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State Administrative Errors 2017 - Legislative Report

Report to the Governor and the Legislature on Administrative Errors in Alternative Payment, CalWORKs, and General Child Care Programs for Fiscal Year 2016-17.
California Department of Education
Report to the Governor and the Legislature:
Administrative Errors in Alternative Payment, CalWORKs,
and General Child Care Programs for Fiscal Year 2016-17
Executive Summary

This report is submitted in compliance with Provision 4(b) of Item 6100-001-0890 of the Budget Act of 2016. Provision 4(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 to analyze these sample files to estimate rates of administrative errors in four different categories: (1) eligibility, (2) need, (3) family fee, and (4) provider reimbursement. Provision 4(b) also requires the CDE to report the estimated error rates annually to the Governor and the Legislature. In implementing Provision 4(b), the CDE used federal regulations for Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act as guidance.

As required by Provision 4(b), the CDE created the Alternative Payment Monitoring Unit (APMU) in 2006. The APMU had six staff members and was responsible for conducting error rate reviews of approximately 75 Alternative Payment Program (APP) contractors. The Center-based Monitoring Unit (CMU) was created in 2009 in response to federal regulations extending error rate requirements to full-day centers. The CMU had five staff members and was responsible for conducting error rate reviews of approximately 708 center-based program contractors. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015–16, the CDE’s Early Education and Support Division (EESD) reorganized and merged the APMU and CMU to create the Governance and Administration Unit (GAU). The GAU is responsible for conducting all error rate reviews.

In FY 2016–17, the GAU continued to focus on baseline reviews of center-based and alternative payment contractors that have not been reviewed in five years and/or those that fell under one or more of the CDE EESD’s risk assessment categories. The estimated error rate as a percentage of total payments for all the reviewed APP contractors for FY 2016–17 is 6.84 percent (see FY 2016–17, Appendix A, B, and C). Prior to FY 2016–17, the APP contractors had an average estimated error rate of 13.13 percent (see FY 2015–16, Appendix C). For full-day center-based contractors, the baseline error rate is 19.85 percent (see FY 2016–17, Appendix D and E). The APP contractors’ low average error rate may be attributed to the contractors’ implementation of their respective Error Rate Reduction Plans and EESD trainings and technical assistance, which contractors received in clusters and/or in a one-on-one session.

For the center-based contractors’ baseline reviews error rate, as projected in previous legislative reports, the CDE expects that, over time, the GAU reviews will continue to yield a reduced error rate similar to the reduction in the APP contractors’ error rate.

Substantial reductions in error rates have been due to contractors receiving targeted technical assistance with the goal of reducing errors by providing trainings, guidance on the implementation or enhancement of a quality assurance system, best practice ideas, and measuring progress by conducting follow-up reviews after technical assistance and training has been provided. For the CDE to continue to fully accomplish its goal of reducing the center-based contractors’ error rate to a level similar to that of the APP contractors’ error rate, the EESD will need additional staff in the GAU.

The CDE conducts both state and federal reviews and notes the findings of administrative errors. An administrative error does not indicate that a family was factually ineligible or received services for which the family was not entitled. Frequently, errors indicate there was insufficient evidence in the file to support the decisions made by the contractor.

Administrative Errors in Alternative Payment, CalWORKs and General Child Care Programs for Fiscal Year 2016-17 Legislative Report (DOCX)

For questions about the report or to request a copy, please contact Lisa Velarde, Administrator, Field Services Office B, CDE EESD, by phone at 916-324-6164 or by e‑mail at

Questions:   Early Education and Support Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 3, 2018
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