U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 18, 2022
(a) Files subject to compliance. ACF will evaluate the out-of-home care and adoption and guardianship assistance data files that a title IV-E agency submits to determine whether the data complies with the requirements of § 1355.43 and the data file submission and data quality standards described in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. ACF will exempt records related to a child in either data file whose 18th birthday occurred in a prior report period and will exempt records relating to a child in the adoption and guardianship assistance data file who is in a title IV-E guardianship from a compliance determination as described in paragraph (e) of this section.
(b) Errors. ACF will utilize the error definitions in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section to assess a title IV-E agency's out-of-home care and adoption and guardianship assistance data files. This assessment of errors will help ACF to determine if the title IV-E agency's submitted data files meet the data file submission and data quality standards outlined in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. ACF will develop and issue error specifications.
(2) Invalid data. Invalid data refers to instances in which a data element contains a value that is outside the parameters of acceptable responses or exceeds, either positively or negatively, the acceptable range of response options as described in §§ 1355.44 or 1355.45.
(3) Internally inconsistent data. Internally inconsistent data refers to instances in which a data element fails an internal consistency check designed to validate the logical relationship between data elements within each record. This assessment will identify all data elements involved in a particular check as in error.
(4) Cross-file errors. A cross-file error occurs when a cross-file check determines that a response option for a data element recurs across the records in either the out-of-home care data file or adoption and guardianship assistance data file beyond a specified acceptable threshold as specified per ACF.
(5) Tardy transactions. Tardy transactions are instances in which the removal transaction date or exit transaction date described in § 1355.44(d)(2) and (g)(2) respectively, are entered into the title IV-E agency's information system more than 30 days after the event.
(c) Data file standards. To be in compliance with the AFCARS requirements, the title IV-E agency must submit a data file in accordance with the data file standards described in paragraphs (c)(1) through (3) of this section.
(1) Timely submission. ACF must receive the data files on or before the reporting deadline described in § 1355.43(a).
(2) Proper format. The data files must meet the technical standards issued by ACF for data file construction and transmission. In addition, each record subject to compliance standards within the data file must have the data elements described in §§ 1355.44(a) and (b)(1) and (2) and 1355.45(a) and (b)(1) and (2) be 100 percent free of missing data, invalid data, and internally inconsistent data (see paragraphs (b)(1) through (3) of this section). ACF will not process a title IV-E agency's data file that does not meet the proper format standard.
(d) Data quality standards. (1) To be in compliance with the AFCARS requirements, the title IV-E agency must submit a data file that has no more than 10 percent total of missing, invalid, or internally inconsistent data, or tardy transactions for each data element of applicable records. These standards are in addition to the formatting standards described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.
(2) Acceptable cross-file. The data files must be free of cross-file errors that exceed the acceptable thresholds, as defined by ACF.
(e) Compliance determination and corrected data. (1) ACF will first determine whether the title IV-E agency's out-of-home care data file and adoption and guardianship assistance data file meets the data file standards in paragraph (c) of this section. Compliance is determined separately for each data file.
(2) If each data file meets the data file standards, ACF will then determine whether each data file meets the data quality standards in paragraph (d) of this section. For every data element, we will divide the total number of applicable records in error (numerator) by the total number of applicable records (denominator), to determine whether the title IV-E agency has met the applicable data quality standards.
(3) In general, a title IV-E agency that has not met either the data file formatting standards or data quality standards must submit a corrected data file(s) no later than when data is due for the subsequent six month report period (i.e., by May 15 and November 14), as applicable. ACF will determine that the corrected data file(s) is in compliance if it meets the data file and data standards in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section. Exception: If ACF determines initially that the title IV-E agency's data file has not met the data quality standard related to tardy transactions, ACF will determine compliance with regard to the transaction dates only in the out-of-home care data file submitted for the subsequent report period.
(f) Noncompliance. If the title IV-E agency does not submit a corrected data file, or submits a corrected data file that fails to meet the compliance standards in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, ACF will notify the title IV-E agency of such and apply penalties as provided in § 1355.47.