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State Administrative Errors 2018 - Legislative Report

Report to the Governor and the Legislature on Administrative Errors in Alternative Payment and General Child Care Programs for Fiscal Year 2017-18.
California Department of Education
Report to the Governor and the Legislature:
Administrative Errors in Alternative Payment and
General Child Care Programs for Fiscal Year 2017-18
Executive Summary

This report is submitted in compliance with Provision 4(b) of Item 6100-001-0890 of the Budget Act of 2017. 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 Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) Governance and Administration Unit (GAU) is responsible for conducting error rate reviews of approximately 75 Alternative Payment Program (APP) contractors and approximately 708 center-based program contractors. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017–18, 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 ELCD’s risk assessment categories. The estimated error rate as a percentage of total payments for all the reviewed APP contractors for FY 2017–18 is 5.95 percent (see FY 2017–18, Appendix A, B, and C). The same APP contractors had a prior estimated averaged error rate of 6.14 percent (see Appendix C). The APP contractors’ low average error rate may be attributed to the contractors’ implementation of their respective Error Rate Reduction Plans and ELCD trainings and technical assistance (TA), which contractors received in clusters and/or in a one-on-one session.

The center-based contractors receiving baseline reviews by the GAU had an estimated error rate of 9.88 percent (see FY 2017–18, Appendix D and E). The CDE predicts that over time, these reviews will yield a reduction in center-based error rates similar to the reduction in APP error rates. We anticipate substantial reductions in error rates when these same contractors receive TA and follow-up reviews. Overall, substantial reductions in error rates have been due to contractors receiving targeted and ongoing TA. The ultimate goal is to reduce 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 TA and training have 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 ELCD will need additional staff in the GAU to respond to the recent growth of contracting agencies entering the system.

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 2017-18 Legislative Report (DOCX)

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

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 04, 2020
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