[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 154 (Tuesday, August 11, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 48200-48229]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-19087]



[[Page 48199]]

Vol. 80

Tuesday,

No. 154

August 11, 2015

Part IV





Department of Health and Human Services





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Administration for Children and Families





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45 CFR Part 95

45 CFR Parts 1355 and 1356





Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 80 , No. 154 / Tuesday, August 11, 2015 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families

45 CFR Part 95

45 CFR Parts 1355 and 1356

RIN 0970-AC59


Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System

AGENCY: Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), 
Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health 
and Human Services (HHS).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The Administration for Children and Families proposes to 
revise the Statewide and Tribal Automated Child Welfare Information 
System regulations. This proposed rule will remove the requirement for 
a single comprehensive system and allow title IV-E agencies to 
implement systems that support current child welfare practice. It also 
proposes to establish requirements around design, data quality, and 
data exchange standards in addition to aligning these regulations with 
current and emerging technology developments to support the 
administration of title IV-E and IV-B programs under the Social 
Security Act.

DATES: Written comments on this NPRM must be received on or before 
October 13, 2015 to be considered.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments electronically via the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov. We urge you to submit comments 
electronically to ensure they are received in a timely manner. An 
electronic version of the NPRM is available for download on http://www.regulations.gov. Interested persons may submit written comments 
regarding this NPRM via regular postal mail to Terry Watt, Director, 
Division of State Systems, Children's Bureau, Administration on 
Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, 
1250 Maryland Avenue SW., 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20024. If you 
choose to use an express, overnight, or other special delivery method, 
please ensure that the carrier will deliver to the above address Monday 
through Friday during the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding 
holidays.
    Comments should be specific, address issues raised by the proposed 
rule, propose alternatives where appropriate, explain reasons for any 
objections or recommended changes, and reference the specific section 
of the proposed rule that is being addressed. All comments received 
before the close of the comment period are available for viewing by the 
public. Although commenters should include contact information in any 
correspondence, the comments themselves should not include personally 
identifiable information or confidential business or financial 
information as we post all submitted comments without change to http://www.regulations.gov. Comments will also be available for public 
inspection Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the above 
address by contacting Terry Watt at (202) 690-8177.
    We will not acknowledge receipt of the comments we receive. 
However, we will review and consider all comments that are germane and 
are received during the comment period. We will respond to these 
comments in the preamble of the final rule.
    Comments that concern information collection requirements must be 
sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at the address listed 
in the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) section of this preamble. A copy 
of these comments also may be sent to the Department representative 
listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Watt, Director, Division of 
State Systems, Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth, 
and Families, (202) 690-8177 or by email at Terry.Watt@acf.hhs.gov. Do 
not email comments on the NPRM to this address.
    Deaf and hearing impaired individuals may call the Federal Dual 
Party Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern 
Time.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The preamble to the NPRM is organized as 
follows:

I. Executive Summary per Executive Order 13563
II. Background on the Statewide and Tribal Automated Child Welfare 
Information System
III. Statutory Authority
IV. Consultation and Regulation Development
V. Overview of Major Proposed Revisions
VI. Section-by-Section Discussion of the NPRM
VII. Impact Analysis

I. Executive Summary per Executive Order 13563

Purpose of the NPRM

The Need for Regulatory Action and How the Action Will Meet That Need
    The Statewide Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) regulations 
published in 1993 provided states with enhanced funding to build a 
single comprehensive system supporting all child welfare case 
management activities for public and private child welfare workers in 
the state. This was in response to 1993 amendments to the Social 
Security Act (the Act) which provided title IV-E funding for statewide 
automated child welfare information systems. In the intervening years, 
child welfare practice changed considerably. It became challenging for 
title IV-E agencies (as defined at 1355.20) to support practices that 
may vary within a jurisdiction with a single comprehensive information 
system. Additionally, information technology (IT) has advanced. The 
advancements in IT provide title IV-E agencies with tools to rapidly 
share data among systems supporting multiple health and human service 
programs with increased efficiency. To address these practice 
challenges and IT changes, and allow agencies to improve their systems, 
our proposal removes the requirement for a single comprehensive system 
and supports the use of improved technology to better support current 
child welfare practice. With this flexibility, title IV-E agencies can 
build less expensive modular systems that more closely mirror their 
practice models while supporting quality data. Furthermore, IT tools 
now can be effectively scaled to support smaller jurisdictions such as 
federally-recognized Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and tribal 
consortia (tribes) at a reasonable cost.
    Consistent with changes in child welfare practice and advancements 
in IT, section 6 of the President's Executive Order 13563 of January 
18, 2011, called for retrospective analyses of existing rules ``that 
may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, 
and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with 
what has been learned.'' As such, we placed the SACWIS regulations on 
the list of Administration for Children and Families (ACF) regulations 
to retrospectively review and determined that revising the SACWIS 
regulations would be in keeping with Executive Order 13563.

[[Page 48201]]

Statutory Authority for the NPRM
    The statute at 42 U.S.C. 674(a)(3)(C) and (D) provides the 
authority for title IV-E funding for the planning, design, development, 
installation, and operation of a data collection and information 
retrieval system and the requirements a title IV-E agency must meet to 
receive federal financial participation (FFP). The statute at 42 U.S.C. 
674(c) further specifies the expenditures eligible for FFP.
Summary of the Major Provisions of the NPRM
    This rule proposes requirements for Comprehensive Child Welfare 
Information Systems (CCWIS). The primary changes to the current 
regulations are: (1) Providing title IV-E agencies with flexibility to 
determine the size, scope, and functionality of their information 
system; (2) allowing the CCWIS to obtain data required by this proposed 
rule from external information systems so that a copy of that data is 
then stored and managed in the CCWIS; (3) emphasizing data quality and 
requiring a new data quality plan; (4) requiring additional bi-
directional data exchanges, and use of electronic data exchange 
standards that strengthen program integrity; and (5) promoting more 
efficient and less expensive development of reliable systems, that 
follow industry design standards, including development of independent, 
reusable modules. Because these changes permit title IV-E agencies to 
build systems fundamentally different from current Statewide and Tribal 
Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (S/TACWIS), we propose a 
new name for systems meeting the proposed requirements: Comprehensive 
Child Welfare Information Systems (CCWIS).
    Complete, timely, and accurate data supports the goals of child 
safety, wellbeing, and permanency. Data informs actions and guides 
decisions at all levels of the agency. Workers use data to manage 
cases, monitor services, and assess client progress while supervisors 
and administrators use it to monitor and direct work, manage resources, 
evaluate program effectiveness, control costs, and estimate funding 
needs.
    To support the collection, management, and dissemination of high 
quality data, the proposed rule requires CCWIS to maintain (store and 
manage) certain required data for federal reporting and produce all 
required title IV-E agency reports. To meet this expectation, external 
information systems that collect required data must electronically 
share data with CCWIS so that a copy of the required data is then 
maintained in CCWIS. In addition, title IV-E agencies must also develop 
and maintain a comprehensive data quality plan to ensure that the title 
IV-E agency and ``child welfare contributing agencies'' (as defined in 
proposed Sec.  1355.51) coordinate to support complete, timely, 
accurate, and consistent data. As part of the data quality plan, we 
propose to require that the title IV-E agency actively monitor and 
manage data quality. This proposal also requires a CCWIS to include new 
bi-directional data exchanges. We propose to require bi-directional 
data exchanges with any systems used by child welfare contributing 
agencies for child welfare case management activities. We also propose, 
where practicable, bi-directional data exchanges with other systems 
such as court systems, education systems, and Medicaid claims systems. 
We propose to require the use of electronic data exchange standards 
that strengthen program integrity.
    The proposed rule would provide title IV-E agencies with 
flexibility to build systems that align more closely to their business 
needs and practices by allowing each agency to determine the size, 
scope, and functionality of their information system. Finally, we 
prioritize more efficient and less expensive development of systems 
that follow industry design standards, including development of 
independent, reusable modules. These provisions allow title IV-E 
agencies to customize CCWIS to efficiently, economically, and 
effectively provide the high quality data needed to support child 
welfare goals.
Costs and Benefits
    Changes in this proposed rule directly benefit state and tribal 
title IV-E agencies. Specifically, we propose to allow title IV-E 
agencies to tailor CCWIS to their administrative, programmatic, and 
technical environments to meet their own business needs. The proposed 
system interoperability and bi-directional data exchange requirements 
allow a CCWIS to use and benefit from data collected or produced by 
other systems. By proposing similar design requirements as promulgated 
by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the proposal 
encourages sharing system modules both within and across health and 
human service programs, which provides savings opportunities for all 
participating partners. These requirements may also benefit title IV-E 
agencies by yielding cost savings in the long term.
    The proposed regulations minimize burden on title IV-E agencies, 
including tribal title IV-E agencies, by providing flexibility when 
designing systems. In particular, title IV-E agencies have the 
flexibility to leverage the investment made in existing S/TACWIS and 
non-S/TACWIS systems and to determine the size, scope, and 
functionality included in their CCWIS system. Therefore, this proposal 
allows title IV-E agencies to implement systems in a manner that does 
not impose a large burden or costs on the state or tribal agency. 
Implementing a CCWIS is voluntary, therefore any costs resulting from 
implementing new or modified systems are the result of choices title 
IV-E agencies make when implementing requirements in this proposed 
rule. We have determined that costs to title IV-E agencies as a result 
of this rule will not be significant and the benefits and potential 
cost savings justify costs associated with this proposed rule.

II. Background on the Statewide and Tribal Automated Child Welfare 
Information System

    ACF published the existing regulations at 45 CFR 1355.50 through 
1355.57 in December 1993 in response to statutory amendments to title 
IV-E to provide 75 percent title IV-E funding for federal fiscal years 
1994 through 1996. This funding was made available for costs related to 
planning, design, development, and installation of statewide automated 
child welfare information systems. The legislation also provided an 
enhanced cost allocation to states so that title IV-E would absorb 
SACWIS costs to support foster and adopted children, regardless of 
their eligibility for title IV-E funding. Public Law 104-193, the 
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 
extended the 75 percent enhanced funding through fiscal year 1997. 
Congress did not extend enhanced funding after 1997. As such, the 
current funding level is 50 percent for systems described in 
474(a)(3)(C) of the Act, that:
     Meet the requirements for an Adoption and Foster Care 
Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS);
     Interface with the state child abuse and neglect automated 
systems to the extent practicable;
     Interface with and retrieve information from a state's 
automated title IV-A system, to the extent practicable; and
     Provide more efficient, economical and effective 
administration of title IV-B and IV-E programs.
    Prior to the passage of Public Law 104-193, which authorized 
SACWIS,

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ACF established a ten-state workgroup in early 1993 to identify 
features that a comprehensive child welfare information system should 
provide to support child welfare practice and program administration. 
ACF considered the workgroup's recommendations as it drafted and 
promulgated the 1993 SACWIS regulations.
    The 1993 regulations were amended in 2012 to include tribes. These 
current regulations provide title IV-E agencies with the option to 
implement a S/TACWIS. If a title IV-E agency elects to implement a S/
TACWIS, the system must be a comprehensive automated case management 
tool that meets the needs of all staff (including case workers and 
their supervisors, whether employed by the state, tribe, county or 
contracted private providers) involved in foster care and adoptions 
assistance case management. The S/TACWIS must be the sole automated 
child welfare case management tool used by staff. Staff must enter all 
case management information into S/TACWIS so that it holds the title 
IV-E agency's ``official case record''--a complete, current, accurate, 
and unified case management history on all children and families 
serviced by the agency. Currently the system must support the reporting 
of AFCARS, the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), and the 
National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) data sets. The 
system must have bi-directional electronic data exchanges with systems 
supporting the title IV-A, title IV-D, and title XIX programs. S/TACWIS 
must also exchange data with the system supporting child abuse and 
neglect reporting and investigations, although agencies may meet this 
requirement by integrating these functions into the system. S/TACWIS 
must also collect and manage the information needed to facilitate the 
delivery of child welfare support services, including family support 
and family preservation.
    On October 7, 2008, the President signed the Fostering Connections 
to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-351) 
(Fostering Connections) into law. Among many other provisions, 
Fostering Connections amended title IV-E of the Act to create an option 
for title IV-E agencies to provide kinship guardianship assistance 
payments, to extend eligibility for title IV-E payments up to age 21, 
to de-link adoption assistance from Aid to Families with Dependent 
Children (AFDC) financial eligibility rules over an eight-year period, 
and to provide certain tribes with the option to operate a title IV-E 
program directly. In response to Fostering Connections, ACF amended the 
SACWIS regulations in January 2012 to include tribes operating an 
approved title IV-E program. Through these amendments, the Tribal 
Automated Child Welfare Information System (TACWIS) became the 
designation for tribal systems meeting the requirements of Sec. Sec.  
1355.50 through 1355.57.

III. Statutory Authority

    This proposed regulation is being issued under the general 
authority of section 1102 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1302) 
which requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to publish 
regulations that may be necessary for the efficient administration of 
the functions for which she is responsible under the Act. The statute 
at 42 U.S.C. 674(a)(3)(C) and (D) provides the authority for title IV-E 
funding for the planning, design, development, installation, operation, 
and maintenance of a data collection and information retrieval system 
and the requirements a title IV-E agency must meet to receive federal 
financial participation (FFP). The statute at 42 U.S.C. 674(c) further 
specifies the expenditures eligible for FFP.

IV. Consultation and Regulation Development

    Starting in 2009, the Children's Bureau (CB) initiated a detailed 
analysis of the S/TACWIS regulations to assess if there was a need to 
change them to better utilize newer technology and support the changing 
child welfare program. Our analysis also considered whether 
modifications were necessary to address changing business practice 
models, including the expanded use of private case managers, and 
approaches to provide flexibility to title IV-E agencies in 
implementing child welfare systems.
    To inform our efforts in developing this NPRM we solicited ideas 
from the public through a Federal Register notice on July 23, 2010 (75 
FR 43188) (hereto referred to as the 2010 FR Notice).
    CB publicized the 2010 FR Notice through electronic mailing lists 
used routinely by this agency, and other communications channels with 
the child welfare and IT communities. We conducted a series of 
conference calls with interested stakeholder groups to discuss the 2010 
FR Notice, answer questions, and encourage the submission of comments. 
We conducted conference calls with state child welfare information 
system managers and program representatives, tribal child welfare 
representatives, private child welfare agencies, advocacy groups, and 
IT vendors. In response to the 2010 FR Notice and our outreach efforts, 
we received 48 comments from state child welfare agencies, private 
providers and provider associations, advocacy groups, IT vendors, 
tribes and tribal associations, a local public agency, a state's 
welfare directors' association, a state-level office of court 
administration, and a university research center.
    The comments we received offered thoughtful insights into the 
experience of states, tribes, and providers using various SACWIS 
applications. The following themes emerged from the comments:
     A S/TACWIS should serve as a central repository for child 
welfare data, with the content available to all users.
     Instead of describing S/TACWIS in functional terms, 
several commenters suggested that the federal regulations define 
expectations for required data elements.
     Commenters strongly supported an emphasis on data quality, 
consistency, and integrity.
     Commenters recommended a focus on data that addresses 
mandatory federal requirements, and those data elements used for 
federal reporting and reviews, as well as data needed for state and 
tribal operations and program management.
     Commenters suggested that data conforming to S/TACWIS 
standards and representing common data elements could be uploaded to a 
data repository from any source, whether a case management system used 
by a contracted services provider, or from an ancillary state or tribal 
system, thus eliminating the need to re-enter data into external 
systems.
     Recognizing that S/TACWIS technology approaches are nearly 
two decades old, multiple commenters suggested that new regulations 
allow the adoption of new and emerging technologies, and be written in 
such a way as to allow for the future adoption of new technologies for 
data entry, storage, access, and sharing.
     Commenters noted that requiring all users to use a single 
system did not encourage flexibility and innovation. Contracted private 
providers with different business processes cannot use proprietary 
systems designed to support those processes to manage child welfare 
case management, as the regulations require them to use S/TACWIS.
     Commenters expressed concern that a revised regulation 
would force them to build a new case management system. A number of 
states expressed a desire that any new regulations allow them to 
continue to use their existing system.

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    The full text of the public comments in response to the 2010 FR 
Notice is available for review at: http://www.regulations.gov.
    In the April 5, 2011 Federal Register, CB published a related 
notice entitled: ``Federal Monitoring of Child and Family Service 
Programs: Request for Public Comment and Consultation Meetings'' (76 FR 
18677) (hereto referred to as the 2011 FR Notice). The 2011 FR Notice 
included the following question relevant to our review of S/TACWIS 
regulations: ``What role should the child welfare case management 
information system or systems that states/tribes/local agencies use for 
case management or quality assurance purposes play in a federal 
monitoring process?''
    In response, some commenters noted that child welfare management 
information systems should play an important role in federal monitoring 
as they provide valuable quantitative data. However, other commenters 
cited data quality and integrity issues that could result in inaccurate 
data for baseline outcomes and measuring improvements. Commenters also 
observed that there could be a delay between changing child welfare 
practices and the system enhancements needed to support the changes. 
The full text of the public comments in response to the 2011 FR Notice 
is available for review at: http://www.regulations.gov.
    These proposed regulations address the comments regarding the 
critical role of flexibility in a child welfare information system that 
must provide quality data to support the federal effort to monitor 
child and family service programs.

