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Published: September 14, 2012
Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Reporting

During the early days of the implementation of the CCDF, the Office of Child Care (OCC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recognized that lead agencies administering the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) needed better tools to manage an increasingly complex program. With a growing expectation in government for more responsive information systems, these lead child care agencies faced new choices in the content and management of child care programs supporting low-income families. The OCC commissioned the development of the Child Care Electronic Environment: a System Automation Worktool (CEE:SAW) as a set of system design documents to help child care agencies take full advantage of these choices while ensuring that they would be able to meet the new Federal reporting requirements for child care. This document still is available today.

The System Requirements Specification for CEE:SAW was developed with the assistance of a team of child care representatives from 10 states (five program staff and five systems staff) that made up the Functional Requirements Organizing Group (FROG). The specifications provide a baseline design to guide the development and adaptation of automated systems used in the administration of child care subsidy programs. It is an application architecture for the design of new child care systems or the enhancement of existing systems. It was created to help child care lead agencies meet their own outstanding needs for a single, integrated system capable of supporting efficient service delivery and timely, accurate, and reliable data reporting.

While CEE:SAW can provide basic guidance for developing or modifying a child care system, it does not present a complete, one-size-fits-all solution. Craftsmen in the lead agencies need to add to or modify this framework, until it fits with existing policies and procedures. CEE:SAW can help generate ideas, provide uniformity, and hopefully save lead agencies time and money in defining system requirement specifications.

Within CEE:SAW are independent modules for each of the core functional areas of child care administration:

  • Intake
  • Eligibility
  • Service Matching
  • Child Care Plan Development
  • Service Delivery
  • Provider Resource Management
  • Complaint Management
  • Reporting
  • System Interface Management
  • Performance Measures Development

For each of the modules, CEE:SAW system requirement specifications include:

  • A Process Analyst Model (PAM) portraying the flow from external input to external output in multiple flow diagrams. The PAM details the interactions occurring within the functions by means of process definitions, data flow descriptions, and data store and external entity identification.
  • A Conceptual Data Model (CDM) representing the logical structure of data supporting the child care functional processes. The CDM is comprised of the Entity Relationship Diagram, Data Dictionary and Business Rules.
  • Functional Requirements specifying the operations to be executed, validity checks, computations to be performed, algorithms to be used, and reports and alerts to be generated by the system functions.

Together these documents provide a template for the design and development of a core integrated child care delivery system to meet the needs of low-income families. Each functional area is developed as an independent application so that as child care program direction changes in the future, the design documents can be changed to provide continuing guidance to the states and territories.

To order a copy of the CEE:SAW document at a cost of $100.00, return the CEE:SAW Order Form (download below) to the National Center on Child Care Data and Technology at:

National Center on Child Care Data and Technology
2600 Tower Oaks Blvd., Suite 600
Rockville, MD 20852