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Overview of Case-Level Reporting for States and Territories (ACF-801)

Published: September 17, 2012

Congress conceived the national data collection that is now known as the ACF-801 during welfare reform deliberations in 1996. When Congress created the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, it also created the requirement that case-level data on families receiving CCDF services be collected on a monthly basis1. States and Territories were charged with submitting specific information so that Congress would have some empirical basis for assessing the new program. Although "ACF-801" is actually only a number that the Office of Management and Budget assigned to the data collection form that the Administration on Children and Families designed to meet the statutory reporting requirements, today the term is used to describe the entire reporting system for case-level CCDF data.

The ACF-801 case-level data is collected monthly and reported either monthly or quarterly. Quarterly data is reported 60 days after the end of each quarter and monthly data is due 90 days after the reported month. All lead agencies in the States, the District of Columbia, and Territories (including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands) are responsible for collecting and reporting ACF-801 data.

The collection of case-level data has occurred since April 1998 with the first case-level report (ACF-801) submitted by August 31, 1998. States and Territories submit their records electronically, monthly or quarterly, to the Office of Child Care via secure electronic transfer.

The Office of Child Care Information System (CCBIS) allows states to submit either a full population or a small (approximately 200 families) monthly sample of subsidized child care recipients each month (Form ACF-801) and population values for all families and children in care annually (ACF-800) for Federal reporting purposes.
States are encouraged to develop quality child care reporting systems that provide sufficient flexibility to produce both required reports to Congress and a variety of analyses needed to continually improve child care policy and practice at local, statewide and national levels.

Data from the reports will be reported to Congress every two years. Additionally, the data will be used in a variety of tables and charts to assist in addressing national child care needs, performance measures, and in providing technical assistance to improve the quality of child care for low-income families. Data will be aggregated into tables and made available to the public through the Office of Child Care's Internet web site (CCDF Data and Tables).

Data from the data reports sent by the States and Territories will be used for research to provide a summary and analysis of the status of child care in the United States, which the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services is required to report biennially to Congress2 under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA)3. The findings will be used in the aggregate solely for research purposes, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 19744.

The ACF-801 is a collaborative effort, between the States and Territories and the Federal Government.This data collection is required by Sec. 658K of the Child Care Development Block Grant Act. Program information that is collected and reported at the case-level, is processed and compiled by the CCBIS where it is aggregated into a variety of reports that can be immediately accessed on local, statewide and national levels. This information becomes the National Child Care Database and tells the story of low-income families receiving Child Care subsidies.

1The data collection is required by Sec. 658K of the Child Care Development Block Grant Act as amended by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 modified this report collection.
242 USC 9858j.
3 Public Law 104-193.
4For implementing the verification requirements mandated by Title IV of Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, only the citizenship and immigration status of the child, who is the primary beneficiary of the child care benefit is relevant for eligibility purposes."