V. Overview of Major Proposed Revisions

    The primary changes in this proposed rule are: (1) Providing title 
IV-E agencies with flexibility to determine the size, scope, and 
functionality of their information system; (2) allowing the CCWIS to 
obtain required data from external information systems so that a copy 
of that data is then stored and managed in the CCWIS; (3) emphasizing 
data quality and requiring a new data quality plan; (4) requiring new 
bi-directional data exchanges and use of electronic data exchange 
standards that strengthen program integrity; and (5) promoting more 
efficient and less expensive development of reliable systems that 
follow industry design standards including development of independent, 
reusable modules.
    First, we propose to provide title IV-E agencies with flexibility 
to build systems that align more closely to their business needs and 
practices by allowing each title IV-E agency to determine the size, 
scope, and functionality of their information system. This flexibility 
allows title IV-E agencies to design systems tailored to their 
administrative, programmatic, and technical environments. A title IV-E 
agency may transition a current system to CCWIS, become a non-CCWIS, or 
build a new CCWIS. The new CCWIS may: Contain all the functions 
required to collect and maintain CCWIS data (similar to a current S/
TACWIS), be little more than a data repository that collects and 
exchanges data captured in other systems, or fall somewhere in between 
these two extremes. This approach also accommodates different size 
states and tribes, as well as state agencies that are either state or 
county administered.
    Second, data may be obtained from external information systems so 
that a copy of that data is then stored and managed in CCWIS. Although 
this proposed rule requires CCWIS to maintain (store and manage) the 
required data, it allows the CCWIS to obtain required data that is 
captured in external information systems. This is an important change 
from S/TACWIS--because current rules require S/TACWIS to collect and 
maintain the data, i.e., the data must be entered directly into S/
TACWIS. The proposed NPRM also requires that CCWIS be the source of 
data for federally required and other agency reports. This includes on-
going federal reports such as AFCARS, NYTD, Title IV-E Programs 
Quarterly Financial Report (Form CB-496) and other ongoing reports 
needed by the federal, state or tribal agency. However, this 
requirement gives the IV-E agency flexibility to produce the federal 
report using data collected in CCWIS or data collected in other 
system(s) and then shared with CCWIS.
    Third, this proposal emphasizes data quality and requires a new 
data quality plan. We propose emphasizing data quality by requiring 
title IV-E agencies to develop and maintain a comprehensive data 
quality plan to monitor the title IV-E agency, and if applicable child 
welfare contributing agencies, system(s) and processes to support 
complete, timely, accurate, and consistent data. The IV-E agency must 
also actively monitor, manage, and enhance data quality. Improving data 
quality is vital for all child welfare program activities. Reliable 
data, no matter who collects it or where it is collected, supports the 
goals of child safety, wellbeing, and permanency. Therefore, reliable 
data is a critical component of case work, supervision, program 
management, evaluation, research, and policy development. This proposed 
regulation also includes new requirements to ensure that a CCWIS 
supports data quality by requiring agency reviews of automated and 
manual data collection processes, and by requiring the title IV-E 
agency to provide continuous data quality improvement, based on its 
review findings. Some of the data quality requirements include: 
Automatically monitoring the CCWIS data for missing data, generating 
reports and alerts when entered data does not meet expected timeframes, 
automatically providing data to and automatically requesting needed 
data from child welfare contributing systems, and regular review by the 
title IV-E agency to ensure that CCWIS data accurately documents all 
cases, clients, services, and activities.
    Fourth, this proposal requires a CCWIS to include new bi-
directional data exchanges and use of electronic data exchange 
standards that strengthen program integrity. The proposed rule 
continues to require, where practicable, bi-directional data exchanges 
with title IV-A, title IV-D, title XIX, and child abuse/neglect 
systems, as in S/TACWIS rules. We propose to continue to require bi-
directional data exchanges with systems processing payments and claims 
and with systems generating information needed for title IV-E 
eligibility determinations, if the CCWIS does not perform these 
functions. We also propose to require, to the extent practicable, title 
IV-E agencies add new bi-directional data exchanges with other systems 
such as court systems, education systems, and Medicaid claims systems. 
Adding these new bi-directional data exchanges will contribute to 
efforts to improve outcomes for children and assist title IV-E agencies 
in collecting more comprehensive data on each child served by the title 
IV-E agency. In addition, we propose that any child welfare 
contributing agencies using a system other than CCWIS and approved by 
the title IV-E agency for child welfare case management (for example, a 
proprietary system built or licensed by a private agency to manage its 
child welfare cases) must have a bi-directional data exchange with 
CCWIS. This allows child welfare contributing agencies to enter data in 
their own systems and then exchange that data with the CCWIS instead of 
requiring the child welfare contributing agency to enter data directly 
into the CCWIS. This bi-directional data exchange ensures that data 
collected by one child welfare

[[Page 48204]]

contributing agency is available to the title IV-E agency and all other 
contributing agencies through the CCWIS. This proposal also requires 
title IV-E agencies to use an electronic data exchange standard to 
improve efficiency, reduce duplicate data collection, and promote 
common understanding of data elements. Such a standard promotes a 
common understanding of data across systems so all users have a shared, 
clear, and precise understanding of what the data means.
    Finally, the proposal prioritizes more efficient and less expensive 
development of reliable systems that follow industry design standards, 
including development of independent, reusable modules. This proposal 
provides an incentive for title IV-E agencies to build independent 
plug-and-play modules that may be shared and reused by other states, 
tribes, and agencies. This proposal requires CCWIS automated functions 
to be built as independent modules that may be reused in other systems 
or be replaced by newer modules with more capabilities. The title IV-E 
agency must follow industry standards when designing and building the 
automated modules. Our proposal is similar to the design requirements 
established by the CMS for Federal Funding for Medicaid Eligibility 
Determination and Enrollment Activities. Proposing design requirements 
similar to CMS will increase the potential for re-use of automated 
functions across related health and human service programs.
    In developing this proposed rule, we were mindful of the 
Administration's emphasis on flexibility as a guiding principle when 
considering ways to better accomplish statutory goals. Therefore, our 
proposal includes a waiver process for title IV-E agencies to submit, 
for ACF's review and approval, their proposed new approaches to 
designing IT systems. We included this process to accommodate new 
design approaches that are not anticipated by our design proposal. ACF 
may waive the design requirements for CCWIS automated functions if the 
title IV-E agency presents a business case for a more efficient, 
economical, and effective design approach.
    This proposal also provides flexibility with a transition period of 
24 months during which the title IV-E agency with a S/TACWIS or non-S/
TACWIS project (as defined in these proposed regulations) may decide 
whether to: Transition the S/TACWIS or non-S/TACWIS to a CCWIS, become 
a non-CCWIS or build a new CCWIS. The state or tribe does not need to 
finish the transition within the 24 months to be a CCWIS. A new CCWIS 
may be built at any time.
    Title IV-E agencies report that systems built under the S/TACWIS 
regulations improve program administration by automating work 
processes, providing workers with data to manage cases, and generating 
reports for supervisors and administrators. The goal of our proposal is 
to assist title IV-E agencies in developing systems that further 
contribute to improving outcomes for children and families with more 
flexible, modernized systems that support the efficient, economical, 
and effective administration of the plans approved under titles IV-B 
and IV-E of the Act. Compliance with provisions in the final rule would 
be determined through ACF review and approval of a state's or tribe's 
Advance Planning Documents (APD) or a Notice of Intent, where 
applicable, and through the use of federal monitoring.
    The proposed revisions in this NPRM describe an approach 
fundamentally different from the current regulations. Considering the 
scope of the proposed changes, we determined that these revisions could 
not be effectively incorporated through section-by-section amendments. 
Therefore, our proposal would completely replace the current 
regulations. Where applicable, the Section-by-Section Discussion of the 
NPRM notes where we propose to retain requirements from the current 
regulations.

VI. Section-by-Section Discussion of the NPRM

    Our proposals support a change in the focus from the S/TACWIS 
function-based requirements to the CCWIS quality-data based 
requirements. This change is expected to provide additional flexibility 
to states and tribes to implement systems that meet their needs. This 
is now possible due to the changes in technology and service delivery 
models since 1993. We propose to carry forward the same principles as 
used in S/TACWIS but propose to include a new data focus:
     A CCWIS is expected to improve program management and 
administration by collecting and sharing data addressing all program 
services and case management requirements by meeting the requirements 
we propose in revised Sec.  1355.52;
     The design is expected to appropriately apply modern 
computer technology; and
     The costs are expected to be reasonable, appropriate, and 
beneficial when compared to alternative solutions.

Sec.  1355.50--Purpose of This Part

    We propose to revise Sec.  1355.50 to describe that the purpose of 
the proposed regulations in Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 1355.59 is to 
set forth the requirements for receiving federal financial 
participation (FFP) as authorized under section 474(a)(3)(C) and (D) 
and 474(c) of the Act for the planning, design, development, 
installation, operation, and maintenance of a comprehensive child 
welfare information system (CCWIS).
    Implementing a CCWIS is optional. While the Act provides a 
favorable cost allocation for a CCWIS, the Act does not require that a 
title IV-E agency have a CCWIS. Title IV-E agencies with a data 
collection system that does not meet CCWIS requirements may qualify for 
funding as described at Sec.  1356.60(d).
    Consistent with the definition of title IV-E agency in Sec.  
1355.20, if a title IV-E agency chooses to implement a CCWIS, we 
propose that the requirements in Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 1355.59 
apply to the title IV-E agency (either state or tribe) unless otherwise 
specified.

Sec.  1355.51--Definitions Applicable to Comprehensive Child Welfare 
Information Systems (CCWIS)

    We propose to add a new Sec.  1355.51 to provide definitions that 
apply to Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 1355.59. This section is new, as 
the current regulations provide no definitions specific to S/TACWIS. 
These definitions clarify the meaning of key terms and concepts 
applicable to these sections. See Sec.  1355.20 for definitions of 
other terms used in these regulations.
    In new paragraph (a) of Sec.  1355.51, we propose definitions for 
terms in Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 1355.59.
Approved Activity
    We propose to add a definition of ``approved activity'' to new 
Sec.  1355.51 and to define it as a project task that supports 
planning, designing, developing, installing, operating, or maintaining 
a CCWIS. The term applies to all CCWIS projects whether or not they are 
required to submit an Implementation APD.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.57--Cost allocation for CCWIS 
projects.
Automated Function
    We propose to add a definition of ``automated function'' to new 
Sec.  1355.51 and to define it to mean a computerized process or 
collection of related processes to achieve a purpose or goal. This 
general definition may include a simple process, such as searching a 
list,

[[Page 48205]]

or a collection of related processes, such as a case management module.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.52--CCWIS project requirements, 
Sec.  1355.53--CCWIS design requirements, Sec.  1355.54--CCWIS options, 
and Sec.  1355.57--Cost allocation for CCWIS projects.
Child Welfare Contributing Agency
    We propose to add a definition of ``child welfare contributing 
agency'' to new Sec.  1355.51 and to define this phrase as a public or 
private entity that, by contract or agreement with the title IV-E 
agency, provides child abuse and neglect investigations, placement, or 
child welfare case management (or any combination of these) to children 
and families.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.52--CCWIS project requirements.
Data Exchange
    We propose to add a definition of ``data exchange'' and to define 
it to mean the automated, electronic submission or receipt of 
information, or both, between two automated data processing systems.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.52--CCWIS project requirements 
and Sec.  1355.54--CCWIS options. We discuss the details of the data 
exchanges in the preamble for Sec.  1355.52(e).
Data Exchange Standard
    We propose to add a definition of ``data exchange standard'' and to 
define it to mean the common data definitions, data formats, data 
values, and other guidelines that the state's or tribe's automated data 
processing systems follow when exchanging data. A data exchange 
standard provides all parties with information that is consistently 
understood and defined. We propose that the definition apply to the 
automated data exchange process rather than to specify how either party 
stores the data.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.52--CCWIS project requirements.
New CCWIS Project
    We propose to add a definition of ``new CCWIS project'' and to 
define it as a project to build an automated data processing system 
meeting all requirements of Sec. Sec.  1355.52 and 1355.53(a). All 
automated functions contained in such a system must be designed to meet 
the requirements of Sec.  1355.53(a) unless exempted by Sec.  
1355.53(b)(2). This is different from S/TACWIS or non-S/TACWIS projects 
that are used as the basis for meeting the requirements of Sec.  
1355.52. Existing automated functions of S/TACWIS or non-S/TACWIS 
projects are exempt from the CCWIS design requirements in Sec.  
1355.53(a). If a project does not meet the definition of a S/TACWIS or 
non-S/TACWIS project as of the effective date of these regulations, and 
the agency elects to implement a system meeting the requirements of 
this section it is classified as a new CCWIS project.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.56--Requirements for S/TACWIS and 
non-S/TACWIS projects during and after the transition period and Sec.  
1355.57--Cost allocation for CCWIS projects.
Non-S/TACWIS Project
    We propose to add a definition of active ``non-S/TACWIS project.'' 
We define this term because this is one type of an active project in 
which existing automated functions are exempt from the CCWIS design 
requirements in Sec.  1355.53(a).
    We propose to define a ``non-S/TACWIS project'' as an active 
automated data processing system or project that, prior to the 
effective date of these regulations, ACF has not classified as a S/
TACWIS and for which: (1) ACF approved a development procurement; or 
(2) the applicable state or tribal agency approved a development 
procurement below the thresholds of 45 CFR 95.611(a); or (3) the 
operational automated data processing system provided the data for at 
least one AFCARS or NYTD file for submission to the federal system or 
systems designated by ACF to receive the report. By `active' automated 
data processing system or project, we mean that the system is being 
used as of the effective date of these regulations or that the state or 
tribe is designing, developing or implementing the system as of the 
effective date of the regulations.
    The first proposed criterion requires the approval of development 
procurement documents (such as requests for proposals or requests for 
quotations) by ACF for procurements that exceed the thresholds as 
established in 45 CFR 95.611. The second proposed criterion requires 
the approval of development procurement documents by the state or 
tribal agency with authority to approve the documents when they are 
below the threshold of 45 CFR 95.611 requiring approval by ACF.
    These two proposed criteria are clear measures of a project that 
has progressed beyond preliminary planning stages of information system 
development. To reach this point the agency has defined the project's 
purpose, goals, and scope. The agency has also produced the clear, 
specific, and detailed requirements and other documentation necessary 
for vendors to develop realistic cost and technical proposals. Review 
and approval of the documents by the appropriate federal, state, or 
tribal authority provides assurances that the plans to develop a non-S/
TACWIS automated data processing system are well conceived and meet the 
standards of the approving authority. This formal approval of 
development procurement documents is an early indicator of the title 
IV-E agency's commitment to build a system that qualifies the project 
as a non-S/TACWIS project.
    The third proposed criterion to classify an application as a non-
SACWIS is an operational system that has correctly gathered and 
formatted data for the submission of required title IV-E program 
reports. Having successfully submitted required reports, the agency has 
demonstrated that the application is an active automated data 
processing system and the system may be classified as a non-SACWIS 
project.
    The two data collections are: AFCARS and, for states, NYTD. To be 
considered an operational non-S/TACWIS project, the title IV-E agency 
must have used the system to successfully provide the data needed to be 
submitted for either report during the most recent reporting period 
prior to the effective date of the final rule. ACF included this third 
criterion so that projects that are built in-house, such as without 
vendor assistance, may qualify as non-S/TACWIS projects.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.56--Requirements for S/TACWIS and 
non-S/TACWIS projects during and after the transition period.
Notice of Intent
    We propose to add a definition of ``notice of intent'' and to 
define it as a record from the title IV-E agency, signed by the 
governor, tribal leader, or designated state or tribal official, and 
provided to ACF declaring that the title IV-E agency plans to build a 
CCWIS project that is below the APD approval thresholds of 45 CFR 
95.611(a). The definition specifies that this notice is a ``record'' 
rather than a ``letter'' to allow the title IV-E agency to 
electronically submit the notice of intent. The signatory must be an 
official who is authorized to commit the agency to building a CCWIS and 
is aware of and has approved this action.
    This definition is used in Sec.  1355.52--CCWIS project 
requirements where we propose the requirement for the notice of intent 
for CCWIS projects below the APD approval thresholds defined at 45 CFR 
95.611.

[[Page 48206]]

S/TACWIS Project
    We propose to add a definition of an active ``S/TACWIS project.'' 
We wish to define an active S/TACWIS project because this is one type 
of project in which existing automated functions are exempt from the 
CCWIS design requirements in Sec.  1355.53(a).
    We propose to define a ``S/TACWIS project'' as an active automated 
data processing system or project that, prior to the effective date of 
these regulations, ACF classified as a S/TACWIS and for which: (1) ACF 
approved a procurement to develop a S/TACWIS; or (2) the applicable 
state or tribal agency approved a development procurement for a S/
TACWIS below the thresholds of 45 CFR 95.611 (a).
    The first proposed criterion requires the approval of development 
procurement documents (such as Requests for Proposals or Requests for 
Quotations) by ACF. The second proposed criterion requires the approval 
of development procurement documents by the state or tribal agency with 
authority to approve the documents. By `active' automated data 
processing system or project, we mean that the system is being used as 
of the effective date of these regulations or the state or tribe is 
designing, developing or implementing the system as of the effective 
date of the regulations.
    These two proposed criteria are clear measures of a S/TACWIS 
project that has progressed beyond preliminary planning stages. This 
formal approval of development procurement documents is an early 
indicator of the title IV-E agency's commitment to build a system that 
qualifies the project as a S/TACWIS project.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.56--Requirements for S/TACWIS and 
non-S/TACWIS projects during and after the transition period.
Transition Period
    We propose to add a definition of ``transition period'' and to 
define it as the 24 month period after the effective date of these 
regulations.
    This phrase is used in Sec.  1355.56--Requirements for S/TACWIS and 
non-S/TACWIS projects during and after the transition period.
    In new paragraph (b) of Sec.  1355.51, we propose to use terms 
defined at 45 CFR 95.605 in Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 1355.59. 45 CFR 
95.605 lists definitions for regulations under which the Department 
will approve FFP for the costs of automated data processing incurred 
under an approved State plan for titles IV-B, IV-D, IV-E, XIX or XXI of 
the Act.

