AFCARS Technical Bulletins

The Children’s Bureau develops technical bulletins (TBs) to supplement official guidance and assist states and tribes in implementing child welfare policies and practices. Below are the current Technical Bulletins to supplement AFCARS 1993 reporting, under which title IV-E agencies report through September 30, 2022, and AFCARS 2020 reporting, based on the AFCARS Final Rule published May 12, 2020 (85 FR 28410 Visit disclaimer page ) .

AFCARS 2020

Technical Bulletin #20: Data Elements for Out-of-Home Care & Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Data Files - This TB gives reporting instructions and provides examples for the AFCARS 2020 out-of-home care and adoption and guardianship assistance data elements.

Technical Bulletin 21: XML File Structure & Encryption - This TB provides agencies with information required to create the AFCARS data files.  It provides technical specifications on the structural layout of the XML data and shares the XML schema for the files.  It also covers information on encryption of the file records.

AFCARS 1993

Technical Bulletin #1 - Data Elements - This TB provides overview information on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) foster care and adoption data elements.

Technical Bulletin #2 - Disability Information - This TB provides title IV-E agencies with information on how to correctly map certain diagnosed conditions from an agency's information system to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS).

Technical Bulletin #3 - Frequency Report - This TB provides information on how to interpret the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) frequency report and how to install and execute the AFCARS Frequency Report Utility, Version 2.1.

Technical Bulletin #4 - Data Compliance - This TB provides guidance on the standards used to determine compliance on the semi-annual Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data files.

Technical Bulletin #5A - Data Quality - This TB provides information to title IV-E agencies on how to interpret the data quality reports generated by the Federal AFCAR System on each semi-annual AFCARS data submission.

Technical Bulletin #5B - Data Quality Utility, Version 2.1 - This TB is intended to give a more technical description of how the Data Quality Utility works.

Technical Bulletin #6 - Data Extraction - This TB addresses the extraction of data for submission to the Federal Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS).

Technical Bulletin #7 - Encryption Guidelines and Algorithms - This TB provides title IV-E agencies with guidance in encrypting record numbers in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data file submissions.

Technical Bulletin #8 - AFCARS Encryption/Decryption Utility: C Version 2.1 - This TB provides guidance for installing and executing the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Encryption/Decryption Utility.

Technical Bulletin #9 - Data File Format - This TB supplements information in 45 CFR 1355.40, and the Appendices to Part 1355 by providing additional guidance on the AFCARS file format and the proper naming convention to be used for AFCARS files.

Technical Bulletin #10 - Footnote Guidance - This TB provides information on the types of information that title IV-E agencies may wish to include in explaining their Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data and provides the format for submitting footnotes.

Technical Bulletin #11 - Electronic Data Transmission - This TB provides information on the Children’s Bureau’s electronic data transfer (EDT) protocols for the transmission of AFCARS data files by title IV-E agencies.

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