California Department of Consumer Affairs
|Headquarters||1625 North Market Blvd.,
Sacramento, CA, 95834
|Annual budget||$274 million (2010-2011)|
|Department executive||Awet Kidane, Director|
|Parent department||Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency|
The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is a department within the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. DCA's stated mission is to serve the interests of California's consumers by ensuring a standard of professionalism in key industries and promoting informed consumer practices. The department provides the public with information on safe consumer practices, in an effort to protect the public from unscrupulous or unqualified people who promote deceptive products or services.
DCA licenses or certifies practitioners in more than 255 professions. Currently, there are over 2.4 million practitioners licensed by the DCA. The Department consists of more than 40 bureaus, boards, committees, commission, and other entities that license and regulate practitioners. Regulatory duties include investigating complaints against licensees and disciplining violators. Boards, committees, and one commission operate independently but rely on DCA for administrative support. Fees paid by these licensees fund DCA operations almost exclusively. Bureaus, programs, divisions, and offices are under the full control of DCA.
DCA regulates many fields, including: medicine, dentistry, podiatry, physical therapy, psychology, osteopathy, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, occupational therapy, pharmacy, registered nursing, vocational nursing, respiratory therapy, optometry, speech-language pathology, audiology, veterinary medicine, architecture, landscape architecture, accountancy, boxing, martial arts, automotive repair, barbering, cosmetology, social work, family therapy, educational psychology, geology, geophysics, guide dog training, engineering, surveying, pest control, electronic and appliance repair, professional fiduciaries, psychiatric technicians, hearing aid dispensers, private investigators, security guards, court reporters, funeral homes, and cemeteries.
DCA provides the public with live telephone assistance in more than 170 languages for consumer-related questions and concerns. The Department publishes a number of publications on consumer-related issues, the most popular being the California Tenants Guide. Publications are free to the public and are made available on the department's website.
DCA's enforcement staff works with the Office of the Attorney General of California and local district attorneys to investigate fraudulent activity in the marketplace. Many investigations are initiated as a result of complaints from consumers.
DCA has a Complaint Resolution Program to help resolve disputes between consumers and businesses.
Consumer protection in California began with the passage of the Medical Practice Act of 1876. The Act was designed to regulate the State's medical professionals, who up to that point had operated virtually unchecked. However, an actual government agency to enforce the Act was not created until 1878; the three boards created that year were later consolidated into what is now the Medical Board of California. Additional professions and vocations were brought under State authority in the next 30 years. By the late 1920s, the Department of Vocational and Professional Standards was responsible for licensing or certifying accountants, barbers, cosmetologists, dentists, embalmers, optometrists, pharmacists, physicians, and veterinarians. The Consumer Affairs Act was passed in 1970, giving the Department its current name.
List of bureaus, boards, and commissions
- California Board of Chiropractic Examiners
- California Athletic Commission
- California Board of Accountancy
- California Board of Acupuncture
- California Architects Board
- California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists
- California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
- California Board of Behavioral Sciences
- California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation
- California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
- California Board of Optometry
- California Board of Pharmacy
- California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
- California Bureau of Automotive Repair
- California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine
- California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
- California Bureau of Real Estate
- California Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers
- California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau
- California Complaint Resolution Program
- California Contractors State License Board
- California Court Reporters Board
- California Dental Board
- California Dental Hygiene Committee
- California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau
- California Landscape Architects Technical Committee
- Medical Board of California
- Osteopathic Medical Board of California
- Department of Consumer Affairs in the 2010-2011 budget