Sec.  1355.52--CCWIS Project Requirements

    We propose to revise Sec.  1355.52 to include requirements for all 
CCWIS projects. We organized the proposed requirements as follows:
     In revised Sec.  1355.52(a), we propose that CCWIS must 
support the efficient, economical, and effective administration of the 
title IV-B and IV-E plans.
     In revised Sec.  1355.52(b), we propose the categories of 
data CCWIS must maintain.
     In revised Sec.  1355.52(c), we propose CCWIS reporting 
requirements based on the data requirements proposed in Sec.  
1355.52(b).
     In new Sec.  1355.52(d), we propose data quality 
requirements applicable to the data described in our proposals in Sec.  
1355.52(b) as well as the systems and processes used to collect this 
data.
     In new Sec.  1355.52(e), we propose that CCWIS must 
support one bi-directional data exchange to exchange relevant data with 
specified program systems.
     In new Sec.  1355.52(f), we propose CCWIS must use a 
single data exchange standard for certain bi-directional data 
exchanges.
     In new Sec.  1355.52(g), we propose that CCWIS must 
support the title IV-E eligibility determination process.
     In new Sec.  1355.52(h), we propose requirements for title 
IV-E agencies to provide copies of CCWIS software and documents to ACF.
     In new Sec.  1355.52(i), we propose that title IV-E 
agencies must submit certain project documentation to qualify for CCWIS 
cost allocation.
     In new Sec.  1355.52(j), we propose to list APD 
requirements applicable to all under threshold CCWIS projects.
    In revised Sec.  1355.52(a), we propose to continue the statutory 
requirement that the system support the efficient, economical, and 
effective administration of the title IV-B and IV-E plans pursuant to 
section 474(a)(3)(C)(iv) of the Act. ACF proposes in revised Sec.  
1355.52(a)(1) through (4) general requirements that an efficient, 
economical, and effective system must meet.
    In revised Sec.  1355.52(a)(1), we propose that the system must 
improve program management and administration by maintaining all 
program data required by federal, state or tribal law or policy. 
Maintaining program data supports case workers, supervisors, and 
managers in efficiently and effectively providing service to clients 
and administering the program. We provide further proposed program data 
requirements in paragraph (b).
    In revised Sec.  1355.52(a)(2), we propose that the design must 
appropriately apply computer technology. Such designs implement 
innovative, tested, and proven approaches to support efficient, 
economical, and effective systems. We provide further design 
requirements in revised Sec.  1355.53(a).
    In revised Sec.  1355.52(a)(3), we propose that the project must 
not require duplicative application system development or software 
maintenance. Duplicative development and maintenance increases costs. 
During our system reviews, we have also observed that duplicative 
applications require caseworkers to enter the same data repeatedly 
which reduces worker efficiency.
    In revised Sec.  1355.52(a)(4), we propose that project costs must 
be reasonable, appropriate, and beneficial. Our processes for reviewing 
project activities and costs are described in the APD regulations at 45 
CFR part 95, subpart F. We also propose in new Sec.  1355.52(j) to 
apply a subset of these regulations to projects under the thresholds 
defined in 45 CFR 95.611.
    We propose in revised Sec.  1355.52(b) to require that the CCWIS 
maintain all program data mandated by statute and regulation, and the 
data that the title IV-E agency determines is needed for the more 
efficient, economical, and effective administration of the programs 
carried out under a state or tribal plan approved under titles IV-B and 
IV-E of the Act. Specifically, in Sec.  1355.52(b) we propose that the 
title IV-E agency's CCWIS must maintain data that supports 
administration of the title IV-B and title IV-E program, data needed 
for ongoing federal child welfare reports, data to support state or 
tribal child welfare laws, regulations, policies, practices, reporting 
requirements, audits, program evaluations, and reviews. For states, 
CCWIS must maintain data to support specific measures taken to comply 
with 422(b)(9) of the Act related to the Indian Child Welfare Act 
(ICWA) and the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) 
data.
    This is different from the S/TACWIS regulation in that the proposed 
requirements include an emphasis on maintaining data within the CCWIS, 
rather than the focus in S/TACWIS on where the data is collected. 
Focusing on the maintenance of data rather than the collection of data 
increases the flexibility available to title IV-E agencies regarding 
the design of automated data processing systems used to support their 
child welfare programs. We propose that the CCWIS maintain the data 
received from other sources, applying the data quality standards

[[Page 48207]]

defined in the new Sec.  1355.52(d) to help ensure that the data is 
timely, consistent, accurate, and relevant. Therefore, the term 
``maintain'' refers to data storage and data sharing with other 
appropriate child welfare automated data processing systems. Specific 
data storage requirements are defined by the authority requiring the 
data. For example, the data retention requirements for ongoing federal 
child welfare reports are defined in the applicable regulations and 
policies. ``Maintain'' also refers to the consistent application of 
data quality processes and procedures to the data no matter where the 
data may have been initially collected.
    Some comments to the 2010 FR Notice requested that the proposed 
regulations define all required data. In general, other than the data 
specifically required in legislation, regulation, reviews, audits, and 
that needed by the title IV-E/IV-B agency to support its administration 
of its programs, as outlined below, we are not proposing to define a 
comprehensive set of CCWIS data elements. We determined that such 
specificity would require regulatory amendments to ensure consistency 
with future changes in law and policy and was not consistent with our 
goal of promoting the flexibility to design an automated data 
processing system to meet the title IV-E agency's business needs. 
Therefore, revised Sec.  1355.52(b) defines categories of data that may 
overlap so that specific data elements may be covered by multiple 
requirements.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(1), we propose to require that the CCWIS 
maintain all data required to support the efficient, effective, and 
economical administration of the programs under titles IV-B and IV-E of 
the Act. We outline requirements regarding the scope of this data in 
paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (iv) of Sec.  1355.52.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(1)(i), we propose to require that the CCWIS 
maintain all data required for ongoing federal child welfare reports. 
This includes data for required federal data reporting such as AFCARS 
and NYTD (if applicable), the Title IV-E Programs Quarterly Financial 
Report (Form CB-496) and any other ongoing federal reporting that may 
be required by statute or regulation. Where applicable, this includes 
case management data maintained in the CCWIS that the title IV-E agency 
uses to create narrative based reports such as the Child and Family 
Service Plan (CFSP) and Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR).
    We acknowledge that requirements may vary among title IV-E 
agencies, for example tribes are not required to submit data to the 
NYTD or NCANDS.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(1)(ii), we propose to require that the 
CCWIS maintain data required for title IV-E eligibility determinations, 
authorizations of services and other expenditures that may be claimed 
for reimbursement under titles IV-B and IV-E.
    For the purposes of this proposed requirement, data necessary for 
title IV-E eligibility determinations includes documentation of title 
IV-E eligibility requirements such as the factors used to demonstrate 
the child would qualify for AFDC under the 1996 rules, placement 
licensing and background check information and court findings. Data 
required for authorizations of services and other expenditures under 
titles IV-B and IV-E includes data on services authorized, records that 
the services were delivered, payments processed, and payment status, 
including whether the payment will be allocated to one or more federal, 
state, or tribal programs for reimbursement, and the amount of the 
payment. In addition, information needed to support federal financial 
claims reports for titles IV-B and IV-E are considered necessary, such 
as the Form CB-496, as well as information to support audits of the 
activities and services that are the basis of such claims. However, the 
automated functions that use this information, such as those that 
support financial claims processing and payments, are not required to 
be a part of the CCWIS. For example, the CCWIS may have an automated 
exchange with an external financial system(s) that processes payments 
and disburses funds as discussed in proposed new Sec.  
1355.52(e)(1)(i).
    Proposed requirements regarding automated functions to support the 
process of making title IV-E eligibility determinations are in proposed 
new Sec.  1355.52(g).
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(1)(iii), we propose to require that the 
CCWIS maintain all data needed to support federal child welfare laws, 
regulations, and policies. The data defined in this paragraph is 
expected to reflect title IV-B and IV-E federal policy and programmatic 
requirements and may change over time.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(1)(iv), we propose to require that the 
CCWIS maintain all case management data to support federal audits, 
reviews and other monitoring activities that are not specifically 
covered by paragraph (iii). Examples include the data necessary for 
title IV-E reviews authorized under Sec.  1356.71 and the Child and 
Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) authorized under 42 U.S.C. 1320a-2a. We 
do not propose to require the CCWIS to maintain additional data that a 
review team may collect for review purposes that is not gathered as 
part of the title IV-E agency's ongoing case management practice. For 
example, some of the data the state uses to evaluate CFSR systemic 
factors such as surveys or focus group summaries is not case management 
data and we would not expect that data to be maintained in the CCWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(2), we propose to require that the CCWIS 
maintain the data to support state or tribal laws, regulations, 
policies, practices, reporting requirements, audits, program 
evaluations, and reviews. We recognize that title IV-E agencies may 
identify a data need or functionality based on their specific 
circumstances, populations, title IV-E plan and business practices that 
is not specifically prescribed by federal law or policy. The title IV-E 
agency will define these requirements, specifying the basis for the 
data collection, as well as measures to help assure that the automated 
data processing system maintains quality data. Examples of these types 
of data include data specified in laws or policies, quality assurance, 
caseworker narratives, scanned documents, completed templates, and 
other program evaluation information or court monitor data. Title IV-E 
agencies may also identify candidate data elements by identifying 
common data collected across child welfare contributing agencies that 
is not shared with the CCWIS.
    We propose this requirement to encourage title IV-E agencies to 
consider innovative ways CCWIS can support their unique programs. We 
look forward to working with and providing technical assistance to 
title IV-E agencies related to this requirement.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(3), we propose to require that the CCWIS 
maintain for states, data to support specific measures taken to comply 
with the requirements in section 422(b)(9) of the Act regarding the 
Indian Child Welfare Act. Supporting ICWA with CCWIS makes 
administration of the state plan for compliance with ICWA more 
efficient, economical, and effective. As required by the Program 
Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-13-04, which was issued by ACYF on April 10, 
2013, the state's APSR must cite available data used to assess the 
level of compliance and progress made to improve the agency's 
compliance with ICWA. Minimally, we expect states to maintain data in 
their CCWIS on notification of Indian parents and tribes of state 
proceedings involving Indian children. The CCWIS may maintain data

[[Page 48208]]

necessary to inform the APSR in the following areas:
     Placement preferences of Indian children in foster care, 
pre-adoptive, and adoptive homes;
     Active efforts to prevent the breakup of the Indian family 
when parties seek to place a child in foster care or for adoption; and
     The right of Indian parents and tribes to intervene in 
state proceeding or to transfer proceedings to the jurisdiction of the 
tribe.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(b)(4), we propose to require that the CCWIS 
maintain, for each state, data for NCANDS data. NCANDS is a voluntary 
data collection effort created in response to the requirements of the 
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (Pub. L. 93-247) as 
amended. However, CB policy requires states that implement a SACWIS to 
submit NCANDS data. This proposed requirement is consistent with this 
policy.
    In revised Sec.  1355.52(c), we propose to incorporate the 
requirements in existing Sec.  1355.53(a) and (b) and S/TACWIS policy 
described in the ACYF Action Transmittal ACF-OISM-001, which was issued 
on February 24, 1995, regarding generation and submission of reports. 
The reports must be based on data maintained in the CCWIS per the 
proposed requirements in revised Sec.  1355.52(b). We simplified the 
regulations by placing all reporting requirements in revised Sec.  
1355.52(c) and organizing them into two general categories. We will 
provide technical assistance to title IV-E agencies as needed so that 
the CCWIS can use the data described in revised Sec.  1355.52(b) to 
generate and submit the reports described in this paragraph.
    In new Sec.  1355.52 (c)(1), we propose to revise and incorporate 
the current requirements in Sec.  1355.53(a) and (b). We propose to 
require that the system generate, or contribute to, title IV-B and IV-E 
federal reports according to applicable formatting and submission 
requirements and based on data maintained in the CCWIS per the proposed 
requirements in revised Sec.  1355.52 (b). In order to avoid having to 
modify these rules as reporting requirements change over time, this 
requirement is inclusive of all current and any future federal reports 
required by titles IV-B or IV-E of the Act.
    Examples of federal reports covered by this requirement include, 
but are not limited to:
     AFCARS reporting requirements found at Sec.  1355.40. The 
CCWIS must maintain all data used to report information to AFCARS, even 
if data is collected and updated in child welfare contributing systems 
or received through exchanges with other agencies such as the title IV-
D system. The AFCARS report must be generated entirely from the data 
maintained in the CCWIS and must be a full historical account of the 
child's foster care experience within the state/tribal service area.
     NYTD, for state title IV-E agencies only. Consistent with 
section 479B(f) of the Act tribal title IV-E agencies are exempt from 
NYTD requirements at 45 CFR 1356.80 through 1356.86. The CCWIS must 
maintain the case management data on youth in foster care and services 
provided to them, even if some data are collected and updated in child 
welfare contributing systems. Consistent with current policy in Program 
Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-10-04, which was issued on April 2, 2010, states 
have the option to collect survey data on outcomes in an external 
system. The report may be generated entirely from the CCWIS. 
Alternately, data from the CCWIS may be combined with the outcomes data 
to construct the NYTD report.
     CFSP/APSR requirements found at 45 CFR 1357.15 and 
1357.16. These submissions follow guidance provided by CB and are 
largely narrative in format. The CCWIS will provide statistics as 
needed to support the title IV-E agency's program analysis.
     Title IV-E programs quarterly financial report on Form CB-
496 as required by Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-10-14, which was 
issued on November 23, 2010. The CCWIS will provide a subset of the 
financial and demographic data required to complete this form to 
support claims for title IV-E funding.
     CFSR reporting found at 45 CFR 1355.34 and 1355.35. CFSR 
reporting may include data collected during review activities, which is 
not required to be maintained in the CCWIS. However, we expect the 
CCWIS to maintain data as proposed in revised Sec.  1355.52(b) to 
support the CFSR review process.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(c)(2), we propose to incorporate the current 
requirement at Sec.  1355.53(a) and S/TACWIS policy that the system 
generate or contribute to reports that support programs and services 
described in title IV-B and title IV-E of the Act and are needed to 
support state or tribal child welfare laws, regulations, policies, 
practices, reporting requirements, audits, and reviews. These reports 
will be specific to the needs of the title IV-E agency or the state or 
tribal executive offices. Examples include, but are not limited to:
     Management and statistical reports to monitor, track, and 
support agency, office, team, or individual needs;
     Contract compliance, budgeting and forecasting;
     Court settlement agreement monitoring;
     Outcomes data to support continuous quality improvement 
efforts; and
     Reports to state legislatures or tribal leadership 
regarding aggregated case data.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d), we propose data quality requirements that 
apply to the CCWIS. We distinguish between current and proposed data 
quality requirements in our discussion of the subparagraphs.
    A CCWIS must consistently provide high quality data to meet the 
statutory requirement to support the efficient, economical, and 
effective administration of child welfare programs, as required in 
section 474(a)(3)(C)(iv) of the Act. During our reviews of SACWIS 
systems, we determined that most title IV-E agencies understand the 
importance of high quality data and implement a variety of strategies 
to improve data quality. However, these reviews also indicate that it 
remains challenging for title IV-E agencies to consistently ensure 
SACWIS produces high quality data. Therefore, we propose to supplement 
current data quality requirements with new requirements based on best 
practices to improve data quality. Although title IV-E agencies already 
implement many of these best practices, our proposed requirements will 
mandate their consistent use by all title IV-E agencies implementing a 
CCWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(1), we outline the proposed data quality 
and confidentiality requirements for data that must be maintained in 
the CCWIS, per Sec.  1355.52(b).
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(1)(i), we propose that the data described 
in revised Sec.  1355.52(b) that is maintained in the CCWIS meet the 
applicable federal, and state or tribal standards for completeness, 
timeliness and accuracy. Currently, S/TACWIS regulations at Sec.  
1355.53(g) requires the system to perform quality assurance reviews of 
case files to ensure accuracy, completeness and compliance, and S/
TACWIS policy in Action Transmittal ACF-OISM-001, Part IV requires 
automated quality assurance measures, processes, and functions to 
ensure the completeness, accuracy, and consistency of critical data.
    Complete, timely, and accurate data supports the entire child 
welfare program. The data supports all aspects of direct service to 
clients, including:

[[Page 48209]]

Managing child abuse and neglect investigations, conducting 
assessments, case management, service provision, placements, and 
licensing. Title IV-E agencies need reliable data to support 
administrative functions such as monitoring staff, quality control, 
budgeting, and forecasting. High quality data is critical for the 
safety and well-being of the children in care and also supports 
research, program analysis, and policy formulation.
    This proposed requirement means that all data maintained in the 
CCWIS must be complete, timely, and accurate in order to support the 
efficient, economical, and effective administration of the child 
welfare program. Statutes, regulations, or policy may establish 
specific data quality standards. For example, federal regulations 
specify the data quality standards for AFCARS and NYTD data. Likewise, 
title IV-E agencies have policies requiring the completion of certain 
tasks within defined deadlines such as caseworker visits, transition 
planning, administrative reviews, permanency hearings, and the 
collection of related data. CCWIS data follows the specific standards 
identified by both federal requirements and state or tribal laws and 
policies. If two or more standards apply to the same data, the title 
IV-E agency follows the more rigorous standard. For example, if one 
standard required updating the CCWIS in seven days and a second 
standard set a two-day limit, the two-day limit applies.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(1)(ii), we propose to require that data be 
consistently and uniformly collected by CCWIS and, if applicable, child 
welfare contributing agency systems. By ``if applicable,'' we mean if 
the title IV-E agency permits child welfare contributing agencies to 
use other systems to collect CCWIS data, that data must meet the 
standards established for CCWIS data.
    S/TACWIS rules enforce consistent and uniform data collection by 
requiring a single state or tribal system for the collection of all 
child welfare data. Our proposed rule will provide greater data 
collection flexibility to title IV-E agencies by eliminating this 
requirement and permitting other systems to collect and electronically 
share data with CCWIS and other contributing systems. However, this 
flexibility will require closer monitoring of data by title IV-E 
agencies to ensure that data collected by child welfare contributing 
agencies and systems has the same meaning to all staff collecting, 
entering, and using the data. If all users do not share a common 
understanding of data, client records transferred between agencies may 
be misinterpreted, adversely affecting client monitoring, services, and 
outcomes.
    This proposed requirement means that the title IV-E agency will be 
able to ensure there is a shared understanding of all data 
electronically exchanged between CCWIS and child welfare contributing 
agency systems.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(1)(iii), we propose that the title IV-E 
agency must exchange and maintain CCWIS data in accordance with the 
confidentiality requirements of applicable federal and state or tribal 
laws. This is not a new requirement as data maintained under a SACWIS 
are subject to federal, state, and tribal confidentiality requirements. 
The federal confidentiality provisions are those at section 471(a)(8) 
of the Act, regulations at 45 CFR 1355.30(p)(3) applying 45 CFR 205.50, 
and CB policy at sections 2.1A.1 and 8.4E of the Child Welfare Policy 
Manual. These statutes, regulations, and policies require that title 
IV-E agencies provide safeguards regarding the use and/or disclosure of 
data about children receiving title IV-E or IV-B assistance. They do 
not forbid agencies from sharing data with appropriate agencies, and 
set forth the parameters for when the data may (or must) be disclosed. 
Confidentiality requirements that apply to child abuse and neglect 
information is described in 42 U.S.C 5106a(b)(2)(B)(viii) through (x) 
of CAPTA. These confidentiality provisions also apply to agencies that 
are the recipients of the confidential information, such as child 
welfare contributing agencies.
    In new Sec.  1355.52 (d)(1)(iv), we propose to require that the 
CCWIS data described in revised Sec.  1355.52(b) must support child 
welfare policies, goals, and practices. This means that data collected 
by or maintained in CCWIS is necessary to support the efficient, 
economical, and effective administration of the child welfare program.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(1)(v), we propose to require that the CCWIS 
data described in revised Sec.  1355.52(b) must not be created by 
default or inappropriately assigned. Through our S/TACWIS reviews, we 
have observed systems that create data by automatically completing data 
fields with a common response. For example, a system may classify all 
persons as U.S. citizens as a default, since the title IV-E agency 
presumes that most of the children and families that they serve are 
born in the United States. The practice of automatically generating 
data can create inaccurate data in the system because workers may not 
verify or correct the accuracy of system-generated data.
    We acknowledge there are cases where system calculated data is 
appropriate. For example, it is acceptable to generate time stamps 
denoting the time of record entry in the CCWIS. System created data 
also is acceptable in instances where CCWIS can accurately derive or 
calculate the data, such as calculating current age by using the 
verified birth date and current date.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2), we propose to require that the title 
IV-E agency implement and maintain specific automated functions in 
CCWIS. We expect that these automated functions will support the IV-E 
agency's efforts to ensure that the CCWIS data described in revised 
Sec.  1355.52(b) meets the data quality requirements of Sec.  
1355.52(d)(1). We propose five automated functions in CCWIS in the 
following subparagraphs. One requirement, for the CCWIS to monitor data 
quality, incorporates the current S/TACWIS regulatory requirement at 
Sec.  1355.53(g). Of the four new automated function requirements, 
three are consistent with current S/TACWIS policy in Action Transmittal 
ACF-OISM-001.
    We are proposing these requirements because information technology 
is consistently and successfully used to support data quality. It is 
efficient to use automation to support data quality processes since 
computers perform routine tasks quicker and more consistently than 
people. Computers can also review all data and flag potential data 
quality problems that require further investigation. This increases 
worker effectiveness by enabling workers to focus on solving data 
quality problems rather than sifting through data to identify errors.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2)(i), we propose to incorporate the 
requirement that the system regularly monitor data quality through 
automated functions. This requirement is currently found in S/TACWIS 
regulations at Sec.  1355.53(g).
    This proposed requirement means that CCWIS is expected to have 
automated functions at the point data is received in the CCWIS and 
other regular intervals to maintain data quality. For example, in 
addition to edit checks to validate data entry, automated functions in 
CCWIS should review data provided by data exchanges, compare data from 
different sources for inconsistencies, scan stored data for missing or 
out-of date information, and validate CCWIS data before it is exchanged 
with other systems.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2)(ii), we propose a new requirement that 
through an

