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Technical Bulletin #4r-v3, reviewed June 2013

ACF-801 Case-Level File Format

Published: June 25, 2013
Technical Assistance
Current Guidance, States/Territories
Technical Bulletins


This Technical Bulletin describes the requirements for formatting the ACF-801 data submission file. These formatting guidelines should be followed by all States and Territories when creating the file for electronic submission to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). All questions about the file format should be directed to the National Center on Data and Technology (NCDT). This Technical Bulletin provides new guidance reflecting changes made to the ACF-801 report announced in April 2012. New footnotes are required for Element #28 (Hours), Element #34 (QRIS rating), and Element #37 (Other State-defined quality measure). New elements related to provider quality are required beginning with the report for October 2013 services. All States and Territories will have to make changes to their file format to meet the new reporting requirements for the ACF-801 report regardless of which or how many of the new quality elements a State/Territory reports.  The Office of Child Care has indicated that each State/Territory is expected to report on at least one of the new quality elements for at least a portion of the provider population. Note: Please refer to Technical Bulletin #3 for guidance on the new reporting requirements.

When submitting the required ACF-801 report, States and Territories have the option to submit either a sample or the complete population of children receiving federal child care subsidies. CCDF grantees also have the option to submit data monthly or quarterly (3 months at once).  Regardless of whether the State submits a sample or the full population, or chooses to submit data monthly or quarterly, the guidelines in this bulletin apply.

The remainder of this document contains four sections:

  • Section II offers an overview of the ACF-801 report format;
  • Section III gives detailed guidance for formatting the summary and case-level records; 
  • Section IV provides guidance for States/Territories that may be unable to submit data in a variable record length; and 
  • Section V provides resources for additional assistance.