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Data Reliability Audit Requirements


Published: September 29, 1999


RE: Data Reliability Audit Requirements

Dear Colleague:

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) required the establishment of performance indicators to measure the performance of States' Child Support Enforcement programs. These performance indicators, computed using data reported by the States, are: (1) Paternity Establishment; (2) Cases with Support Orders; (3) Collections on Current Support; (4) Cases paying on Arrearages; and (5) Cost Effectiveness. States will receive incentives based on the results of their performance measured against established standards for each performance indicator.

The Division of Audit, pursuant to section 452(a)(4)(C)(i) of Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act, is required to conduct Audits to evaluate the completeness, reliability, security and the accuracy of the performance indicator data reported by the States. Under PRWORA, States will receive incentives based on performance if their data is deemed to be reliable, complete, and accurate.

Beginning October 1, 1999, Data Reliability Audits will be performed in all 54 States and Territories. To fully assess the reliability of the data, OCSE auditors will test the data that was used to compute the performance indicators and determine whether this data reconciles to documented information in the State’s system. Testing the data will include, but will not be limited to, analyzing the available data for compilation, i.e. the universe of records available before selection and filtering of any data. Testing will also include analyzing the audit trail for each performance indicator line item data to determine whether the data corresponds to events that actually occurred. Consequently, the data available for compilation as well as the audit trail for each element used to compute the performance indicators will be requested as of the end of each Federal Fiscal Year (FFY), effective for the FFY ending September 30, 1999.

Data is requested for the first four performance indicators listed in the first paragraph and the Cost Effectiveness Performance Indicator numerator. Although data for the Cost Effectiveness Performance Indicator denominator. will not be subject to the data testing explained in the previous paragraph; it will still be audited. The data should be available in Fixed Width PC readable text format files. The enclosed "Database Specifications Request" represents an example of database fields that should be included in the requested files.

In addition, the use of read-only remote access to a State's child support system is encouraged. This will allow the OCSE auditors to conduct the case review within the data testing phase of the Audit more effectively and efficiently through better use of resources and less disruption of State and local child support operations.

Please contact your OCSE Division of Audit Area Audit Office Team Leader as soon as possible to discuss plans to maintain the necessary data files and to plan for the remote access to the system. If the required data testing cannot be performed during the Audit, we may not be able to render an opinion as to the reliability of States’ data.

Your timely cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated. We will be available to answer any questions you may have in defining these "specifications" and data needed or to discuss alternatives.


David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support Enforcement


Example of a Database Specifications Request
Indicator OCSE Report Lines Type of Data Fields to be Extracted
1 OCSE-157 Option 1 - 5 & 6 Children Case Identification Number
    Option 2 - 8 & 9   Case Status
        Relationship Code
        Participant Case Status
        Paternity Established Indicator
        Paternity Established date
        Birth Date
        Date Current Status
        Child Identification Number
2 OCSE-157 1 & 2 Cases Case Identification Number
        Case Status
        Establishment Type
        Case Type
        Support Order Established Indicator
3 OCSE-157 24 & 25 Cases Case Identification Number
        Case Status
        Case Type
        Current Monthly Support Obligation
        Current Support Owed for Year (by month)
        Current Support Paid for Year (by month)
4 OCSE-157 28 & 29 Cases Case Identification Number
        Case Status
        Case Type
        Arrears Balance for each month of the year
        Arrears Payments for each month of the year
5 OCSE-34A 5 & 8 Dollars Total collections distributed
        Collections forwarded to other states

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