[[Page 48210]]

automated function, the CCWIS supports data quality by alerting staff 
to collect, update, correct, and enter CCWIS data. By ``staff,'' we 
mean users of CCWIS or child welfare contributing agency systems. This 
proposed requirement is consistent with S/TACWIS policy in Action 
Transmittal ACF-OISM-001 to support workers in completing data quality 
tasks.
    This proposed requirement means that the CCWIS must provide 
automated alerts, reports, and other appropriate automated tools to 
support workers to effectively maintain data quality. In our experience 
with SACWIS reviews, agencies report measurable data quality 
improvements after implementing appropriate alerts. Staff collecting 
data play a key data quality role and agency training is critical in 
supporting workers in their role.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2)(iii), we propose a new requirement that 
IV-E agency's CCWIS includes automated functions to send electronic 
requests to child welfare contributing agency systems to submit current 
and historical data to the CCWIS. This proposed requirement means that 
CCWIS automated functions must support bi-directional data exchanges 
with child welfare contributing agency systems, will monitor the data 
exchanged, and notify other systems when the CCWIS has not received 
data by the deadlines. Examples of such data include home visit 
reports, investigation reports, assessments, and placement changes. The 
required exchange between the CCWIS and systems operated by child 
welfare contributing agencies is described in new Sec.  
1355.52(e)(1)(ii).
    Our proposed rule provides greater flexibility in allowing the 
CCWIS to maintain required child welfare data through an exchange with 
child welfare contributing agency systems. While ensuring data quality 
in a single system requires constant and diligent effort, it is even 
more challenging when independent systems are exchanging data. 
Therefore, we are proposing this requirement that CCWIS provide 
automated support for ensuring that the CCWIS is provided timely data 
from child welfare contributing agencies.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2)(iv), we propose a new requirement that a 
title IV-E agency implement and maintain automated functions in the 
CCWIS that prevent, to the extent practical, the need to re-enter data 
already captured or exchanged with the CCWIS. This includes data that 
is either entered directly into the CCWIS or maintained in the CCWIS 
through an exchange with a child welfare contributing agency's system. 
It is our expectation that data collected in the CCWIS or CCWIS data 
provided through an exchange should not need to be re-entered in either 
the CCWIS or a child welfare contributing agency's system. This 
proposed requirement is consistent with S/TACWIS policy in Action 
Transmittal ACF-OISM-001 to support efficient work processes.
    When the CCWIS exchanges data with one of the systems identified in 
new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2), we recognize it may not always be possible to 
meet this requirement due to competing system requirements. However, to 
the extent practicable, the title IV-E agency should work with the 
other agency to implement automated functions and exchange data in a 
way that prevents the need to re-enter data already maintained by the 
CCWIS.
    The automated functions will likely also promote data quality by 
preserving accurate historical data and supporting the review and 
correction of data. This requirement will eliminate inefficiencies in 
the system caused by duplicate data entry. It may also result in 
reducing the presence of inconsistent data (for example, if two workers 
enter different dates for a child's birth date).
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2)(v), we propose a new requirement that 
CCWIS generate reports of continuing or unresolved CCWIS data quality 
problems. For example, the CCWIS may flag children in foster care who 
have not received visits in expected timeframes so supervisors can 
follow-up to determine if a worker missed a visit or did not document 
the activity.
    This proposed requirement is consistent with the best practice of 
creating regular or ad hoc reports to monitor data, which has been 
implemented by most title IV-E agencies. Title IV-E agencies indicate 
that these reports are an effective tool for improving data quality. 
State title IV-E agencies use such reports to continuously monitor data 
quality and to assist in identifying weaknesses in data quality 
processes. In many cases, agencies have corrected the weaknesses with 
new automated edit checks, staff training, or data collection 
processes.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(3), we propose new requirements for annual 
title IV-E agency data quality reviews and what the reviews should 
entail. Data quality is critical to ensuring that agency staff have 
confidence in the data they rely on to make decisions or take action. 
Ensuring that data is not erroneous, missing, or misinterpreted is an 
important resource for effective case management activities and 
services that support children, families, and the child welfare 
program.
    Annual data quality reviews ensure that the CCWIS maintains the 
high quality data necessary for the efficient, economical, and 
effective administration of the title IV-B and IV-E programs. The 
reviews are also critical to ensure that title IV-E agencies monitor 
and improve data, uncover the factors that negatively affect data 
quality, and implement corrective measures as needed. ACF will provide 
technical assistance related to these data quality reviews.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(3)(i), we propose a new requirement that 
the annual data quality reviews determine if the title IV-E agency and, 
if applicable, child welfare contributing agencies, meet the new 
requirements of Sec. Sec.  1355.52(b), (d)(1), and (d)(2). CCWIS data 
from child welfare contributing agency systems are included in annual 
data quality reviews because complete high quality data collected and 
exchanged by all partners is critical to supporting the communication 
and collaboration necessary for coordinating services to children and 
families, assisting with the title IV-E agency's monitoring activities, 
and producing accurate federal reports. We expect that title IV-E 
agencies will, as part of the reviews proposed, monitor child welfare 
contributing agency data collection activities and systems to ensure 
CCWIS data meets the standards established in contracts and agreements.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(3)(ii), we propose a new requirement that 
the title IV-E agency's annual data quality reviews confirm that bi-
directional data exchanges:
     Meet the bi-direction data exchange requirements described 
in Sec.  1355.52(e);
     Meet the data exchange standard requirements described in 
Sec.  1355.52(f); and
     Other ACF regulations and policies.
    Having a process to periodically review established bi-directional 
data exchanges is essential to help exchange partners identify new 
opportunities for collaboration as well as uncover unexpected problems 
with the existing bi-directional data exchanges.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(4), we propose a new requirement that the 
title IV-E agency must enhance CCWIS or the electronic bi-directional 
data exchanges of both to correct findings from the annual reviews 
described at Sec.  1355.52 (d)(3). This proposed requirement means that 
the title IV-E agency must correct identified factors contributing to 
the findings from the annual reviews. For example, if the annual review 
determined that CCWIS did not capture data to accommodate changing 
program requirements, the CCWIS must be enhanced to correct this 
finding.

[[Page 48211]]

    This proposed requirement to address review findings with 
corrective action establishes an annual, repeatable cycle of continuous 
quality improvement. Each successive review measures the impact of past 
corrective actions. This enables title IV-E agencies to determine the 
effectiveness of those actions and make adjustments leading to further 
improvements.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(5), we propose a new requirement that the 
title IV-E agency must develop, implement, and maintain a CCWIS data 
quality plan in a manner prescribed by ACF and include it as part of 
the Annual or Operational APD as required in 45 CFR 95.610. Required 
components of the CCWIS data quality plan are identified in Sec.  
1355.52(d)(5)(i) and (ii).
    This proposed requirement means that title IV-E agency must prepare 
and implement a formal plan that ensures CCWIS data quality. A 
comprehensive, formal approach embodied in a plan will ensure data 
quality in systems maintaining wide-ranging data critical to delivering 
and managing child welfare services. Because the plan will need to be 
amended occasionally in order to address new issues as federal, state, 
and tribal laws, regulations, policies, and practices change, ACF will 
provide further guidance as needed.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(5)(i), we propose a new requirement that 
the data quality plan describe the comprehensive strategy to promote 
quality data including the steps to meet the requirements at Sec.  
1355.52(d)(1) through (3).
    In new Sec.  1355.52(d)(5)(ii), we propose a new requirement that 
the data quality plan must report the status of compliance with Sec.  
1355.52(d)(1). Section 1355.52(d)(1) outlines the data quality and 
confidentiality requirements. Title IV-E agencies demonstrated during 
our reviews that regularly measuring and reporting data quality can 
help them identify data quality issues that need to be addressed. For 
example, if certain data are low quality, the title IV-E agency may 
need to revise the data quality plan in specific areas to improve those 
data. Comparing the data quality measures in past and present data 
quality reports on a regular basis serves as an objective indicator of 
progress toward improving data quality. These measures can help both 
ACF and the title IV-E agency assess the overall effectiveness of the 
agency's data quality strategy. This proposed requirement means that 
the data quality report must include measures of the plan's impact on 
data quality.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e), we propose requirements for eleven bi-
directional data exchanges (formerly called interfaces) to exchange 
relevant data. We propose to replace the technical term ``interface'' 
used in the current S/TACWIS regulations at Sec.  1355.53(b)(1) and (d) 
with the phrase ``data exchange'' in these proposed regulations to more 
fully convey the purpose of sharing information. Otherwise, the terms 
are similar in meaning. By ``relevant data,'' we mean data collected in 
an information system that may, in compliance with applicable 
confidentiality requirements, be shared with a program that considers 
the data useful for meeting goals or objectives. We provide examples of 
relevant data in the discussion of several of the bi-directional data 
exchange requirements.
    Six bi-directional data exchanges are unchanged from S/TACWIS 
regulatory requirements at Sec.  1355.53(b)(2) and five are new bi-
directional data exchanges, as shown in the following table.

 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Unchanged from  S/TACWIS  or
       CCWIS exchange with . . .                       new?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Title IV-E/IV-B financial system Sec.    Unchanged.
 1355.52(1)(i).
Child welfare contributing agencies      New.
 Sec.   1355.52(1)(ii).
Title IV-E eligibility Sec.              Unchanged.
 1355.52(1)(iii).
Other systems IV-E agency uses to        New.
 collect CCWIS data Sec.
 1355.52(1)(iv).
Child abuse and neglect system Sec.      Unchanged.
 1355.52(2)(i).
TANF (title IV-A) Sec.   1355.52(2)(ii)  Unchanged.
Medicaid eligibility (title XIX) Sec.    Unchanged.
 1355.52(2)(iii)(A).
Medicaid claims processing (title XIX)   New.
 Sec.   1355.52(2)(iii)(B).
Child support (title IV-D) Sec.          Unchanged.
 1355.52(2)(iv).
Courts Sec.   1355.52(2)(v)............  New.
Education Sec.   1355.52(2)(vi)........  New.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed bi-directional data exchanges are essential to:
     Support the efficient, economical, and effective 
administration of the titles IV-B and IV-E programs;
     Improve outcomes for children and families by promoting 
collaboration and service coordination with other programs;
     Gather comprehensive data on client histories, needs, and 
services;
     Eliminate duplicate work and service delivery across 
programs; and
     Reduce data collection costs.
    Consistent with regulations at Sec.  1355.53(a) requiring that a S/
TACWIS promote the effective, economical, and efficient management of 
the titles IV-B and IV-E programs, we propose to incorporate the 
regulatory requirement that permits a maximum of one bi-directional 
data exchange for each of the data exchange requirements. For example, 
a title IV-E agency could not build a dozen different bi-directional 
data exchanges to education systems used by school districts across the 
state or tribe. The agency could build a single education bi-
directional data exchange capable of exchanging data with systems in 
multiple school districts. It is also acceptable to build one bi-
directional data exchange that can meet the requirements of more than 
one of the required data exchanges. For example, a single exchange with 
a system supporting eligibility determinations for the title XIX and 
title IV-A programs may meet the requirements of the title XIX and 
title IV-A data exchanges.
    We also propose to incorporate the regulatory requirement at Sec.  
1355.53(b)(1) and policy in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05 specifying 
bi-directional data exchanges. This requirement means that the CCWIS 
must be capable of sending data to, and receiving data from the other 
system or systems participating in a bi-directional data exchange.
    Finally, title IV-E agencies often incorrectly assume they must 
modify their S/TACWIS to store data in the format of the data received 
via an

[[Page 48212]]

exchange. That is not a S/TACWIS requirement. We propose to maintain 
that flexibility by requiring in proposed new Sec.  1355.52(f) a single 
format for the exchange of information but continuing to allow data to 
be stored in the CCWIS database format.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(1), we propose that CCWIS must support one-
bi-directional data exchange to exchange relevant data with each of the 
systems in new Sec.  1355.52(e)(i) through (iv), if data is generated 
by a system outside of CCWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.52 (e)(1)(i), we propose a new requirement that 
CCWIS exchange data with systems generating financial payments and 
claims data for titles IV-B and IV-E, per Sec.  1355.52(b)(1)(ii), if 
applicable. By ``if applicable'' we mean that the CCWIS must have a bi-
directional data exchange if a system or module other than CCWIS 
generates financial payments and claims. If CCWIS generates the 
financial payments and claims, a bi-directional data exchange is not 
needed to provide the data to CCWIS.
    We propose this requirement because child welfare agencies generate 
large numbers of financial payments and the resulting data is needed 
for audit and claiming purposes. Entering this data into multiple 
information systems can introduce errors. Electronic bi-directional 
data exchanges eliminate these data re-entry errors, ensure that all 
systems are using the same data, and increase worker efficiency.
    This requirement incorporates current regulations at Sec.  
1355.53(b)(7) and S/TACWIS policy in Action Transmittal ACF-OISM-001. 
Current Sec.  1355.53(b)(7) requires S/TACWIS to support financial 
management functions such as payment authorization and issuance, review 
and management. Action Transmittal ACF-OISM-001 requires that these 
financial management functions either be implemented in S/TACWIS or in 
a separate system that exchanges data with S/TACWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(1)(ii), we propose a new requirement that 
the CCWIS must have a bi-directional data exchange with systems 
operated by child welfare contributing agencies that are collecting or 
using data described in Sec.  1355.52(b), if applicable. By ``if 
applicable'' we mean that the CCWIS must have a bi-directional data 
exchange if a system or module other than CCWIS is used to collect or 
generate the data. If CCWIS generates the required data for the entire 
population, a bi-directional data exchange is not needed to provide the 
data to CCWIS. An increasing number of title IV-E agencies contract 
with child welfare contributing agencies to provide a range of child 
welfare services, ranging from traditional supportive services and 
placements to case management. If a title IV-E agency contracts or has 
an agreement with a child welfare contributing agency to perform case 
management activities, we expect this exchange between the CCWIS and 
the contributing agency's system will avoid the need for duplicate data 
entry, which is monitored in the agencies data quality plan and 
reviews. If a child welfare contributing agency places children with 
multiple smaller providers, such as group homes, foster homes, or other 
institutions, the data exchange with the child welfare contributing 
agency that performs the case management activity and keeps records on 
the placements of its multiple providers will provide the required 
information. It is not necessary for CCWIS to exchange data with 
individual providers where the child is placed by the child welfare 
contributing agency.
    The required bi-directional data exchange ensures the CCWIS 
maintains comprehensive case records while providing child welfare 
contributing agencies with the data needed to support services to 
children and families in the child welfare program.
    The bi-directional data exchange should provide child welfare 
contributing agencies information with all available CCWIS data needed 
to administer the cases of children and families to whom they provide 
services.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(1)(iii), we propose a new requirement that 
the CCWIS must have a bi-directional exchange with each system used to 
calculate one or more components of title IV-E eligibility 
determinations per Sec.  1355.52(b)(1)(ii), if applicable. By ``if 
applicable'' we mean that the CCWIS must have a bi-directional data 
exchange if a system or module other than CCWIS generates the data. If 
CCWIS generates the required data, a bi-directional data exchange is 
not needed to provide the data to CCWIS.
    Title IV-E agencies may use other systems to support different 
steps in the title IV-E eligibility process. For example, court 
findings related to title IV-E eligibility may reside in the private 
provider's system; a licensing system may track foster home licenses; 
and a financial system may calculate compliance with the AFDC factors. 
In these examples, a bi-directional data exchange with each system is 
required to ensure CCWIS maintains all data related to title IV-E 
determinations.
    This requirement is consistent with current regulations at Sec.  
1355.53(b)(5) and (7) and S/TACWIS policy in Action Transmittal ACF-
OSS-005 issued August 21, 1998. Current Sec.  1355.53(b)(5) and (7) 
require S/TACWIS to support title IV-E eligibility determinations. 
Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-005 permits title IV-E agencies to use other 
systems to support title IV-E eligibility determinations provided the 
information is available to child welfare staff through the S/TACWIS.
    We propose this requirement to promote efficiency and ensure CCWIS 
maintains complete, timely, and accurate data on all title IV-E 
eligibility determinations if the information is not part of the CCWIS. 
Title IV-E agencies report that consolidating eligibility information 
and case management data in the same system improves program 
operations. However, data errors may be introduced if data generated by 
one system is manually re-entered in CCWIS. It is also inefficient to 
reenter data manually. This requirement to exchange data eliminates the 
errors and inefficiencies of manual reentry.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(1)(iv), we propose to require a bi-
directional data exchange between CCWIS and each system external to 
CCWIS used by title IV-E agency staff to collect CCWIS data, if 
applicable. By ``if applicable'' we mean that the CCWIS must have a bi-
directional data exchange if an external system used by title IV-E 
agency staff collects the data. If, for example, one external system 
conducts child assessments and a second external system collects NYTD 
survey data, CCWIS must have two bi-directional data exchanges. The bi-
directional data exchange supports efficient, economical, and effective 
work by automatically transferring CCWIS data between systems. This 
requirement is more flexible than the current S/TACWIS policy that does 
not permit external systems for the collection of CCWIS data.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2), we propose that, to the extent 
practicable, the IV-E agency must support one bi-directional data 
exchange to exchange relevant data with specified state or tribal 
systems. These are exchanges with titles IV-D, IV-A, XIX (two 
exchanges), courts, education, and the child abuse and neglect systems. 
The one bi-directional data exchange requirement means that if there 
are multiple systems supporting one program, the title IV-E agency 
should design one data exchange that accommodates the multiple systems. 
If this cannot be done, the title IV-E may present a business case in 
an APD describing the circumstances that make the data exchange 
impracticable, in accordance with section 474(a)(3)(C)(ii)

