California Department of Consumer Affairs

History and Administration
– Consumer protection in California began with the passage of the Medical Practice Act of 1876, leading to the creation of the first government agency in 1878.
– The three boards created in 1878 were later consolidated into the Medical Board of California.
– State authority expanded to include additional professions and vocations in the next 30 years.
– The Consumer Affairs Act was passed in 1970, giving the department its current name.
– DCAs boards, bureaus, and entities are supported by a dedicated staff of legal, technical, and administrative professionals.
– The Office of Administrative Services provides accounting, business, personnel, and budget services.
– The Office of Information Services manages information technology for DCA.
– The Complaint Resolution Program helps resolve consumer complaints in the California marketplace.
– The Consumer Information Center serves as DCAs information resource center for consumers and licensees.

Licensing and Regulation
– DCA licenses or certifies practitioners in more than 255 professions.
– There are currently more than 2.4 million practitioners licensed by the DCA.
– The department consists of over 40 bureaus, boards, committees, commissions, and other entities that regulate practitioners.
– Regulatory duties include investigating complaints against licensees and disciplining violators.
– Bureaus, programs, divisions, and offices are under the full control of DCA.

Enforcement and Support Services
– DCAs enforcement staff works with the Office of the Attorney General of California and local district attorneys.
– Investigations are often initiated as a result of consumer complaints.
– The department has a Complaint Resolution Program to help resolve disputes between consumers and businesses.
– DCA collaborates with other agencies to investigate fraudulent activity in the marketplace.
– The Office of Administrative Services provides accounting, business, personnel, and budget services.
– The Office of Information Services manages information technology for all of DCA.
– The Equal Employment Opportunity Office promotes equal employment opportunity and affirmative action for people with disabilities.
– The Division of Investigation is the law enforcement and investigative branch of DCA.
– The Legal Division provides legal services to the department’s executive staff and all DCA entities.

Legal Services Unit and Administrative Unit
– Provides counsel to the director in carrying out consumer mandates.
– Creates and maintains consumer handbooks and guides.
– Counsels on government contracts, employer-employee matters, Open Meetings Act, Public Records Act, and Information Practices Act.
– Supports the Consumer Affairs Act.
– Represents DCA before State Personnel Board and Department of Personnel Administration.
– Provides in-house counsel to administrative divisions and Division of Investigation.
– Offers legal guidance on personnel matters.

Legislative and Regulatory Review Division, Office of Professional Examination Services, and Office of Public Affairs
– Represents DCA’s positions on legislative, policy, and regulatory matters.
– Monitors and analyzes legislative bills on consumer issues.
– Reviews proposed regulation packages.
– Provides policy consultation and review on various issues.
– Advises the director on public policy affecting consumers.
– Provides psychometric consulting services for licensure examination programs.
– Offers occupational analysis, item writing, examination development, and program evaluation.
– Ensures licensing examinations are valid, job-related, and legally defensible.
– Manages interagency contracts with DCA boards, bureaus, and committees.
– Oversees master contract for examination administration at testing centers.
– Creates and executes strategic media and communications plans.
– Provides news media with consumer-related information.
– Responds to media inquiries.
– Alerts media to unlicensed activity sweeps.
– Supports DCA’s public relations efforts.Sources: