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Technical Bulletin #4r-v3, reviewed August 2014

ACF-801 Case-Level File Format

Published: August 12, 2014
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 guidance reflecting changes made to the ACF-801 report announced in April 2012. Footnotes are now required for Element #28 (Hours), Element #34 (QRIS rating), and Element #37 (Other State-defined quality measure).The Office of Child Care has indicated that each State/Territory is expected to report on at least one of the quality elements for at least a portion of the provider population. Note: Please refer to Technical Bulletin #3 for guidance on the 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.