[[Page 48213]]

and (iii) of the Act. ``To the extent practicable'' means that the 
title IV-E agency does not have to support a bi-directional data 
exchange requirement if the other system is not capable of an exchange 
or if the bi-directional data exchange is not feasible due to cost 
constraints. This is consistent with the S/TACWIS requirement 
applicable to bi-directional data exchanges at Sec.  1355.53(b)(2) that 
must be implemented ``if practicable.'' To encourage the other programs 
to participate in bi-directional data exchanges with the title IV-E 
agency, we intend to provide technical assistance on each of the 
proposed data exchanges. This technical assistance will include 
information on the specific benefits the data exchange provides to both 
the title IV-E agency and the other programs.
    We note that CCWIS funding is available for enhancements to CCWIS 
to support the data exchange. This funding is not available for 
enhancing the other system exchanging data.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(i), we propose that the IV-E agency must 
support one bi-directional data exchange with the child abuse and 
neglect system(s), to the extent practicable. This incorporates the 
current requirement at Sec.  1355.53(b)(1)(ii) requiring a bi-
directional data exchange with the system(s) collecting data related to 
child abuse and neglect. Consistent with guidance in Action Transmittal 
ACF-OSS-05, this means that the bi-directional data exchange supports 
the automatic exchange of common or relevant data between the CCWIS and 
the child abuse and neglect system(s).
    Relevant data related to child abuse and neglect for the purposes 
of this requirement as listed in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05 includes 
screening, investigation, and assessment data collected during child 
abuse and neglect incidents as well as child welfare case management 
information related to prior or current child abuse and neglect cases.
    Most state title IV-E agencies, recognizing the close connection 
between child protection and child welfare services, opted to integrate 
child abuse and neglect functions into their SACWIS. Because of the 
success of this approach over the 20 year S/TACWIS history, ACF 
strongly encourages title IV-E agencies to build their CCWIS to 
integrate these two systems in order to exchange essential data.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(ii), we propose that the title IV-E 
agency must support one bi-directional data exchange with the system(s) 
operated under title IV-A of the Act, to the extent practicable. This 
proposed requirement continues the statutory provision requiring a bi-
directional data exchange with systems supporting the title IV-A (TANF) 
program. Consistent with guidance in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05, 
this means the bi-directional data exchange:
     Supports the automatic exchange of common or relevant data 
between the two systems;
     Accepts and processes new or updated case data; and
     Identifies potential duplicate payments under the title 
IV-E and title IV-A programs, if applicable.
    ``Relevant data,'' as listed in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05 for 
the purposes of this requirement, includes data that may benefit data 
exchange partners in serving clients and improving outcomes. Some 
examples of data title IV-E agencies report is beneficial include: Case 
management information such as child and family histories, assessments, 
contact notes, calendars, services recommended and delivered, 
eligibility for programs and services, and client outcomes. We 
encourage data exchange partners to learn about each other's programs 
and systems to identify relevant data that may be shared while 
complying with the applicable confidentiality requirements as described 
in new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2)(iii).
    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act 
of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-193) allows states and tribes to implement 
separate title IV-A programs within the jurisdiction and to administer 
the programs using a number of different information systems. In such 
circumstances, the CCWIS must have one bi-directional data exchange 
flexible enough to be used by the state or tribe's title IV-A programs 
with which the title IV-E agency exchanges data.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(iii), we propose that the title IV-E 
agency must support one bi-directional data exchange with systems 
operated under title XIX of the Act, to the extent practicable. First, 
we propose to incorporate the requirement at Sec.  1355.53(b)(2)(iii) 
and implemented in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05 requiring a bi-
directional data exchange with the Medicaid eligibility system. Second, 
we propose to add a requirement for a bi-directional data exchange with 
claims processing and information retrieval systems under title XIX. We 
discuss both requirements below.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(iii)(A), we propose to incorporate the 
requirement at existing Sec.  1355.53(b)(2)(iii) that the title IV-E 
agency must support one bi-directional data exchange with systems used 
to determine Medicaid eligibility, to the extent practicable. 
Consistent with guidance in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05, the bi-
directional data exchange:
     Provides for the exchange of information needed by the 
Medicaid eligibility system to calculate and track Medicaid eligibility 
for children in foster care;
     Allows for the automatic exchange of common or relevant 
data between the two systems; and
     Captures the data necessary to report AFCARS foster care 
data indicating whether the child is eligible for, or receiving 
assistance under title XIX.
    ``Relevant data'' for the purposes of this requirement includes 
data that may facilitate the timely provision of Medicaid insurance to 
children under the care and custody of the title IV-E agency. Some 
examples may include: Categorical title IV-E indicators, income and 
resources for the child and family, insurance coverage (other than 
Medicaid) that may apply to the child, and eligibility ID numbers and 
effective dates. We encourage data exchange partners to learn about 
each other's programs and systems to identify relevant data that may be 
shared while complying with the applicable confidentiality requirements 
as described in new Sec.  1355.52(d)(2)(iii).
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(iii)(B), we propose a new requirement 
that the title IV-E agency must support one bi-directional data 
exchange with the Medicaid mechanized claims processing and information 
retrieval systems as defined at 42 CFR 433.111(b), to the extent 
practicable.
    We are adding this requirement because recent studies indicate that 
the movement of foster children between placements and medical 
providers may make the provision of consistent, coordinated, and cost 
effective care difficult. Providers may be unable to access critical 
information, including information on chronic conditions, needed 
immunizations, and current medications. As a result, previously 
diagnosed conditions may go untreated, immunizations may be missed or 
unnecessarily repeated, and drug regimens, such as psychotropic 
medications, stopped or inappropriately modified. A bi-directional data 
exchange can provide information to promote quality health care for 
these children and reduce costs to both programs.
    This proposed new requirement means that the CCWIS maintains 
complete and current medical records on children in foster care.

[[Page 48214]]

    ``Relevant data'' for the purposes of this requirement includes 
data on services paid by the state, tribe, or other federal programs, 
including Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program that is 
available in the Medicaid mechanized claims processing and information 
retrieval system, and that facilitates coordinated delivery of health 
care to children under the care and custody of the title IV-E agency. 
As noted above, examples of relevant data may include medical 
appointment histories, immunizations, and prescription records.
    If the Medicaid eligibility and claims processing and information 
retrieval systems are integrated, we propose that these requirements 
may be met with one bi-directional data exchange to the single system. 
However, because these are substantially different bi-directional data 
exchanges, title IV-E agencies may build one bi-directional data 
exchange to meet the requirements of new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(iii)(A) 
and a second bi-directional data exchange to meet the requirements of 
new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(iii)(B) even if one Medicaid system performs 
all these functions.
    Finally, we note that a number of states have already implemented 
such exchanges to the benefit of the children in care.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(iv), we propose to incorporate the 
requirement at Sec.  1355.53(b)(2)(iv) that the title IV-E agency must 
support one bi-directional data exchange with system(s) operated under 
the title IV-D of the Act (child support), to the extent practicable. 
Consistent with guidance in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05, the bi-
directional data exchange:
     Provides for the exchange of data necessary to establish a 
child support case;
     Accurately records child support collections on 
appropriate title IV-E federal reports;
     Identifies potential child support resources for the title 
IV-E child;
     Allows for the automatic exchange of common or relevant 
data between the two systems;
     Accepts and processes updated or new case data;
     Captures the data necessary to report AFCARS foster care 
data indicating whether child support funds are being paid to the state 
agency on behalf of the child; and
     Provides the title IV-D system with information about the 
current foster care maintenance payment.
    ``Relevant data'' for the purposes of this requirement includes 
data that may facilitate timely identification of resources for 
children under the care and custody of the title IV-E agency. Examples 
may include family resources such as contact information for the non-
custodial parent and relatives that may be able to participate in 
family team meetings or as placement resources. The exchange may also 
facilitate establishment of a child support order, as appropriate, or 
the assignment of child support funds to the title IV-E agency on 
behalf of the child.
    For tribal title IV-E agencies, Part 1, Section A, Line 3 of the 
title IV-E federal reporting form CB-496, instructs tribes to leave the 
``Federal Share of Child Support Collections'' blank. This is because 
as of December 2014 there is no federal mechanism for tribes to report 
child support collections on behalf of title IV-E eligible children in 
placements. If a reporting mechanism becomes available in the future, 
this proposed regulation should be read consistent with updated 
regulation and policy.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(v), we propose a new requirement that 
the title IV-E agency must support one bi-directional data exchange 
with the systems operated by the court(s) of competent jurisdiction 
over the title IV-E foster care, adoption, and, guardianship programs, 
to the extent practicable.
    We propose this requirement because of the necessary partnership 
child welfare programs and the courts have in protecting the well-being 
of children and meeting statutory requirements under title IV-E. State 
or tribal courts with jurisdiction over the title IV-E foster care and 
adoption programs review the information provided by title IV-E 
agencies and approve or make other related legal determinations, 
including custody and placement activity. The courts are responsible 
for resolving a wide variety of issues with relevance to child welfare. 
Title IV- E of the Act requires that courts provide on-going oversight 
of child welfare cases to:
     Make a determination that it is ``contrary to the 
welfare'' for the child to remain in the home, and that removal by the 
child welfare agency is necessary to keep the child safe from abuse or 
neglect (section 472(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Act);
     Ensure that the child welfare agency makes reasonable 
efforts to avoid unnecessary removals of children from their homes and 
to reunify foster children with their families (section 
472(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Act);
     Finalize the child's permanency goal, whether it is 
reunification, guardianship, adoption, permanent placement with a 
relative, or another planned permanent living arrangement, within 12 
months of the date the child entered foster care and to assess progress 
toward that goal every 12 months after that the child remains in care 
(section 475(5)(C) of the Act);
     Determine whether a voluntary placement of a child with a 
child welfare agency continues to be in the best interest of the child 
within 180 days of placement (section 472(e) of the Act); and determine 
whether termination of parental rights is in the child's best interest 
(section 475(5)(C) and (E) of the Act).
    In many jurisdictions, courts currently obtain the case information 
for judicial determinations and reviews from written petitions and 
filings submitted by the title IV-E agency. Caseworkers document the 
outcome of judicial events and rulings and the issuance of court orders 
in children's case records. Much of this information is entered into 
child welfare information systems. A bi-directional data exchange 
between the CCWIS and courts can increase worker efficiency, enrich 
case information, improve case tracking, and promote safe and timely 
permanency decisions.
    This proposed requirement will support improved outcomes for 
children by:
     Providing courts with relevant data for child welfare 
hearings and decisions; and
     Providing the title IV-E agency with relevant data on 
hearing schedules, logistics, court findings, actions, and decisions.
    ``Relevant data'' for the purposes of this requirement includes 
data that may help improve case tracking and promote safe and timely 
permanency decisions. Examples may include petition dates, hearing 
dates and outcomes, documentation of timely completion of required 
actions by courts and the title IV-E agency, and documentation of 
upcoming court-related due dates.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(e)(2)(vi), we propose a new requirement that 
the title IV-E agency must support one bi-directional data exchange 
with the systems operated by the state or tribal education agency, or 
school districts, or both, to the extent practicable. The data exchange 
must comply with applicable confidentiality requirements in federal and 
other laws, such as the Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance 
Portability and Accountability Act, the Family Educational Rights and 
Privacy Act, and Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act.
    Title IV-E agencies must assure in the title IV-E plan that each 
child receiving a title IV-E payment and who has attained the age for 
compulsory school

[[Page 48215]]

attendance is a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school, 
in an authorized independent study program, or is home schooled 
consistent with the law of the state or other jurisdiction in which the 
school, program or home is located. Alternatively, the title IV-E 
agency must assure that such a child has completed secondary school or 
is incapable of attending school full time due to a medical condition 
as established in section 471(a)(30) of the Act.
    Child welfare agencies must also include in a child's case plan a 
strategy for ensuring the educational stability of a child in foster 
care as established in section 475(1)(G) of the Act. The plan must take 
into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and 
the proximity to the school the child was enrolled in at the time of 
placement, and the title IV-E agency must coordinate with the local 
education agency or agencies to ensure the child can remain in that 
school, or if remaining in that school is not in the best interests of 
the child, an assurance to enroll the child immediately in a new school 
with all of his or her educational records.
    Consistent with the requirements under title IV-E, recent 
amendments made to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 
by the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (Pub. L. 112-278) (U.S.A.), allow 
education agencies and institutions to disclose the education records 
of a child in foster care, without parental consent, to a caseworker or 
other representative of a state or local child welfare agency or tribal 
organization authorized to access a student's case plan ``when such 
agency or organization is legally responsible, in accordance with state 
or tribal law, for the care and protection of the student . . .'' 
pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 1232g(b)(1)(L). These changes are further 
described in May 27, 2014 guidance issued by the U.S. Department of 
Education (located at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/uninterrupted-scholars-act-guidance.pdf) regarding how the U.S.A. 
amended the confidentiality requirements in FERPA and Parts B and C of 
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
    As a result, bi-directional data exchanges between the CCWIS and 
education systems can facilitate interagency coordination and assist 
state title IV-E agencies and local educational agencies in meeting the 
obligations mandated by title IV-E of the Act. For example, educational 
data, such as attendance records, progress reports, and individualized 
education programs or individualized family service plans under the 
IDEA, may now be shared with a child welfare agency, and that can help 
title IV-E agencies improve monitoring and develop appropriate plans 
for educational stability. Child welfare data can inform schools of 
legal custody changes, the physical location of children, and assist 
with the development of appropriate education plans. A number of 
states, recognizing these advantages, have passed legislation or 
established polices supporting bi-directional data exchanges between 
child welfare and education systems.
    An electronic bi-directional data exchange will promote timeliness 
of data transfers, reduce administrative burden by eliminating the 
interim step of translating and importing data into separate systems, 
ensure standardization of data elements, streamline mandated 
administrative reporting, and provide access to standardized 
information that can be used for cross-systems, multi-level analyses.
    We acknowledge that states and tribes with de-centralized education 
systems may be challenged to build a single, bi-directional data 
exchange, and we look forward to providing technical assistance to 
state and tribal title IV-E agencies as they work to overcome these 
barriers and build exchanges with education system(s).
    In new Sec.  1355.52(f), we propose a new requirement that title 
IV-E agencies use a single data exchange standard for CCWIS electronic 
bi-directional data exchanges described in Sec.  1355.52(f)(1) through 
(3) upon implementing a CCWIS.
    The data exchange standard must describe the data, definitions, 
formats, and other specifications sending and receiving systems 
implement when exchanging data. This shared vocabulary improves 
collaboration and communication since partners know precisely what data 
to share and the meaning of data they receive. A data exchange standard 
may reduce costs as the standard may be reused for multiple exchanges 
and purposes. The standard applies only to the exchange and not to how 
the information is stored or collected in either the sending or 
receiving system.
    In response to our 2010 FR notice, we received comments requesting 
that ACF specify a data exchange standard. We do not propose to mandate 
the specific data exchange standard. Instead, we propose to allow title 
IV-E agencies the flexibility to implement a standard that best meets 
their needs. For example, the data exchange standard may be:
     Developed by the title IV-E agency;
     An existing standard selected by the title IV-E agency, 
such as the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM);
     Designated by the federal government, such as DHHS or the 
Office of Management and Budget; or
     Designated by the state or tribe for use by all programs 
within the state or tribal service area.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(f)(1), we propose to require that a single 
data exchange standard be used for electronic bi-directional data 
exchanges between CCWIS and each child welfare contributing agency.
    Implementing a common data exchange standard between the title IV-E 
agency and all child welfare contributing agencies ensures that all 
agencies know what data to share and the meaning of the data they 
receive. It also eliminates redundant work and supports coordinated 
services.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(f)(2), we propose to require that the data 
exchange standard must apply to internal data exchanges between CCWIS 
automated functions where at least one of the automated functions meets 
the requirements of Sec.  1355.53(a), which are our proposed new 
requirements for the design of CCWIS automated functions. For example, 
if the CCWIS intake, case management, and eligibility modules exchange 
data with each other, the data exchanges must conform to the data 
exchange standard specifications.
    A standardized data exchange between modules allows title IV-E 
agencies to more efficiently upgrade one module without changing other 
parts of the CCWIS sharing data with that module. The standard data 
exchange also helps document the module's operation and supports reuse. 
Modules using the same data exchange standard are more efficiently 
integrated into a single system, even if they are built by different 
developers or vendors.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(f)(3), we propose to require that the data 
exchange standard must apply for data exchanges with systems described 
under new Sec.  1355.52(e)(1)(iv). These are electronic systems 
external to CCWIS used by title IV-E agency staff to collect CCWIS 
data. A standardized data exchange between CCWIS and these external 
systems will enable the title IV-E agency to efficiently and 
economically exchange data thereby preventing duplicate data entry and 
promptly providing CCWIS and external systems with CCWIS data.
    Although our data exchange standard proposal applies to the three 
data exchanges specified above, we invite commenters to identify other 
entities, both within and across jurisdictions that

[[Page 48216]]

may benefit from a data exchange standard.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(g), we propose requirements for automated 
support for title IV-E eligibility determinations.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(g)(1), we propose to incorporate the 
requirement that a state title IV-E agency must use the same automated 
function or the same group of automated functions for all title IV-E 
eligibility determinations. This proposal is consistent with the 
existing S/TACWIS requirement at Sec.  1355.53(b)(5) and incorporates 
into regulation current guidance in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05 that 
specifies that the automated support for the title IV-E eligibility 
determination process is:
     Wholly provided by the CCWIS;
     Wholly provided by another system such as a larger system 
that determines eligibility for multiple programs; or
     Provided by different systems that have different steps of 
the title IV-E eligibility determination process. For example, the 
automated support for determining if a child meets the AFDC 
requirements may be located in the system supporting the title IV-A 
program while the remaining automated support is in the CCWIS.

