CalVCB Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2015–16
Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Governor of California
Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board Members
Secretary of the Government Operations Agency and Board Chairperson
Marybel Batjer was appointed Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in June 2013. Batjer has directly served four governors in two states in various roles, including chief of staff, cabinet secretary, undersecretary and chief deputy director. She also held key advisory roles in two U.S. presidential administrations, serving at the National Security Council and at the Pentagon in various positions over 12 years. Prior to her appointment, Batjer was the vice president of public policy and corporate social responsibility for a large entertainment company.
Betty T. Yee
California State Controller and Board Member
State Controller Betty Yee serves as an ex officio member of the board. In her job as California’s chief fiscal officer, she is a member of numerous commissions and financing authorities; fiscal and financial oversight entities including the California Franchise Tax Board and California Board of Equalization; and the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS, the nation’s two largest public pension funds. Elected in November 2014, Yee has more than 30 years of experience in public service, specializing in state and local finance and tax policy in the legislative and executive branches of state government.
Michael A. Ramos
San Bernardino County District Attorney and Board Member
Michael Ramos was appointed to the Board on January 23, 2004, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ramos was elected San Bernardino County District Attorney in 2002 and is currently serving his fourth term. Previously, he served as a deputy district attorney in San Bernardino for 13 years, four of which were in the major crimes unit.
VCGCB Executive Officer
Executive Officer of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
Julie Nauman was appointed as Executive Officer of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB) in 2008. Prior to joining VCGCB, Nauman held a number of executive level positions in California state government. Nauman served as chief deputy director of the Integrated Waste Management Board and chief deputy director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as chief consultant to the Assembly Local Government Committee. Known for her expertise in public policy and land use planning, she held the position of principal-in-charge of a multi-state private consulting firm. Nauman received both a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and a Master of Arts degree in public administration from California State University, Sacramento.
VCGCB Strategic Plan
The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB) adopted a new Strategic Plan in 2016. The Vision, Mission and Core Values are as follows:
The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board is viewed as a national leader in victim services.
The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board provides financial assistance to victims of crime.
VCGCB oversees the provision of compensation to victims of violent crime, the resolution of claims against the state of California and the collection of restitution from criminal offenders. Established in 1911 as the Board of Control, the agency was originally responsible for supervising the business affairs of all state departments, hospitals, prisons, reformatories, boards, commissions, bureaus and the Department of Public Accounting. In 1927, the Board’s oversight role ended. Thereafter, its duties included the adoptions of rules and regulations governing the presentation and audit of contract or tort claims. Its function expanded in 1963 with the enactment of the Torts Claims Act, which VCGCB administers on behalf of the state.
In 1965, California created the nation’s first Victim Compensation Program.
Responsibility for this program was transferred to the Board of Control in 1967 and the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) has since become a national leader for victim services.
In 2001, the Board of Control was renamed the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board to more accurately reflect its increasing roles and responsibilities. Today, as a part of the California Government Operations Agency (CalGovOps), VCGCB administers CalVCP, the Government Claims Program and the Revenue Recovery Program. In addition, it oversees a number of other matters including the handling of bid protests, claims for erroneously convicted persons, the Our Promise campaign, rates for travel expenses for elected state officials and the judiciary and per diem rates for members of the legislature. VCGCB also administers both the Good Samaritan Program and the Missing Children Reward Program.
California Victim Compensation Program
CalVCP is a state program dedicated to providing reimbursement for many crime-related expenses to eligible victims who suffer physical injury or the threat of physical injury as a direct result of a violent crime.
Crimes Covered by CalVCP Include:
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Drunk Driving
- Elder Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Human Trafficking
- Online Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Vehicular Manslaughter
An applicant may be eligible for assistance if they meet defined statutory criteria, including, filing within the specified time limit, no involvement in the crime and cooperation with law enforcement.*
CalVCP is a payor of last resort and can only reimburse victims for crime-related expenses if there are no other sources of reimbursement.
* Except for crimes involving sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and child sexual abuse.
Covered Expenses Include:
- Crime scene clean up
- Funeral and burial
- Home or vehicle modifications for victims who became disabled
- Income loss
- Loss of support for dependents when a victim is killed or permanently disabled
- Medical equipment
- Medical and dental treatment
- Mental health services
- Residential security
Emergency Financial Assistance:
In certain situations, CalVCP can provide the applicant with emergency financial assistance. For example, a person may qualify for emergency assistance if their personal safety is at risk and they need to relocate. Additionally, the program can assist with wage loss, dependent support loss, job retraining and home or vehicle modifications if a person is disabled as a result of the crime.
Expenses Not Covered by CalVCP Include:
- Expenses not related to the crime
- Expenses paid by insurance or another source of reimbursement
- Expenses for lost, stolen or damaged property
The program cannot pay expenses incurred while a person is on parole, probation or post release community supervision for a violent felony, incarcerated or required by law to register as a sex offender.
