/CMS contained information related to more than 15.3 million allegations of nonaccidental endangerment of a child by, or allowed by, a parent, guardian, or other person who has care and custody of the child; more than 10.6 million people deemed by child welfare staff to be eligible to receive child welfare services or to require assessment and service planning because of a relationship the person has with a child (or because the person is a child) who has been alleged or found to be a victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation within his or her home; more than 1.4 million uninterrupted periods of child welfare services that were provided to children; and more than 620,000 licensed and nonlicensed substitute care homes in which a child may potentially be placed.

Purpose of Testing Data Reliability Determination

Sampling active cases, placements, and inappropriate placements; calculating the number of days between a report of abuse or neglect and a social worker's visit; and the counties' workload.

Undetermined Reliability—To assess the completeness of key tables and fields within CWS/CMS, we would normally pull a haphazard sample of records related to key tables and fields used in our analysis. However, because not all 58 counties maintain paper case files and those that do are located throughout the State, we determined that this testing was not feasible. Instead, we haphazardly selected a sample of 29 case files from the four counties we visited. We tested these clients against CWS/CMS and found no errors. Additionally, the California Department of Social Services (Social Services) informed us that CWS/CMS contains incomplete placement and case data from 1995 through part of 1998. In 1997 Social Services' new CWS/CMS was operational statewide and in June 1998 the final rollout and conversion activities were completed. Social Services and counties generally converted only those cases that were open during the conversion period. Cases that were closed prior to the CWS/CMS data conversion are not captured in the system.

To assess the accuracy of the key fields we used in our analysis, we pulled a sample of records from CWS/CMS. This sample contained records from 21 of the 58 counties. We then contacted four of these counties to determine what documentation would be available to support these fields and found these counties maintained inconsistent documentation.

Corrective Action Recommended Status of Corrective Action
We did not recommend corrective action. N/A