States have the flexibility to choose from these three options, however 
we emphasize that the same automated function or group of automated 
functions must be used for all title IV-E eligibility determinations. 
For example, states may not use one automated function for determining 
the AFDC eligibility requirement for some children and a different 
automated function for determining the AFDC eligibility requirement for 
the remaining children in the state.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(g)(2), we propose to require that tribal title 
IV-E agencies, to the extent practicable, use the same automated 
function or the same group of automated functions for all title IV-E 
eligibility determinations. This includes, for example, eligibility 
determinations for the title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance and, 
if elected by the title IV-E agency, the guardianship assistance 
programs.
    Our proposal to require that tribal title IV-E agencies meet this 
provision ``to the extent practicable'' is a change from the S/TACWIS 
regulations at Sec.  1355.53(b)(5) that require tribal title IV-E 
agencies to use, without exception, at most one automated function to 
support each step in the eligibility determination process. We propose 
this exception because it may be unrealistic for tribal title IV-E 
agencies to implement one automated function to support each step of 
the eligibility determination process. For example, tribes are required 
by section 479B(c)(C)(ii)(II) of the Act to use the state AFDC plan 
that was in effect on July 16, 1996 of the state in which the child 
resides at the time of removal from the home to determine if the child 
meets the AFDC eligibility requirement. This means that tribal title 
IV-E agencies may need to use the AFDC plan from different states for 
different children, depending on the child's location at the time of 
removal. Therefore, it may not be cost effective for tribal title IV-E 
agencies to build an automated function to accommodate AFDC eligibility 
requirements of all states from which tribal children may be removed. 
However, if it is cost effective for a tribal title IV-E agency to 
automate other steps in the title IV-E eligibility process, those steps 
are expected to be automated.
    Guidance in Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05 regarding automated 
support for the title IV-E eligibility determination process also 
applies to tribal title IV-E agencies.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(h), we propose to require that the title IV-E 
agency must provide a copy of agency-owned software that is designed, 
developed, or installed with FFP and associated documentation to the 
designated federal repository upon ACF's request. This new requirement 
is a reasonable way to exercise our authority in 45 CFR 95.617(b) that 
provides the federal government ``a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and 
irrevocable license to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use and to 
authorize others to use for Federal Government purposes, such software, 
modifications, and documentation'' funded with FFP. Our proposed 
requirement is consistent with guidance issued by the Department, such 
as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Medicaid IT 
Supplement (MITS-11-01-v1.0): Enhanced Funding Requirements: Seven 
Conditions and Standards.
    This requirement means title IV-E agencies must provide copies of 
all software and associated documentation requested by ACF and 
developed with FFP. We anticipate using this requirement to deposit 
specific, tested, and proven CCWIS automated functions into a federal 
repository so that they may be shared and reused by other title IV-E 
agencies. For example, if a title IV-E agency adds software supporting 
a new safety assessment to the federal repository other title IV-E 
agencies using that safety assessment could access the software. In 
this way, the ability to reuse software modules may significantly 
reduce system development costs for the federal government, states, and 
tribes.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i), we propose to require the title IV-E 
agency to submit specific documentation for CCWIS projects.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1), we propose to require that before 
claiming funding in accordance with a CCWIS cost allocation, a title 
IV-E agency must submit an APD or, if below the APD submission 
thresholds defined at 45 CFR 95.611, a Notice of Intent. We propose to 
require that all projects must include the information described in 
this paragraph in its APD, or, if applicable Notice of Intent.
    This proposed Notice of Intent will provide ACF with advance notice 
that an agency intends to implement a CCWIS project. This advance 
notice is necessary so that ACF can plan for the funding anticipated 
for these projects and provide technical assistance as they proceed.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(i), we propose to require the title IV-E 
agency to include in the APD or Notice of Intent a project plan 
describing how the CCWIS will meet the requirements in Sec.  1355.52(a) 
through (h) and, if applicable, CCWIS options as described in Sec.  
1355.54.
    ACF will provide guidance to IV-E agencies required to submit a 
Notice of Intent to describe the desired scope of a project plan in 
these documents. The documents should describe the activities, 
timeline, resources, and budget to be used to plan, design, develop, 
and implement a CCWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(ii), we propose to require the APD or 
Notice of Intent include a list of all automated functions that will be 
included in the CCWIS.
    Providing this list in addition to the more detailed information 
required in new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(iii) at the start of a CCWIS 
project will help both ACF and the title IV-E agency to more reliably 
estimate project costs per CCWIS cost allocation requirements in Sec.  
1355.57.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(iii), we propose to require that the APD 
or Notice of Intent provide a notation whether each automated function 
listed in Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(ii) meets, or when implemented will meet, 
the requirements of Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(iii)(A) through (C). This 
proposed requirement will allow ACF and the title IV-E agency to 
determine which costs may qualify for CCWIS cost allocation throughout 
the development and operation of the CCWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(iii)(A), we propose to require that the 
title IV-E agency report in the APD or Notice of Intent whether an 
automated function

[[Page 48217]]

supports (or when implemented will support) at least one of the CCWIS 
requirements listed at Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable, CCWIS options 
as described in Sec.  1355.54. This requirement means that the title 
IV-E agency must indicate if the automated function supports the child 
welfare program. An automated function may support more than one CCWIS 
requirement.
    We propose to add this new requirement because automated functions 
that support the child welfare program may qualify for CCWIS cost 
allocation, per the requirements described in Sec.  1355.57. Providing 
additional detail to the list of automated functions will allow ACF and 
the title IV-E agency to more reliably estimate which project costs may 
qualify for CCWIS cost allocation.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(iii)(B), we propose to require that the 
title IV-E agency report in the APD or Notice of Intent whether an 
automated function is not (or when implemented will not be) duplicated 
within the CCWIS or systems supporting child welfare contributing 
agencies and is consistently used by all child welfare workers 
responsible for the area supported by the automated function.
    This requirement incorporates S/TACWIS policy in Action Transmittal 
ACF-OISM-001 into regulation. We propose to include this new 
requirement because it is not effective, economical, or efficient to 
fund the implementation of automated functions that are duplicated or 
not consistently used by all users performing the function. For 
example, supporting a different risk assessment tool across multiple 
systems used by contracted providers and the CCWIS would not be an 
efficient use of CCWIS funding.
    Providing this additional detail to the list of automated functions 
will allow ACF and the title IV-E agency to more reliably estimate 
which project costs may qualify for CCWIS cost allocation.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(iii)(C), we propose a new requirement 
that the title IV-E agency report in the APD or Notice of Intent 
whether an automated function complies (or when implemented will 
comply) with CCWIS design requirements described under Sec.  
1355.53(a), unless exempted in accordance with Sec.  1355.53(b). We 
propose to add this requirement because automated functions that comply 
with CCWIS design requirements may qualify for CCWIS cost allocation. 
Providing this additional detail to the list of automated functions 
will allow ACF and the title IV-E agency to more reliably estimate 
which project costs may qualify for CCWIS cost allocation.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(2), we propose to require title IV-E 
agencies to submit new information in their annual Operational APDs and 
Annual APD Updates for all CCWIS projects.
    In new Sec.  1355.52 (i)(2)(i), we propose to require that the 
Annual APD Update or Operational APD must include an updated list of 
automated functions included in CCWIS. This is a new requirement. We 
propose to require an updated list each year because changes to CCWIS 
may affect the number of automated functions included in CCWIS and 
eligible for CCWIS funding. Receiving updated information regarding 
automated functions allows ACF to monitor progress and adjust the CCWIS 
cost allocation, if necessary, to account for changes in whether new or 
existing automated functions comply with the requirements listed in 
Sec.  1355.52(i)(2)(ii) and (iii).
    In new Sec.  1355.52(i)(2)(ii), we propose a new requirement that 
the title IV-E agency provide updates in the Annual APD Update or 
Operational APD including a notation whether each automated function 
listed in Sec.  1355.52(i)(2)(i) meets (or when implemented will meet) 
the requirements of Sec.  1355.52(i)(1)(iii)(B).
    This requirement incorporates S/TACWIS policy from Action 
Transmittal ACF-OISM-001 into regulation. We propose to include this 
new reporting requirement because it is not effective, economical, or 
efficient to fund the implementation of automated functions that are 
either duplicated or not consistently used by all users performing the 
function.
    In new paragraph (i)(2)(iii), we propose to require that that the 
title IV-E agency report in the Annual APD Update or Operational APD a 
description of any changes to the scope or the design criteria 
described at Sec.  1355.53(a) for any automated function listed in 
Sec.  1355.52(i)(2)(i). This information is necessary to determine the 
appropriate cost allocation for automated functions, because complying 
with CCWIS design requirements is one of the criteria to determine if 
an automated function may qualify for CCWIS cost allocation.
    In new Sec.  1355.52(j), we propose a new requirement that a title 
IV-E agency claiming title IV-E FFP for CCWIS projects below the APD 
submission thresholds at 45 CFR 95.611, will be subject to certain 
portions of the APD rules that we have determined are necessary for 
effective project management.
    These rules are a subset of 45 CFR part 95, subpart F that apply 
controls to projects using FFP for the planning, design, development, 
implementation, operations and maintenance of automated data processing 
systems. These rules cover requirements that fall under the following 
topics:
     95.613--Procurement standards;
     95.615--Access to systems and records;
     95.617--Software and ownership rights;
     95.619--Use of Automated Data Processing (ADP) systems;
     95.621--Automated Data Processing (ADP) Reviews;
     95.626--Independent Verification and Validation;
     95.627--Waivers;
     95.631--Cost identification for purpose of FFP claims;
     95.633--Nondiscrimination requirements;
     95.635--Disallowance of FFP for automated systems that 
fail to comply substantially with requirements; and
     95.641--Applicability of rules for charging equipment in 
Subpart G.
    CCWIS projects claiming title IV-E FFP, with costs above the 
thresholds in Sec.  95.611 (currently $5 million total project cost) 
continue to be subject to all of the provisions of 45 CFR part 95, 
subpart F, including submission of APDs. For these over threshold 
projects, application of the APD rules will not change.
    We note that this proposed rule does not cite all federal laws 
relevant to information technology. For example, title IV-E agencies 
should ensure compliance with federal and state or tribal laws related 
to data privacy and confidentiality, such as: the Gramm-Leach-Bliley 
Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Health Information 
Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the Federal 
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Sec.  1355.53--CCWIS Design Requirements

    In revised Sec.  1355.53, we propose new requirements for the 
design of CCWIS automated functions. This is a change from S/TACWIS 
regulations, which do not specify design requirements for S/TACWIS 
automated functions. In revised Sec.  1355.53(a), we list the proposed 
design requirements. We propose these requirements to ensure that 
federal investments in information technology projects are efficient, 
economical, and effective in supporting programs. In revised Sec.  
1355.53(b), we propose to exempt CCWIS automated functions from one or 
more of the CCWIS design requirements in Sec.  1355.53(a) under certain 
conditions.

[[Page 48218]]

We discuss the two proposed exemptions below.
    Our proposed design requirements are consistent with several 
requirements in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) 
Final Rule--Medicaid Program: Federal Funding for Medicaid Eligibility 
Determination and Enrolment Activities issued on April 19, 2011 in 76 
FR 21905 through 21975. Establishing design requirements consistent 
with CMS guidance will reduce duplication across information systems 
and increase opportunities for states and tribes to share and benefit 
from technology innovations.
    In new Sec.  1355.53(a)(1), we propose a new requirement that CCWIS 
automated functions must follow a modular design that includes the 
separation of business rules from core programming.
    By ``modular'' we mean a software development approach that breaks 
down complex program functions into separate manageable components with 
well-defined methods of communicating with other components. We propose 
this requirement because designing custom and highly specialized 
business processes to be independent and exchanging information by 
clear methods will allow title IV-E agencies to change one component of 
their CCWIS without modifying other processes or services. This will 
make subsequent CCWIS development and maintenance more efficient and 
economical. ACF will provide additional guidance on the design 
requirements to explain the efficiencies that may be gained if a title 
IV-E agency develops or licenses automated functions that:
    1. May be reused in other automated processes requiring the same 
functions or services;
    2. Are easier to maintain and enhance than large complex 
interlocking systems; and
    3. Can be reliably connected to other automated functions without 
extensive re-testing of their internal processes.
    ACF will consider the potential for re-use, ease of maintenance, 
and reliability to determine whether automated functions in a CCWIS 
comply with this requirement.
    In new Sec.  1355.53(a)(2), we propose a new requirement that title 
IV-E agencies must document automated functions contained in a CCWIS 
using plain language. By ``plain language'' we mean written 
communication using English, free of unexplained information technology 
jargon.
    We propose this requirement because title IV-E agencies need 
complete and clear documentation, both in internal explanations of code 
and external documentation, for their information systems to promote 
re-usability and integrate an automated function into an existing 
system. Title IV-E agencies report that it is difficult to train new 
staff without complete and clear documentation and poorly documented 
systems are difficult to maintain.
    This proposed requirement means that child welfare programmatic 
staff will be able to understand the meaning and purpose of an 
automated function from the documentation. The documentation should be 
complete so that technical staff unfamiliar with an automated function 
can understand, maintain, and enhance the automated function. Although 
we expect the documentation to include detailed technical 
specifications, it should include keys or other features to prevent 
misinterpretation.
    As part of our reviews in proposed Sec.  1355.55, ACF may review 
documentation to confirm compliance with this requirement.
    In new Sec.  1355.53(a)(3), we propose a new requirement that 
automated functions contained in CCWIS must adhere to a state, tribal, 
or industry defined standard that promotes efficient, economical, and 
effective development of automated functions and produce reliable 
systems.
    This proposed requirement means that the title IV-E agency will use 
a development standard consistently for the documentation, design, 
development, testing, implementation, and maintenance of CCWIS 
automated functions. The standard may be selected by the title IV-E 
agency or it may be a standard that the state or tribe requires all 
information technology projects to follow.
    ACF will evaluate the title IV-E agency's compliance with the 
selected standard as part of our reviews per proposed Sec.  1355.55 to 
determine if the agency meets this requirement.
    In new Sec.  1355.53(a)(4), we propose a new requirement that CCWIS 
automated functions be capable of being shared, leveraged, and reused 
as a separate component within and among states and tribes. Title IV-E 
agencies share common goals, policies, and practices, which provide 
opportunities for sharing successful technology solutions that support 
their child welfare business practices. Promoting the development of 
automated functions in the CCWIS that may be reused and shared among 
states and tribes can save development costs and time.
    This proposed requirement means that the title IV-E agency will 
develop CCWIS automated functions, with associated documentation, that 
could be used in another state or tribal modularly-designed system.
    In revised Sec.  1355.53(b), we propose to exempt CCWIS automated 
functions from one or more of the CCWIS design requirements in Sec.  
1355.53(a) under certain conditions. We discuss the two proposed 
exemptions below.
    In revised Sec.  1355.53(b)(1), we propose to exempt CCWIS 
automated functions from one or more of the CCWIS design requirements 
in Sec.  1355.53(a) if the CCWIS project meets the requirements of 
Sec.  1355.56(b) or 1355.56(f)(1). We are proposing this exemption so 
that title IV-E agencies do not have to replace existing automated 
functions of S/TACWIS and non-S/TACWIS projects transitioning to CCWIS 
if the automated functions do not meet the proposed design requirements 
of Sec.  1355.53(a). This may reduce the costs of transitioning these 
systems to CCWIS.
    In revised Sec.  1355.53(b)(2), we propose to exempt CCWIS 
automated functions from one or more of the CCWIS design requirements 
in Sec.  1355.53(a) if ACF approves, on a case-by-case basis, an 
alternative design proposed by a title IV-E agency that is determined 
by ACF to be more efficient, economical, and effective than what is 
found in paragraph (a). ACF will review and may approve requests for an 
exemption of paragraph (a) on a case-by-case basis.
    We offer this exemption to accommodate technological advances that 
may provide new approaches, which are different from the requirements 
of Sec.  1355.53(a), to design systems more efficiently, economically, 
and effectively. This allows title IV-E agencies to take advantage of 
such technological advances that meet CCWIS requirements.
    An exemption may excuse a title IV-E agency from any or all 
requirements of Sec.  1355.53(a). For example, the title IV-E agency 
may propose an approach different from the modular design requirement 
of Sec.  1355.53(a)(1). If the title IV-E agency provides sufficient 
evidence that the alternative design approach delivers more efficient, 
economical, and effective results than Sec.  1355.53(a)(1), ACF may 
exempt the title IV-E agency from Sec.  1355.53(a)(1) and permit the 
agency to substitute the alternative design approach. Under this 
scenario, the other CCWIS design requirements remain in effect. If a 
design waiver is approved by ACF, CCWIS operational and development 
funding will be available.

Sec.  1355.54--CCWIS Options

    In revised Sec.  1355.54, we propose that if a project meets, or 
when completed will meet, the requirements of

[[Page 48219]]

Sec.  1355.52, then ACF may approve CCWIS funding described at Sec.  
1355.57 for other ACF-approved data exchanges or automated functions 
that are necessary to achieve title IV-E or IV-B programs goals. This 
is consistent with S/TACWIS regulations at Sec.  1355.53(c) and (d) 
that provide S/TACWIS funding for specified optional data exchanges and 
automated functions. An example of an optional exchange could be the 
implementation of a data exchange with the Social Security 
Administration to support timely automated verification of social 
security numbers and identification of client benefit information. An 
example of optional automated functions could be the implementation of 
intake and investigation functions as a component of the CCWIS.
    This proposal means that CCWIS funding may be available to support 
the development and operation of optional data exchange or automated 
functions, provided that:
     It is part of a CCWIS project that meets, or when 
completed will meet, the requirements of Sec.  1355.52 by supporting 
either an implemented CCWIS or an ACF-approved CCWIS project under 
development;
     It can qualify for the CCWIS cost allocation as described 
in Sec.  1355.57;
     The title IV-E agency submits a business case to ACF for 
prior approval that explains how the automated function or data 
exchange supports a specific title IV-B or IV-E program goal; and
     It is approved by ACF.
    Consistent with S/TACWIS regulations at Sec. Sec.  1355.53(d) and 
1355.57(a) and APD regulations at 45 CFR 95.631, CCWIS cost allocation 
may be available for the planning, design, development, installation, 
operations and maintenance of the CCWIS portion of approved optional 
data exchanges. CCWIS funding is not available for work completed on 
other systems, including those systems exchanging data with CCWIS.