Child Witness to a Violent Crime:
Children under the age of 18 who suffer emotional injuries as a result of witnessing a violent crime may qualify for mental health counseling benefits, even if they are unrelated to the crime victim.
CalVCP Statistical Data
|Type of Crime||New Applications|
|Child Physical & Sexual Abuse||9,920|
|Sexual Assault - Adult||4,158|
|Other Vehicle Crimes||1,041|
|Driving Under the Influence||953|
|Fiscal Year||FY 2010–11||FY 2011–12||FY 2012–13||FY 2013–14||FY 2014–15||FY 2015–16|
|Fiscal Year||FY 2010–11||FY 2011–12||FY 2012–13||FY 2013–14||FY 2014–15||FY 2015–16|
|Funeral & Burial||$9,762,135||$6,265,666||$6,790,837||$6,455,273||$6,486,650||$8,662,773|
|Claimant Type||Number of Applications||Percent of Applications|
|To Be Determined||1,643||3%|
|Unknown or Not Specified||1,850||4%|
|Unknown Date of Birth||1,643||3%|
|Claimants From Victim Witness Assistance Centers||37,997||74%|
|Claimants With Attorney Representation||927||2%|
|Claimants Filing Directly||12,264||24%|
Note: “Unknown”, “Not Specified” or “To Be Determined” reflects data not available at the time of report.
|Year||Total Compensation Paid|
|County||FY 2011–12 Compensation||FY 2012–13 Compensation||FY 2013–14 Compensation||FY 2014–15 Compensation||FY 2015–16 Compensation||FY 2015–16 Apps Received|
|San Luis Obispo||$773,005||$510,660||$559,764||$430,011||$416,231||344|
Restitution Recovery Program
VCGCB’s Restitution Recovery Program collects restitution payments and reimbursements to maintain California’s Restitution Fund. The Restitution Fund is CalVCP’s primary funding source and receives the majority of its revenue from restitution fines, diversion fees and penalties imposed on criminal offenders in California. In addition, CalVCP receives federal grant monies from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant program. VOCA funds come from penalties paid by offenders convicted of federal crimes.
To ensure the viability of the Restitution Fund, program staff utilize partnerships with prosecutors, probation officers, courts and other state agencies to facilitate the imposition and collection of restitution fines and orders against criminal offenders.
VCGCB is entitled to reimbursement and has efficient revenue recovery practices if another source of funding becomes available to the victim. For example, the 25 Criminal Restitution Compacts between counties and VCGCB allow for Victim Witness Program specialists that work with victims, prosecutors, probation departments and courts to ensure that offenders are ordered to pay restitution to the victim and the program when appropriate.
VCGCB also partners with the California Restitution Recovery Program, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Franchise Tax Board’s Court-Ordered Debt Collections program to help ensure restitution orders are complete and timely.
Government Claims Program
Established in 1911, the Government Claims Program (GCP) provides individuals and businesses an administrative opportunity to resolve contract and tort claims for money or damages against the state of California. Individuals who suffer damages or loss due to negligence or actions by a state agency or its employees are eligible to file a claim.
Filing a claim with GCP is the first step for a person considering a lawsuit against the state. The claimant must seek an administrative remedy through the GCP process before further legal action is taken.
After that, a claimant may proceed through the courts only upon a denial or rejection of a claim. Typical claims involve state vehicle accidents, contract disputes and damage to property. Upon receiving a government claim, program staff review the application for sufficiency, jurisdiction and timeliness. GCP staff then prepare a recommendation to the three-member Board (the Board) regarding the disposition of the claim based on case facts and input from the affected department. The Board acts on the recommendation during a public meeting where claimants are given the opportunity to comment. For approved claims, payment is made either by the affected department from existing funds or through an appropriation (an annual omnibus claims bill) approved by the legislature and signed by the governor.
Originally supported with an administrative budget from the State’s General Fund, GCP became a self-funded program in 2004. Legislation now requires a $25 per claim application filing fee and a surcharge of 15 percent that is paid by the affected department when a claim is approved. A fee waiver may be obtained if the claimant is unable to pay the filing fee.
Due to legislation, GCP will transfer to the Department of General Services (DGS) effective July 1, 2016.
|Fiscal Year||Claims Received||Claims Allowed||Amount Paid|
*Claims allowed cannot be calculated due to a move to a new data collection system.
An applicant has the right to file an appeal if a victim compensation claim is recommended for denial, or if any part of the claim and/or expense is recommended for denial. After review and verification, appeals are scheduled for a hearing on the written record or by telephone before a hearing officer. The hearing will give the applicant the opportunity to present information supporting the claim. If the applicant does not agree with the Board’s decision, a request for reconsideration and/or a Petition for a Writ of Mandate may be filed.
