Administrative Data on Federal Policies and Programs that Support Young Children with Disabilities: Resource Guide for Researchers

Publication Date: March 4, 2021
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  • Published: 2021

Introduction

This resource guide provides information for researchers about administrative data collected on federal policies and programs that (in whole or part) support young children with disabilities.

Three datasets are highlighted in this resource guide:

  • Head Start Program Information Report, or PIR, collected by the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Section 618 data from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), collected by the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education
  • ACF-801 case-level data collected as part of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), collected by the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Purpose

We summarize various features of these data, including the timing of data collection, level of data (that is, at the child level, program level, or state level), key variables related to children with disabilities, and data archiving and availability (i.e., which government funding years [FY] the information was collected, and location). We also include limitations of the datasets and contact information for federal agency staff in charge of the data.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Head Start Program Information Report (PIR): The Program Information Report (PIR) is an administrative data source from the Office of Head Start. Annual reports are from Head Start grantees, which include Head Start, Early Head Start, American Indian/Alaska Native Head Start, and Migrant/Seasonal Head Start. Head Start provides early childhood development services to expectant families, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers through federal funds granted to local organizations. As part of its mission, Head Start reserves 10 percent of its slots for children with disabilities. In the PIR, it is important to note that Head Start uses the IDEA definition of disability, and therefore, the numbers and percentages of children with disabilities in the PIR dataset are also reflected in IDEA data described below.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Section 618: Section 618 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that each state submit data about the infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, who receive early intervention services under Part C of IDEA and children with disabilities, ages 3 through 21, who receive special education and related services under Part B of IDEA. Section 618 data are collected by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to meet statutory requirements of Section 618 of IDEA. The data monitor each state’s implementation of IDEA, a federal law that ensures appropriate education for children with disabilities. Data are also used to report on IDEA’s implementation to Congress and the public, and used by OSEP to determine priorities for funding technical assistance and monitoring. Data are reported by 60 states and entities that receive IDEA Part B formula grants and 56 states and entities that receive IDEA Part C formula grants.
  • ACF-801: Child Care & Development Fund (CCDF): The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), part of the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG), is issued to states to fund child care subsidies for families whose income is below the state median income level.  The Office of Child Care (OCC) collects case-level (e.g., family-level) and aggregate data that describe families and children receiving CCDF services, the settings in which children are served, and the providers serving the children. States have the choice of reporting these data to OCC every month or quarter, and can report full-population or sample data. OCC publishes average monthly statistics based on a federal fiscal year (FFY), and these reports provide state and national data adjusted to only reflect families and children served with CCDF funds.

Methods

The research team summarized information about each dataset from information provided on federal agency websites, as well as information that was presented by federal agency staff on a webinar of the Children with Disabilities Workgroup that occurred in January 2020. The workgroup is sponsored under the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Analysis (CCEEPRA) contract.

Glossary

ACF:
Administration for Children and Families
CCDF:
Child Care and Development Fund
CCDBG:
Child Care and Development Block grant
IDEA:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
FY:
Fiscal Year
OCC:
Office of Child Care
OHS:
Office of Head Start
OSEP:
Office of Special Education Programs
PIR:
Program Information Report