Sec.  1355.55--Review and Assessment of CCWIS Projects

    In revised Sec.  1355.55 we propose that ACF will review, assess, 
and inspect the planning, design, development, installation, operation, 
and maintenance of each CCWIS project on a continuing basis, in 
accordance with APD requirements in 45 CFR part 95, subpart F, to 
determine the extent to which the project meets the requirements in 
Sec. Sec.  1355.52, 1355.53, 1355.56, and, if applicable, Sec.  
1355.54. This is consistent with current S/TACWIS regulations at 45 CFR 
1355.55 and APD regulations at 45 CFR part 95, subpart F. Our reviews 
will evaluate aspects of the system such as: system functionality, 
CCWIS design requirements, data quality requirements, and compliance 
with data exchange standards, as well as the requirements specific to 
new CCWIS projects and projects transitioning to CCWIS as described in 
the proposed sections on funding, cost allocation, and submission 
requirements which are Sec. Sec.  1355.52, 1355.53, 1355.56, and, if 
applicable, Sec.  1355.54.
    We propose to incorporate this requirement because ACF has 
responsibility to monitor and support activities funded with FFP. It is 
important to validate that the state or tribe's system is complete, 
fulfills the approved development and operational goals laid out in the 
APD or Notice of Intent, and that it conforms to relevant regulations 
and policies. The review process may also help the state or tribe to: 
document that the system meets federal requirements, identify system 
deficiencies, determine necessary corrective actions, and obtain 
technical assistance as needed.

Sec.  1355.56--Requirements for S/TACWIS and Non-S/TACWIS Projects 
During and After the Transition Period

    In revised Sec.  1355.56, we propose new transition requirements 
that will apply to existing S/TACWIS and non-S/TACWIS projects (as 
defined at Sec.  1355.51). Some requirements, as specified below, apply 
only during the transition period (defined at Sec.  1355.51 as 24 
months from the effective date of the final rule); other requirements 
apply both during and after the transition period. We intend for title 
IV-E agencies to use the transition period to evaluate the feasibility 
of using their legacy applications as the foundation of a CCWIS.
    A title IV-E agency may preserve information technology investments 
in a S/TACWIS or non-S/TACWIS system or project by using that system or 
project as the foundation of a CCWIS. Portions of such a system may 
already meet some CCWIS requirements, and the title IV-E agency may 
enhance the system to meet the remaining CCWIS requirements. However, a 
title IV-E agency with a S/TACWIS or non-S/TACWIS is not required to 
use that system as the foundation of a CCWIS. The agency may implement 
a new CCWIS at any time during or after the transition period.
    In revised Sec.  1355.56(a), we propose that during the transition 
period a title IV-E agency with a S/TACWIS project may continue to 
claim title IV-E funding according to the cost allocation methodology 
approved by ACF for development or the operational cost allocation plan 
approved by the Department, or both. This is permitted for active S/
TACWIS projects as defined in Sec.  1355.51. The title IV-E funding 
continues according to the developmental cost allocation methodology 
approved by ACF for development or the operational cost allocation plan 
approved by Cost Allocation Services (CAS) within the Department, or 
both. We propose this requirement to provide title IV-E agencies with a 
period of uninterrupted funding sufficient to make a determination 
about how to proceed under the CCWIS rules and whether to transition 
their existing system to a CCWIS. The title IV-E agency must submit 
proposed changes to their development or operational cost allocation 
methodologies either in an APD (for development) or for states, a cost 
allocation plan amendment (for operations). The changes must be 
approved by ACF or CAS respectively. There are no tribal title IV-E 
agencies that currently have an active TACWIS. If this occurs, a tribe 
may submit an APD for development costs, if required, or a cost 
allocation methodology amendment for operational costs. ACF will offer 
technical assistance to title IV-E agencies during the transition 
period.
    In revised Sec.  1355.56(b), we propose that a S/TACWIS project 
must meet the submission requirements of Sec.  1355.52(i)(1) during the 
transition period to qualify for the CCWIS cost allocation methodology 
described in Sec.  1355.57(a) after the transition period. This means 
the title IV-E agency must submit an APD or Notice of Intent as 
described at Sec.  1355.52(i)(1) during the transition period, 
notifying ACF of their intent to transition the S/TACWIS to a CCWIS, in 
order to qualify for the CCWIS cost allocation methodology in Sec.  
1355.57(a) after the transition period. This is a new requirement that 
only applies if a title IV-E agency has a S/TACWIS project that the 
agency intends to transition to a CCWIS and claim title IV-E funds 
according to the CCWIS cost allocation methodology after the transition 
period.
    In new Sec.  1355.56(c), we propose that a title IV-E agency with a 
S/TACWIS may request approval to initiate a new CCWIS and qualify for 
the CCWIS cost allocation methodology described in Sec.  1355.57(b) by 
meeting the submission requirements of Sec.  1355.52(i)(1). This means 
the title IV-E agency must submit an APD or Notice of Intent as 
required in Sec.  1355.52(i)(1). Title IV-E agencies that choose to 
implement a

[[Page 48220]]

CCWIS will have the flexibility to receive CCWIS funding if they start 
a new CCWIS project rather than transition their existing S/TACWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.56(d), we propose new requirements for a title 
IV-E agency that elects not to transition a S/TACWIS project to a CCWIS 
project.
    In new Sec.  1355.56(d)(1), we propose that a title IV-E agency 
must notify ACF in an APD or Notice of Intent submitted during the 
transition period of this election not to transition a S/TACWIS project 
to a CCWIS project.
    In new Sec.  1355.56(d)(2), we propose to require that the title 
IV-E agency that elects not to transition its S/TACWIS must continue to 
use S/TACWIS throughout its life expectancy in accordance with 45 CFR 
95.619. The life expectancy is the length of time before the system may 
be retired or replaced as determined in APD submissions.
    Title IV-E agencies that do not elect during the transition period 
to transition their S/TACWIS systems to a CCWIS may seek title IV-E 
reimbursement for administrative costs, including system development, 
under section 474(a)(3)(E) after the transition period ends. However, 
it is important that the title IV-E agency submit the APD or Notice of 
Intent as required in Sec.  1355.56(d), so that the title IV-E agency 
can reclassify a S/TACWIS project to non-CCWIS projects without the 
risk of having to repay the costs invested in the project, as discussed 
in Sec.  1355.56(e).
    In new Sec.  1355.56(e), we propose to incorporate the S/TACWIS 
requirement at Sec.  1355.56(b)(4) allowing for recoupment of FFP for 
failure to meet the conditions of the approved APD. In our proposed 
requirement a title IV-E agency that elects not to transition its S/
TACWIS project to a CCWIS and fails to meet the requirements of 
paragraph (d) is subject to funding recoupment described under Sec.  
1355.58(d). ACF may recoup all title IV-E FFP provided for the S/TACWIS 
project. This recoupment requirement is described in Sec.  1355.58(d) 
that applies to non-compliant CCWIS projects and is consistent with S/
TACWIS requirements.
    In new Sec.  1355.56(f), we propose that a title IV-E agency with a 
non-S/TACWIS (as defined in Sec.  1355.51) that elects to build a CCWIS 
or transition to a CCWIS must meet the submission requirement of Sec.  
1355.52(i)(1). This means the title IV-E agency must submit an APD or 
Notice of Intent at the times described in Sec.  1355.52(f)(1) and (2).
    In new Sec.  1355.56(f)(1), we propose that the APD or Notice of 
Intent must be submitted during the transition period to qualify for a 
CCWIS cost allocation as described at Sec.  1355.57(a).
    In new Sec.  1355.56(f)(2), we propose that a title IV-E agency may 
submit an APD or, if applicable, a Notice of Intent at any time to 
request approval to initiate a new CCWIS and qualify for a CCWIS cost 
allocation as described at Sec.  1355.57(b).
    The title IV-E agency must notify ACF that they intend to 
transition to a CCWIS in a manner that meets the submission 
requirements at Sec.  1355.52(i)(1).

Sec.  1355.57--Cost Allocation for CCWIS Projects

    In revised Sec.  1355.57 we propose cost allocation requirements 
for CCWIS projects.
    We are providing the following table to summarize the costs that 
may be allocated to title IV-E using the three different cost 
allocation methodologies described in this proposed section (CCWIS 
development, CCWIS operational, and non-CCWIS cost allocation). The 
table also references paragraphs of the proposed regulation related to 
each methodology. This table is for illustrative purposes and is not 
intended to address all cost allocation scenarios.

                                       Costs Allocated to Title IV-E Using Proposed Cost Allocation Methodologies
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       Allocate costs to title IV-E, if costs benefit . . .
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                        both title IV-E
                                                                                                                                       and child welfare
                                                                                                state or tribal                        related programs
                                                                           title IV-E funded        funded                            (at this time, ACF
        Cost allocation methodology         Applicable  regulations  for    participants in     participants of                         only classifies
                                                  each  methodology           title IV-E         programs and         title IV-B       juvenile justice
                                                                             programs and         activities           programs.           and adult
                                                                              activities.        described in                             protective
                                                                                                  title IV-E.                          services as child
                                                                                                                                        welfare related
                                                                                                                                          programs).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CCWIS development.........................  1355.57(a)(2), (b), (c),                [check]             [check]             [check]             [check]
                                             (e)(1), & (e)(2).
CCWIS operational.........................  1355.57(a)(2), (b), (c), &              [check]             [check]   ..................  ..................
                                             (e)(1).
Non-CCWIS (development and operational)...  1355.57(f)..................            [check]   ..................  ..................  ..................
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These proposed regulations are similar to S/TACWIS cost allocation 
requirements, which permit title IV-E agencies to allocate title IV-E 
system costs that support all participants of programs and activities 
described in title IV-E. CCWIS also incorporates the same development 
and operational cost allocation as S/TACWIS.
    The proposed regulations provide a cost allocation incentive to 
build automated functions meeting the CCWIS requirements. As noted in 
the above table, the non-CCWIS cost allocation is the least beneficial 
to the title IV-E agency.
    The proposed CCWIS cost allocation requirements provide title IV-E 
agencies with new flexibility to build a CCWIS supporting their 
specific program and circumstances while still qualifying for CCWIS 
cost allocation. Specifically, CCWIS cost allocation is available for 
automated functions and approved activities meeting CCWIS requirements. 
Automated functions and activities not meeting CCWIS requirements may 
qualify for a non-CCWIS cost allocation. For example, a title IV-E 
agency may build a system that partially qualifies for the CCWIS cost 
allocation, while the remaining parts of the system do not.
    This approach is a change from S/TACWIS regulations, which require 
a title IV-E agency to implement a system providing all mandatory S/
TACWIS functionality to qualify for S/TACWIS cost allocation. If a 
single mandatory functional requirement, such as the

[[Page 48221]]

required case management screens and functions, is not supported by S/
TACWIS, then the entire system, including components meeting S/TACWIS 
requirements, does not qualify for S/TACWIS cost allocation and ACF 
classifies the application as non-S/TACWIS.
    In revised Sec.  1355.57(a), we propose cost allocation 
requirements for projects transitioning to CCWIS. Transitioning 
projects may be either a S/TACWIS or a non-S/TACWIS project that meets 
the definitions in Sec.  1355.51(i)(1).
    In new Sec.  1355.57(a)(1), we propose a requirement that all 
automated functions developed after the transition period for projects 
meeting the submission requirements in Sec.  1355.56(b) or 
1355.56(f)(1) must meet the CCWIS design requirements described under 
Sec.  1355.53(a), unless exempted by Sec.  1355.53(b)(2). Our proposed 
regulations provide a transition period to accommodate title IV-E 
agencies with existing systems that may transition to CCWIS. After the 
transition period, new development in these systems must comply with 
CCWIS design requirements under Sec.  1355.53(a), unless exempted by 
Sec.  1355.53(b)(2).
    In new Sec.  1355.57(a)(2), we propose two requirements an 
automated function of a project transitioning to CCWIS must meet in 
order for the Department to consider approving the applicable CCWIS 
cost allocation. The department will apply the definitions of 
``development'' and ``operation'' in 45 CFR 95.605 to determine if the 
applicable CCWIS cost allocation for automated function costs is CCWIS 
development cost allocation or CCWIS operational cost allocation. ACF 
is authorized to approve state and tribal development cost allocation 
methodologies. CAS is authorized to approve operational cost allocation 
methodologies for states. The Department approves operational cost 
allocation methodologies for tribes.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(a)(2)(i), we propose that an automated 
function must support programs authorized under titles IV-B or IV-E, 
and at least one requirement in Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable Sec.  
1355.54. This proposed requirement is consistent with established cost 
allocation regulations and policies at 45 CFR 95.631, 1356.60(d)(2) and 
45 CFR part 75 (45 CFR part 75 superseded OMB Circular A-87). These 
regulations and policies require system costs be allocated to the 
benefiting programs.
    This means that the automated function must support the programs 
authorized under title IV-B or title IV-E (including the John H. 
Chaffee Foster Care Independence program), in addition to at least one 
requirement at Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable Sec.  1355.54.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(a)(2)(ii), we propose that an automated 
function also must not be duplicated within either the CCWIS or systems 
supporting the child welfare contributing agency and be consistently 
used by all child welfare workers responsible for the area supported by 
the automated function. Automated functions of a CCWIS that do not meet 
this requirement but support title IV-E programs or services may 
qualify for non-CCWIS cost allocation as described in Sec.  1355.57(f).
    While similar to the S/TACWIS policy in Action Transmittal ACF-
OISM-001, this requirement is more flexible than the current policy 
that requires that the entire S/TACWIS be used for all child welfare 
tasks in the state or tribal service area.
    In revised Sec.  1355.57(b), we propose cost allocation 
requirements for new CCWIS projects. A new CCWIS project is one that 
starts after the effective date of the final rule and will meet the 
CCWIS project requirements of Sec. Sec.  1355.52 and 1355.53(a). We use 
the term ``New CCWIS Project,'' which is defined in Sec.  1355.51, to 
distinguish these projects from S/TACWIS or non/S/TACWIS projects that 
began before the effective date of the final rule.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(b)(1), we propose that unless ACF grants the 
title IV-E agency an exemption in accordance with Sec.  1355.53(b)(2), 
all automated functions of a new CCWIS project must meet all the CCWIS 
design requirements described under Sec.  1355.53(a) to qualify for 
CCWIS cost allocation. By this we mean, if all automated functions of a 
project that the IV-E agency plans to implement as new CCWIS, do not 
meet the requirement at Sec.  1355.53(a) and are not exempt from those 
requirements by Sec.  1355.53(b)(2), the project may not be classified 
a new CCWIS.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(b)(2), we propose the requirements an 
automated function must meet so that it may qualify for CCWIS cost 
allocation.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(b)(2)(i), we propose that an automated 
function must support programs authorized under titles IV-B or IV-E, 
and at least one requirement of Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable Sec.  
1355.54. This is similar to the proposed requirement for CCWIS 
development cost allocation in Sec.  1355.57(a)(2)(i).
    This means that the automated function must support programs 
authorized under title IV-B or title IV-E (including the John H. 
Chaffee Foster Care Independence program), in addition to at least one 
requirement at Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable Sec.  1355.54 to qualify 
for CCWIS cost allocation.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(b)(2)(ii), we propose that an automated 
function must not be duplicated within the CCWIS or other systems 
supporting child welfare contributing agencies and be consistently used 
by all child welfare users responsible for the area supported by the 
automated function.
    While similar to the S/TACWIS policy in Action Transmittal ACF-
OISM-001, this requirement is more flexible than the current policy 
that requires that the entire S/TACWIS be used for all child welfare 
tasks in the state or tribal service area.
    CCWIS automated functions not meeting this requirement but that 
support title IV-E programs or services may qualify for non-CCWIS cost 
allocation as described in Sec.  1355.57(f).
    In new Sec.  1355.57(c), we propose a new requirement consistent 
with the APD rule at 45 CFR part 95 subpart F that the Department may 
approve a CCWIS cost allocation for an approved activity for a CCWIS 
project meeting the requirements of Sec.  1355.57(a) (transitioning 
projects) or (b) (new CCWIS projects).
    Approved activities may be directly associated with an automated 
function, such as requirements gathering sessions, meetings to design 
screens, or writing test plans. However, certain automated systems 
related activities that are not directly linked to developing, 
implementing, or operating an automated function may also qualify for 
CCWIS cost allocation. Examples include developing the data quality 
plan, and conducting data quality reviews. ACF plans to issue guidance 
on approved activities.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(d), we propose a requirement that the title 
IV-E agency must allocate project costs in accordance with applicable 
HHS regulations and guidance. This requirement is consistent with 
current regulations at 45 CFR 95.631 and 45 CFR 95.503 as well as 45 
CFR part 75.
    We propose this requirement because our experience with title IV-E 
agencies on S/TACWIS reviews indicate that they frequently integrate 
child welfare information systems into enterprise systems shared with 
other health and human services programs. For example, a state or tribe 
may have one system supporting the child welfare, juvenile justice, and 
child support programs. We encourage this strategy to improve program 
collaboration and reduce system development costs.
    However, this proposed requirement clarifies the order in which 
project costs must be allocated to be consistent with

[[Page 48222]]

applicable regulations and HHS policy. Specifically, we propose to 
require that the title IV-E agency must allocate project costs so as to 
identify child welfare and non-child welfare benefiting components. Any 
project costs assigned as non-child welfare costs must be allocated to 
all benefiting programs (including other health and human service 
programs). Project costs assigned as child welfare costs are subject to 
allocation according to the specific CCWIS or non-CCWIS cost allocation 
requirements of this section.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(e), we propose cost allocation requirements 
for CCWIS development and operational costs. This proposal means that 
title IV-E agencies will be able to continue to receive the favorable 
cost allocation available to S/TACWIS projects for CCWIS projects 
meeting the requirements of Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 1355.57.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(e)(1), we propose to allow a title IV-E agency 
to allocate CCWIS development and operational costs to title IV-E for 
approved system activities and automated functions that meet three 
requirements as described in Sec.  1355.57(e)(1)(i), (ii), and (iii).
    We propose in new Sec.  1355.57(e)(1)(i) that the costs are 
approved by the Department.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(e)(1)(ii), we propose that the costs meet the 
requirements of Sec.  1355.57(a) (transitioning projects), (b) (new 
CCWIS projects), or (c) (approved activities).
    In new Sec.  1355.57(e)(1)(iii), we propose that the share of costs 
for system approved activities and automated functions that benefit 
federal, state or tribal funded participants in programs and allowable 
activities described in title IV-E of the Act may be allocated to the 
title IV-E program. Therefore, system costs benefiting children in 
foster care, adoptive, or guardianship programs, regardless of title 
IV-E eligibility, may be allocated to title IV-E.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(e)(2), we propose to allow title IV-E agencies 
to also allocate additional CCWIS development costs to title IV-E for 
the share of system approved activities and automated functions that 
meet requirements in Sec.  1355.57(e)(1)(i) and (ii). These additional 
costs are described in new Sec.  1355.57(e)(2)(i) and (ii).
    In new Sec.  1355.57(e)(2)(i), we propose that CCWIS development 
costs benefiting title IV-B programs may be allocated to title IV-E.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(e)(2)(ii), we propose that CCWIS development 
costs benefiting both title IV-E and child welfare related programs may 
be allocated to title IV-E. At this time, ACF only classifies juvenile 
justice and adult protective services as child welfare related 
programs.
    In new Sec.  1355.57(f), we propose to require that title IV-E 
costs not previously described in this section may be charged to title 
IV-E at the regular administrative rate but only to the extent that 
title IV-E eligible children are served under that program. This 
requirement is consistent with regulations at 45 CFR 95.631 and 
1356.60(d)(2) and 45 CFR part 75 that allocate system costs to the 
benefiting programs.
    This proposed requirement means that system costs that benefit 
title IV-E programs but do not meet the requirements of this section 
may still be allocated to title IV-E as administrative costs, but only 
to the extent that title IV-E eligible children are served under that 
program. However, as noted previously, costs that do not meet the 
requirements of Sec.  1355.57(a), (b) or (c) but benefit title IV-B, 
other child welfare related programs, other human service programs, or 
participants in state or tribal funded programs may not be allocated to 
title IV-E but instead must be allocated to those programs.

