California Department of Education
Annual Report to the Governor, the Legislature,
the Joint Legislative Budget Committee:
Administrative Errors in Alternative Payment, CalWORKs,
and General Child Care Programs for Fiscal Year 2010–11
This report is submitted in compliance with Provision 6(b) of Item 6110-001-0890 of the Budget Act of 2010. Provision 6(b) requires the California Department of Education(CDE) to select a statistically valid sample of family data files from contractors offering full-day child care and development programs and analyze these sample files to estimate rates of administrative errors in four different categories (eligibility, need, family fee, and reimbursement). Provision 6(b) requires the CDE to report estimated error rates annually to the Legislature and the Governor. In implementing Provision 6(b), the CDE also used federal regulations implementing the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA) as guidance.
The CDE created the Alternative Payment Monitoring Unit (APMU) in 2006 and the Center-Based Monitoring Unit (CMU) in 2009 to conduct the reviews required by Provision 6(b). Because the APMU has previously reviewed each of California’s Alternative Payment contractors at least once, the APMU only conducted follow-up reviews in 2010–11. Contractors were selected for APMU reviews based on their prior error rate. In 2010–11, the recently created CMU conducted initial reviews of center-based contractors. Contractors were selected for initial reviews based on their size and compliance history.
The contractors reviewed by the APMU during 2010–11 had an average estimated error rate of 10.1 percent, compared to the average error rate previously estimated for these same contractors of 57.8 percent. This decrease is consistent with reductions in error rates estimated during fiscal year 2009–10 and with the significant reduction in the statewide error rate estimated by the 2010 federal review.
The contractors receiving initial reviews by the CMU averaged an estimated error rate of 32.3 percent. The CDE believes that over time the CMU reviews will produce a reduction in center-based error rates similar to the reduction in Alternative Payment error rates achieved by the APMU. We anticipate substantial reductions in error rates when these same contractors receive technical assistance and follow-up reviews.
In conducting both state and federal reviews, the CDE notes that the finding of an administrative error does not indicate that a family was factually ineligible or received services they were not entitled to. Frequently, errors indicate only that insufficient evidence was present in the file to support the decisions made by the contractor.
If you need a copy of this report, please contact Greg Hudson, Administrator, Southern Field Services, by phone at 916-323-1300 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.