California Department of Education
Report to the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee
Director of the Department of Finance:
Description of Cases with Errors from Federal Sample as Required by the
2010 Budget Act Item 6110-001-0890, Provision 6(c)
This report is submitted to comply with the directions in Provision 6(c) of Item 6110-001-0001 of the Budget Act of 2010 (Senate Bill 870, Chapter 712, Statutes of 2010). Provision 6(c) requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to submit a report to the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the Director of Finance describing each case found to contain an error in the federal report submitted earlier this year. As directed by the provisional language, this report describes:
- The circumstances or lack of documentation that led to the error;
- The documentation that should have been in the file or the steps that should have been taken by the local agency to avoid the error;
- The program rule that was not adhered to; and
- A description of whether the error was an over-payment or under-payment, and the amount.
The federal report was submitted in April 2011 to the Child Care Office of the Administration for Children and Families. The report estimates CDE’s error rate at 5.7 percent. In this report each case with an error is identified in order in the federal sample of 276 cases. There are thirty cases described in this report. The most common error, found in sixteen cases, involves the miscalculation of the family’s fee. These errors appear to be randomly divided between over-payments and under-payments. While the value of each family fee error is relatively small, the frequency of this error accounts for a significant portion of the administrative inaccuracy in California’s system.
In evaluating this error, we note that California’s system for calculating family fees is more complicated than systems used by other states. California bases the monthly fee on each family’s income and the amount of services used by the child. Therefore, for a family’s whose days of service change, a new fee calculation must occur every month.
The second most frequent error was not recertifying the family on time (3 files) and not updating the file with new documentation when the parents’ circumstances change (5 files). In these files, there was sufficient documentation to establish that the family was initially eligible for services; however, there was insufficient attention to documenting the family’s continuing eligibility. In these files, when each family’s information was belatedly updated, the family was found eligible.
Of the remaining files, three contained insufficient documentation of the relationship between the child and the parent; three contained insufficient documentation to establish initial eligibility or need; and one was a provider payment error.
Report to the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and Director of the Department of Finance: Description of Cases with Errors from Federal Sample as Required by the 2010 Budget Act Item 6110-001-0890, Provision 6(c)
If you have any questions regarding this report, please contact the Northern Field Services Office Administrator by phone at 916-324-6164.