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Data Reliability Audit Requirements for the Fiscal Year 2006 Reporting Period

DCL-06-29

Published: September 8, 2006
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
Program Audit, Federal Reporting, OCSE-157 Annual Data Report
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL)
Tags:
Data Reliability

DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER

DCL-06-29

ATTACHMENT: FY2006 Audit Trail Specifications

DATE: September 8, 2006

TO: ALL STATE IV-D DIRECTORS

RE: Data Reliability Audit Requirements for the Fiscal Year 2006 Reporting Period

Dear Colleague:

Attached to this letter are the data submission requirements for the Federal fiscal year 2006 Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) data reliability audits, as required by Section 452 (a)(4)(C)(i) of Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act. Although the required submissions are not due until January 16, 2007, we are providing the specifications as early as possible to assist States that may need the extra time to coordinate and schedule these needs with their Information Technology Departments.

These data submission requirements now also address medical support-related data that States are required to report on Lines 2e, 21 and 21a of the OCSE-157, as required by OCSE-AT-05-09, “The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Annual Data Report: Form OCSE 157,” dated September 6, 2005. These data will be used in the development of the proposed medical support establishment and enforcement performance indicators addressed in the National Child Support Enforcement Strategic Plan for Federal Fiscal Years 2005 through 2009. Since medical support performance indicators are not currently part of the incentive payment system, we will audit medical support data for management purposes only.

Because of the medical support requirements and the changes, primarily to the paternity lines, resulting from the implementation of the revised OCSE-157, we are, for this year only, going to audit the medical support and paternity data for each State. This will cause States that would normally be subject to a Data Reliability Review (DRR) to undergo a “Modified Data Reliability Audit” (MDR). Under the MDR, we will audit Lines 1, 2, 5 and 6, or 8 and 9, in addition to the medical support Lines 2e, 21 and 21a. We will also conduct the analytical procedures on Lines 24, 25, 28 and 29 that we would normally do in a DRR.

Additionally, we have revised the data submission requirements for the Child Support System Universe to delete the “CP SSN” and “NCP SSN” fields from the audit trails. We have made this change because or our determination that the custodial parents’ and non custodial parents’ social security numbers are not essential to conduct the DRA. The “State of Birth” field was also deleted from the audit trails for Lines 8 and 9 because it is no longer needed as a result of the revised OCSE-157 instructions.

As in prior years, the OCSE Office of Audit will continue to evaluate the completeness, reliability, security, and accuracy of performance indicator data reported by the States. This requires electronic files from each State that contain the complete child support case universe as of September 30, 2006, including all open IV-D cases, closed cases, and non IV-D cases and the audit trails for each line on the OCSE-157 used in the computation of performance indicators, as well as the medical support lines. The specifications for these files are attached. We encourage States to comply as closely as possible with these standard specifications because, like early submission, getting the data in a standard format expedites the audit work. Time spent validating data, querying, sampling and matching sampled records will be shortened considerably if the audit trails supporting the performance indicator data are submitted uniformly by all 54 States and Territories.

We encourage you to compile and submit your data to the appropriate Area Audit Office as soon as possible. Submissions are required for both Data Reliability Audits and Modified Data Reliability Audits. Early submission has a number of important benefits. It affords you the opportunity to review and make corrections to the OCSE-157 at any time prior to the December 31st reporting deadline. Any inconsistencies between the audit trails and the OCSE-157 that your staff can identify and correct prior to the audit should not only expedite the audit but also result in fewer reportable audit findings. Early submission also helps expedite the detailed audit work because many preliminary steps can be completed prior to January. Ultimately, an early start should result in more timely incentive payments and more time to correct data reliability problems for the subsequent audit period.

I urge all States not yet providing read-only systems access to the auditors to do so as soon as possible. Read-only remote access to a State’s child support system allows the Office of Audit to review sample cases in the data-testing phase of the audit more efficiently and effectively. It enables a better allocation of scarce resources and results in less disruption of State and local child support operations. Read-only access is a requirement detailed in the OCSE “Certification Review Guide” issued under Action Transmittal OCSE AT-00-07, dated August 28, 2000.

As in prior years, we are requesting that States that elect the Statewide Paternity Establishment Percentage (PEP) measured by Lines 8 and 9 also submit audit trails for Lines 5 and 6. The additional information should be of assistance to State officials continuing their deliberations on which paternity measure to elect: it will not be used for data reliability for States using the Statewide PEP. The audit trails will also enable us to continue the testing we began in prior years for inconsistencies between State Departments of Vital Statistics and IV-D caseload data. This testing is being performed for management purposes only, to help States improve the information received from State offices and not to measure compliance with the data reliability standard.

We hope that you will be able to provide us with the audit trails in the suggested format as early as possible and before the deadlines for data submission for the reasons previously identified. Again, you have until December 31, 2006, to submit the FY 2006 OCSE 157 report, and January 16, 2007 to provide the associated audit trails. Additionally, revised OCSE-157 reports for prior periods must also be received by December 31, 2006, and the associated audit trails by January 16, 2007. States that are submitting revised data from prior periods may want to refer to DCL-05-33, “Submittal of the 2005 OCSE 157 Report and Resubmission of FY 2004 Data Found to be Incomplete or Unreliable,” dated November 9, 2005, for more information on this topic. OCSE-157 reports for both the current and prior periods must be submitted to the OCSE Division of Planning, Research and Evaluation, while the audit trails must be provided to the appropriate Area Audit Office.

Your timely cooperation is greatly appreciated. Please feel free to consult with our audit staff if you have any questions or need our assistance as you work with systems staff to develop the audit trail file in the suggested format.

Sincerely,

Margot Bean
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

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