In FY 2015–16, VCGCB received 1,306 appeals and requests for reconsiderations, and hearing officers conducted 359 administrative hearings. The inventory of appeals cases was reduced by 25 percent from the previous year.
Crime Victim Compensation Program Initiative
VCGCB was awarded a federal grant by the Office for Victims of Crime in the Department of Justice to identify underserved victims of crime, determine their unmet needs, recognize barriers that prevent them from receiving services and implement program improvements.
Five reports were completed with grant funding, including: the Baseline Data Report, Needs Assessment Report, Gap Analysis Report, Implementation Plan and Project Summary.
The Implementation Plan used research findings to identify strategies to increase awareness of and access to compensation benefits. The strategies are designed to enhance collaboration and communication with victim service advocates, providers and victims.
Collaboration and communication implementation efforts in FY 2015–16 included the distribution of publications to more than 2,500 community-based organizations statewide serving victims of crime.
VCGCB also conducted outreach presentations to educate partner departments, Victim Witness Centers, victim service providers and VCGCB satellite offices about compensation benefits.
To increase access to the compensation program and more effectively communicate with victims who have potential language barriers, VCGCB translated the compensation application, correspondence letters and publications into 13 of the most frequently used languages in California. This allows victims who speak little or no English to receive materials in their native tongue.
VCGCB held two collaboration conferences for mental health professionals, law enforcement and victim advocates aimed at reaching underserved crime victims. VCGCB also co-sponsored the “Leave No Victim Behind” conference with the University of California Davis Police, which focused on community relations and victim services.
Five web-based eLearning courses are being developed for the general public, victim witness advocates, community-based organization advocates, mental health professionals and medical personnel.
Trauma Informed Services Workshops for staff and stakeholders were conducted to enhance understanding of issues affecting crime victims.
Implementing the array of strategies to enhance collaboration and communication has resulted in an increase of applications and the removal of barriers to accessing the compensation program. A deeper evaluation of the impact of these strategies will provide additional data in the following year.
Additional Board Functions
California law states that an unsuccessful bidder may protest the award of a state contract if they believe they were the lowest bidder, or should have been selected based on the criteria in the bid request document. Bid protests are filed with DGS and forwarded to VCGCB. Protests are assigned to a hearing officer, who prepares a proposed recommendation for consideration by the Board.
California State Employees’ Giving at Work Initiative (Our Promise)
VCGCB assists with the administration of the Our Promise campaign. This campaign provides a single, coordinated fund-raising drive that allows state employees to direct regular contributions from their paychecks to any of the 2,645 participating charitable organizations. In FY 2015–16, state employees donated more than $6.2 million to approved charities, of that, VCGCB employees generously donated $11,874.
Each year, VCGCB certifies the eligibility of charities and selects organizations to manage the campaign in various regions throughout the state.
Effective July 1, 2016 certification of the campaign will transfer to DGS. VCGCB staff will continue fundraising efforts which contribute to the Our Promise campaign.
Claims of Erroneously Convicted Felons
Under California Penal Code sections 4900 through 4906, a person erroneously convicted of a felony and incarcerated in a California state prison may file a claim for pecuniary loss with VCGCB. The claim needs to be filed within two years after a date of judgment, acquittal, discharge, grant of pardon or release from imprisonment.
The person filing the claim must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they did not commit the crime or the crime never took place, or they suffered pecuniary loss because of the incarceration.
If the claim is granted, the Board will make a recommendation for a legislative appropriation in the amount of $100 for each day of incarceration served after conviction.*
Penal Code section 851.865 mandates the Board recommend to the legislature that an appropriation be made and the claim paid for claimants who obtain declarations of factual innocence.
More information can be found at the Board's PC4900 page.
* Effective Jan. 2016, compensation increased from $100 to $140 per day of incarceration.
The following bills were signed into California state law in fiscal year 2015–16:
SB 651 (Leyva) — Juvenile Conduct: Victims
This bill expanded the definition of a victim who is eligible to receive direct restitution from a juvenile offender to match the definition of a victim who is eligible to receive direct restitution from an adult offender.
SB 304 (Lara) — Government Claims Bill
The Board’s second Government Claims Bill of 2015, which appropriated $3,277,141.90 to pay claims approved by the Board from January 2015 through April 2015.
SB 635 (Nielson) — Erroneous Conviction: Compensation
This bill increased the amount of the recommended appropriation for compensation of an erroneous conviction from $100.00 to $140.00 per day. It also provided compensation for days served in county jail that are considered to be a part of the term of incarceration and removed the requirement that a claimant prove pecuniary loss in order to receive compensation.
AB 1140 (Bonta) — Victim Compensation Program Modernization
This bill modernized Victim Compensation Program statues, improved access to benefits and eliminated some eligibility restrictions for victims.
SB 836 (Committee on Budget) — State Government
This Budget Trailer Bill implemented the transfer of the Government Claims Program and other duties to the Department of General Services.