Intensive care nurse Maynard Villa was unable to hire workers while working on a glitch state system designed to automate criminal history checks, so a family to a new senior care home. I was on the verge of losing my $ 150,000 investment.
A new portal for the California Department of Social Welfare will assist home and community care providers, foster parents, and even nannies and babysitters applying for permits under the state’s background check system.
However, only 38% of California’s approximately 60,000 licensed facilities have been using Guardian tools since they went live in January, while the rest remain finding workarounds or frustrating.The department had promised The $ 788,650 portal “facilitates the process for applicants and agencies while ensuring that background checks are completed faster and more efficiently.”
Villa said she lost two customers in a six-bed house in the city of Arcadia in the Los Angeles area. This is because we couldn’t hire employees to take care of them.
“This problem is really annoying and really disappointing, because you’re trying to create a business and at the same time create a job, because you’re trying to help people,” Villa said. ..
Self-service tools allow employers and employees to plug in future employer identification information to perform background checks through criminal and child abuse databases. Seek exemption from minor and outdated issues that should not interfere with employment. Add or remove employees associated with the agency.
Instead, frustrated employers said they couldn’t log on, get answers through the Guardian about why the portal didn’t work, and get help from similarly embarrassed state workers. I did. Employees were able to complete individual fingerprint checks, but were unable to link them to the appropriate employee’s files.
“When we try to hire employees, we can’t see if they’re part of the system,” said Ara Postaldjian, who owns the Redell Pines Care Home in Monrovia, northeastern Los Angeles.
He was unable to hire six employees lately in late March because he was unable to complete a background check through the Guardian.
The other two scrutinized the old method by calling the Social Welfare Department and reading the name and Social Security number aloud. This is a kind of practical process that the Guardian was supposed to replace. State workers were able to log in to the database and clear these two employees, but couldn’t give him a clear answer as to whether the other six could be safely hired. ..
Navigating the Guardian is a nearly full-time job for one employee recruiter at Home Insted, a home care provider.
She said there was “almost or no” contact from the Guardians and state officials were confused. “So, by the time we get some answer to any of the questions, it’s something we’ve already troubleshoot ourselves like a few months ago.”
However, the turnaround time to process background checks has been reduced from weeks to days, primarily because of “what we have come up with”.
In a statement, Social Welfare spokesman Scott Murray said the new portal was able to quickly process and clear most of the applications it received, while the agency “actively worked with vendors.” Solving early technical problems … Timely for all applications. “
The California Aid Life Association has seen Guardians improve since January, said President and CEO Sally Michael.
“In our experience, when problems get their attention, they are resolved in a timely manner,” she said.
It wasn’t a villa experience. It took weeks of intervention for the State Senator to access the portal.
“After investing more than $ 150,000 of the hard-earned money of my family in my company, we don’t care about one resident, completely due to a high level of incompetence and bureaucracy. There is a risk of bankruptcy, “Villa said in local, state, and federal authorities in February.
Desperately, Villa turned to his county supervisor, lawmaker, and state senator Susan Rubio. Four weeks after contacting Rubio’s office, he received a call from the department and was able to log in to the Guardian in mid-March. But he said he was still experiencing a delay.
This is the latest in the pattern of IT systems with problems in recent years. During the pandemic, California’s troubled unemployment database was overwhelmed, delinquent nearly 300,000 coronavirus records, and last summer saw data glitches at the state’s highest health authorities at the expense of work. Was done.
State auditors said in January that nearly $ 1 billion in California’s financial information system project over 16 years missed four consecutive deadlines to standardize the state’s accounting system amid rising costs. I did.
Democrat David Chiu Suggestion Centralized IT projects under the California Institute of Technology to counter hundreds of “disjoint and duplicate” websites and reporting systems that “leaded to many confusing and stressful user experiences.”
Murray, a spokesman for the Social Welfare Department, said applicants could continue to submit their fingerprints separately from the Guardian Portal. Villa said he had never been told that.
A naturalized American citizen, Villa came to the United States from the Philippines as a teenager. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2013, graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, and said he worked in multiple care facilities to graduate from college.
He spent a pandemic in the Coronavirus Intensive Care Unit at Keck Hospital at the University of Southern California. But what woke him up at night was the impending failure of his business, which obtained a state license in early January.
“It took me seven months to get a license for a house — seven months. You’ve lost cash, you’re a day laborer as a nurse, and you’ve lost cash for the past seven months. “He said. “And when you finally get your license, you can’t hire someone because there’s no way to do a background check.”
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