AFCARS Policy Guidance and Resources
Last Reviewed: June 22, 2015
Effective January 21, 1994, the federal regulations at 45 CFR 1355.40 implemented Section 479 of title IV-E of the Social Security Act. These regulations are more commonly known as the "AFCARS regulations" and include appendices, such as the data dictionary, error standards, and the penalty amounts that a title IV-E agency may be assessed if found out of compliance with the AFCARS standards. On January 6, 2012, Interim Final Rules were published that implement amendments made to title IV-E. As a result of these amendments, conforming changes were made to the AFCARS regulations (including the appendices) to ensure that the same requirements for data collection and reporting apply to a tribal title IV-E agency as are currently applied to a state title IV-E agency.
The Children’s Bureau also has issued the following policy documents:
- Children's Bureau's Child Welfare Policy Manual, Section 1, AFCARS.
- ACYF-CB-IM-04-04, Adoption Incentives and AFCARS Penalties (issued February 17, 2004)
- ACYF-PI-CB-95-09 (REVISED), Methods of Extracting Data for Submission to AFCARS (issued May 23, 1995)
- ACYF-CB-PI-01-07, Change in the State AFCARS File Name (issued May 4, 2001)
- ACYF-CB-IM-02-03, Decision regarding AFCARS Penalties, AFCARS File Name (issued April 8, 2002)
- ACYF-CB-IM-02-05, AFCARS Assessment Reviews (issued April 22, 2002)
The Children’s Bureau issued the following documents to supplement the information in the federal regulations and provide additional guidance and assistance to state and tribal title IV-E agencies in developing, implementing, and maintaining their AFCAR Systems.
Technical bulletins, software utilities, Federal Information Processing Standards Codes, and Disability/Special Needs Code Table.