Sec.  1355.58--Failure To Meet the Conditions of the Approved APD

    New Sec.  1355.58 of the proposed rule incorporates the current 
regulation at 45 CFR 1355.56. This section introduces the consequences 
of not meeting the requirements of the APD. Those consequences may 
include suspension of title IV-B and IV-E funding and possible 
recoupment of title IV-E funds claimed for the CCWIS project as 
described below.
    In new Sec.  1355.58(a), we propose that in accordance with 45 CFR 
75.371 to 75.375 and 45 CFR 95.635, ACF may suspend IV-B and IV-E 
funding approved in the APD if ACF determines that the title IV-E 
agency fails to comply with the APD requirements in 45 CFR part 95, 
subpart F or meet the CCWIS requirements at Sec.  1355.52 or, if 
applicable, Sec. Sec.  1355.53, 1355.54, or 1355.56. The proposed 
requirement incorporates S/TACWIS regulations at 45 CFR 1355.56(a). We 
added a reference to the Department administrative rules at 45 CFR 
75.371 to 75.375 that provides authority to suspend the funding and 
updated references to the proposed CCWIS requirements.
    We propose to continue this requirement because our authority under 
45 CFR part 75 and the APD rules in 45 CFR part 95, subpart F remains 
unchanged. Furthermore, it is not an efficient, economical, or 
effective use of federal funds to allow agencies to claim FFP using the 
CCWIS cost allocation for projects that do not meet the CCWIS 
requirements.
    In new Sec.  1355.58(b), we propose to incorporate the requirement 
that the suspension of funding under this section begins on the date 
that ACF determines that the agency failed to comply with or meet 
either the requirements of Sec.  1355.58(b)(1) or (2). The proposed 
requirement incorporates the existing S/TACWIS rules at 45 CFR 
1355.56(b)(2).
    In new Sec.  1355.58(b)(1), we propose that a suspension of CCWIS 
funding begins on the date that ACF determines the title IV-E agency 
failed to comply with APD requirements in 45 CFR part 95 subpart F.
    In new Sec.  1355.58(b)(2), we propose that a suspension of CCWIS 
funding begins on the date that ACF determines the title IV-E agency 
failed to meet the requirements at Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable, 
Sec. Sec.  1355.53, 1355.54, or 1355.56 and has not corrected the 
failed requirements according to the time frame in the approved APD.
    In new Sec.  1355.58(c)(1) and (2), we propose that the suspension 
of funding will remain in effect until the date that ACF determines, in 
accordance with Sec.  1355.58(c)(1), that the title IV-E agency 
complies with 45 CFR part 95, subpart F; or, in accordance with 
1355.58(c)(2), until ACF approves the title IV-E agency's plan to 
change the application to meet the requirements at Sec.  1355.52 and, 
if applicable, Sec.  1355.53, Sec.  1355.54, or Sec.  1355.56. These 
proposed requirements incorporate the S/TACWIS regulations at 45 CFR 
1355.56(b)(3).
    In new Sec.  1355.58(d), we propose that if ACF suspends an APD, or 
the title IV-E agency voluntarily ceases the design, development, 
installation, operation, or maintenance of an approved CCWIS, ACF may 
recoup all title IV-E funds claimed for the CCWIS project. The 
requirement incorporates the S/TACWIS requirements at 45 CFR 
1355.56(b)(4), but we have modified the requirement to allow for all 
FFP to be recouped consistent with 2010 changes in the APD rules at 
Sec.  95.635. We are including this requirement in the proposal because 
it is not an efficient, economical, or effective use of federal funds 
to allow title IV-E agencies to claim FFP using the CCWIS cost 
allocation for projects that do not meet the APD or CCWIS requirements.

Sec.  1355.59--Reserved

    We propose reserving Sec.  1355.59 for future regulations related 
to CCWIS.

[[Page 48223]]

Sec.  1356.60--Fiscal Requirements (Title IV-E)

    We propose changing the title of Sec.  1356.60(e) from ``Federal 
matching funds for SACWIS/TACWIS'' to ``Federal matching funds for 
CCWIS and Non-CCWIS.'' We also propose to revise the paragraph to 
describe that federal matching funds are available at the rate of fifty 
percent (50%) and that the cost allocation of CCWIS and non-CCWIS 
project costs are at Sec.  1355.57 of this chapter. These changes 
clarify that while the same matching rate applies to CCWIS and non-
CCWIS, the proposed cost allocation requirements at Sec.  1355.57 
apply. The cost allocation rules describe the more favorable cost 
allocation available to CCWIS.

Sec.  95.610--Submission of Advance Planning Documents

    We propose to revise Sec.  95.610(b)(12) to conform with our 
proposed regulations at Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 1355.58. We propose 
deleting the references to Sec. Sec.  1355.54 through 1355.57, which is 
a title IV-E regulation since enhanced funding for information systems 
supporting the title IV-E program expired in 1997. We also propose 
revising Sec.  95.610(b)(12) by adding the phrase ``or funding, for 
title IV-E agencies as contained at Sec.  1355.52(i).'' because our 
proposed regulations at Sec.  1355.52(i) add new requirements for CCWIS 
APDs.

Sec.  95.611--Prior Approval Conditions

    We propose to revise Sec.  95.611(a)(2) to delete the reference to 
the title IV-E regulation, Sec.  1355.52 because enhanced funding for 
information systems supporting the title IV-E program expired in 1997.

Sec.  95.612--Disallowance of Federal Financial Participation (FFP)

    We propose to revise Sec.  95.612 which provides guidance on 
conditions that may lead to a disallowance of FFP for APDs for certain 
information systems. We propose to replace the phrase ``State Automated 
Child Welfare Information System'' with ``Comprehensive Child Welfare 
Information System (CCWIS) project and, if applicable the transitional 
project that preceded it.'' We also propose to change the identified 
CCWIS regulations from Sec. Sec.  1355.56 through 1355.58 because the 
paragraph also identifies other departmental regulations that are 
applicable when approval of an APD is suspended.

Sec.  95.625--Increased FFP for Certain ADP Systems

    We propose to revise Sec.  95.625(a) which provides guidance on FFP 
that may be available for information systems supporting title IV-D, 
IV-E and/or XIX programs at an enhanced matching rate. We propose 
removing the reference to title IV-E enhanced funding in the paragraph 
since enhanced funding for information systems supporting the title IV-
E program expired at the end of Federal Fiscal Year 1997.
    Section 95.625(b) identifies other departmental regulations that 
systems must meet to qualify for FFP at an enhanced matching rate. We 
propose removing the reference to title IV-E enhanced funding in the 
paragraph because enhanced funding for SACWIS expired at the end of 
Federal Fiscal Year 1997.

VII. Impact Analysis

Executive Order 12866

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 requires that regulations be drafted 
to ensure that they are consistent with the priorities and principles 
set forth in the E.O. The Department has determined that this proposed 
rule is consistent with these priorities and principles, and represents 
the best and most cost effective way to achieve the regulatory and 
program objectives of CB. We consulted with OMB and determined that 
this proposed rule meets the criteria for a significant regulatory 
action under E.O. 12866. Thus, it was subject to OMB review.
    We determined that the costs to states and tribes as a result of 
this proposed rule will not be significant. First, CCWIS is an optional 
system that states and tribes may implement; therefore, we have 
determined that the proposed rule will not result in mandatory 
increased costs to states and tribes. Second, most if not all of the 
costs that states and tribes will incur will be eligible for FFP. 
Depending on the cost category and each agency's approved plan, states 
and tribes may be reimbursed 50 percent of allowable costs, applying 
the cost allocation rate authorized under section 474(a)(3)(C) and (D) 
of the Act, and section 474(c) of the Act, or at the 50 percent 
administrative rate authorized under section 474(a)(3)(E).
    Costs will vary considerably depending upon a title IV-E agency's 
decision to either (1) build a new CCWIS or (2) transition an existing 
system to meet CCWIS requirements. Furthermore, the cost of the system 
will be affected by the optional functions an agency elects to include 
in the CCWIS.
    We used cost data from five recent SACWIS implementations for mid-
to-large sized states to estimate the average cost to design, develop, 
and implement a new SACWIS as $65 million (costs ranged from 
approximately $39 to $83 million). There are five states currently in 
the planning phase for a new system; the length of the planning phase 
typically ranges from 1 to 4 years. Once the final rule is issued, we 
anticipate that a similar number of states in the planning phase for a 
new SACWIS at that time will implement a new CCWIS for a total federal 
and state cost that will not exceed the $325 million (5 states x $65 
million) estimated to build a new SACWIS. Based on our experience with 
SACWIS projects, development efforts typically last 3 to 5 years. We 
lack comparable tribal data for this estimate as no tribe has 
implemented a TACWIS.
    We expect actual CCWIS costs to be lower than this S/TACWIS-based 
estimate for the following reasons. First, because CCWIS has fewer 
functional requirements than SACWIS, title IV-E agencies may build a 
new CCWIS for significantly lower cost. Whereas a S/TACWIS must develop 
and implement at least 51 functional requirements, the proposed rule 
only requires fourteen functional requirements, including eleven data 
exchanges, federal and agency reporting, and the determination of title 
IV-E eligibility. Second, CCWIS requirements permit title IV-E agencies 
to use less expensive commercial-off-the-shelf software (COTS) as CCWIS 
modules. A S/TACWIS must be custom built or transferred from another 
state and customized to meet agency business practices; lower cost COTS 
are just recently available to S/TACWIS projects. Third, the 
requirement to build CCWIS with reusable modules reduces overall costs 
as newer projects benefit from software modules shared by mature CCWIS 
projects. Finally, we anticipate lower tribal costs as most tribes 
serve smaller populations with fewer workers than states.
    A title IV-E agency may also meet CCWIS requirements by enhancing 
an operational system to meet new CCWIS requirements. The new CCWIS 
requirements are data exchanges with courts, education, and Medicaid 
claims processing systems (and if applicable, data exchanges with child 
welfare contributing agencies and other systems used to collect CCWIS 
data), developing a data quality plan, compiling a list automated 
functions, and, if applicable, drafting a Notice of Intent. To estimate 
data exchange costs, we reviewed a sample of APDs where states reported 
S/TACWIS costs for eight data exchanges ranging from $106,451 to 
$550,000. The

[[Page 48224]]

average is approximately $247,000 or $741,000 ($247,000 x 3) for three 
data exchanges. We expect 46 states (50 states plus the District of 
Columbia minus 5 states anticipated to be planning a new system) to 
exercise the flexibility in the proposed rule to transition their 
operational system to CCWIS for a total cost of $34 million (46 states 
x $741,000). The costs for the data quality plan, automated functions 
list, and Notice of Intent are listed in the following Paperwork 
Reduction Act section and are not significant.
    Historically a S/TACWIS has a useful life ranging from 12--20 years 
and the age of current systems varies from new to nearing retirement. 
Consistent with past replacement trends, we anticipate that after the 
final rule is published, 2 to 4 systems annually will be replaced with 
new CCWIS systems for the average cost not to exceed the average SACWIS 
cost of $65 million each.
    State and tribes will realize significant program administration 
and IT benefits from CCWIS. The requirements to maintain comprehensive 
high quality data will support the efficient, economical, and effective 
administration of the title IV-B and title IV-E programs. The 
requirements to exchange standardized data with other programs will 
support coordinated service delivery to clients served by multiple 
programs. The data exchanges will also reduce data collection costs and 
improve data quality for all participating programs. The requirements 
to build CCWIS with modular, reusable components meeting industry 
standards will result in systems that can be more quickly modified, 
easier to test, and less expensive to maintain. These modular, reusable 
components may be shared within and among states and tribes resulting 
in benefits to other programs and systems.
    Alternatives Considered: We considered alternatives to the approach 
described in the proposed rule. First, an approach that leaves the 
current rules in place encourages the overdevelopment of large costly 
systems, and makes it increasingly difficult for title IV-E agencies to 
implement an efficient, economical, and effective case management 
system that supports their evolving business needs. Such an approach 
does not support a service model managed by multiple service providers 
that is still capable of providing high quality data on the children 
and families served. Second, an approach that provides even greater 
flexibility than what we proposed will undermine our collective goal of 
using the data maintained by child welfare information systems to help 
improve the administration of the programs under titles IV-B and IV-E 
of the Act and improving overall outcomes for the children and families 
served by title IV-E agencies.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The Secretary certifies, under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), as enacted by the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354), that this proposed rule 
will not result in a significant impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The primary impact of this proposed NPRM is on state 
and tribal governments, which are not considered small entities under 
the Act.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies 
to prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before 
proposing any rule that may result in an annual expenditure by state, 
local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation). That 
threshold level is currently approximately $151 million. We propose 
CCWIS as an option for states and tribes, therefore this proposed rule 
does not impose any mandates on state, local, or tribal governments, or 
the private sector that will result in an annual expenditure of $151 
million or more.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Ch. 35, as amended) 
(PRA), all Departments are required to submit to OMB for review and 
approval any reporting or recordkeeping requirements inherent in a 
proposed or final rule. Collection of APD information for S/TACWIS 
projects is currently authorized under OMB number 0970-0417 and will be 
applicable to CCWIS projects. This proposed rule does not make a 
substantial change to those APD information collection requirements; 
however, this proposed rule contains new information collection 
activities, which are subject to review. As a result of the new 
information collection activities in this NPRM, we estimate the 
reporting burden, over and above what title IV-E agencies already do 
for the APD information collection requirements, as follows: (1) 550 
Hours for the automated function list requirement; (2) 2,200 hours for 
the first submission of the data quality plan; and (3) 80 hours for the 
one-time Notice of Intent submission by states and tribes not 
submitting an APD.
    The following are estimates:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Number of
                   Collection                        Number of     responses per  Average burden   Total burden
                                                    respondents     respondent     per response        hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Automated Function List Sec.   1355.52(i)(1)(ii)              55               1              10             550
 and (iii) and (i)(2)...........................
Data Quality Plan Sec.   1355.52(d)(5) (first                 55               1              40           2,200
 submission)....................................
Notice of Intent Sec.   1355.52.(i)(1) (one-time              12               1               8              96
 submission)....................................
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
    One-time Total..............................  ..............  ..............  ..............           2,296
    Annual Total................................  ..............  ..............  ..............             550
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Burden Hour Estimate

    1. List of automated functions. Our first step was to estimate the 
burden associated with the requirements we propose in Sec. Sec.  
1355.52(i)(1)(ii) and (iii) and 1355.52(i)(2)(i) and (ii). In those 
sections, we propose that the title IV-E agencies must provide a list 
of automated functions to be included in the CCWIS and report 
compliance with the design standards in Sec.  1355.53(a). We applied 
the following assumptions:
     We assume that all 50 states plus the District of Columbia 
will build a CCWIS or transition their existing systems to CCWIS in the 
next three years.
     We also assume that few tribes will elect to build a 
CCWIS. As of December 2014, no tribal title IV-E grantee has expressed 
an interest in building a TACWIS-compliant system. To ensure that our 
estimate is not understated, we assume that four tribes will elect to 
build a CCWIS in the next three years.
    We estimate the burden for these activities at 10 hours per 
respondent per year. We multiplied our estimate of 10 burden hours by 
55 respondents (50 states + District of Columbia + 4 tribes)

[[Page 48225]]

to arrive at an annual burden increase of 550 hours (10 burden hours x 
55 respondents) for the proposed automated function list requirement.
    2. Data quality plan. Our next step was to estimate the burden 
associated with the requirements we propose in Sec.  1355.52(d) that 
title IV-E agencies building a CCWIS must develop and report on a data 
quality plan as part of an Annual or Operational APD submission. We 
applied the following assumptions:
     We assume that all 50 states plus the District of Columbia 
and four tribes will build a CCWIS or transition their existing systems 
to CCWIS in the next three years.
     We assume that states and tribes already have mechanisms 
in place to monitor and improve the quality of the data to meet program 
reporting and oversight needs.
    We estimate the burden for these activities at 40 hours per 
respondent for the initial submission.
    We do not estimate an additional burden in subsequent years because 
those submissions will require minimal updates of information 
previously submitted. We multiplied our estimate of 40 burden hours by 
55 respondents (50 states + District of Columbia + 4 tribes) to arrive 
at a one-time burden increase of 2,200 hours (40 burden hours x 55 
respondents) for the proposed data quality plan requirement.
    3. APD or Notice of Intent. Finally, we estimated the burden 
associated with the proposed requirement in Sec.  1355.52(i)(2)(ii), 
that a title IV-E agency that elects to build a CCWIS must announce 
their intention to do so either by submitting an APD, if the proposed 
project requires an APD, or a Notice of Intent if an APD is not 
required. We applied the following assumptions:
     A title IV-E agency with a CCWIS project subject to the 
APD process will have no new burden as such projects are already 
required to contain a plan per 45 CFR 95.610.
     The four tribes will submit a Notice of Intent because 
their projects are unlikely to exceed the threshold requiring 
submission of an Implementation APD at 45 CFR 95.611.
     8 of 14 states with complete, fully functional SACWIS 
projects will undertake projects that will not exceed the threshold 
requiring submission of an Implementation APD at 45 CFR 95.611 and 
therefore will submit a Notice of Intent.
    Our burden estimate for completing the Notice of Intent includes 
additional time for title IV-E agencies to review the submission 
requirements and for producing the letter and project plan for those 
projects not subject to the APD rules at 45 CFR part 95. We estimate 
that burden at 8 hours per respondent. We multiplied our estimate of 8 
burden hours by 12 respondents (8 states + 4 tribes) to arrive at a 
one-time burden increase of 96 hours (8 burden hours x 12 respondents) 
for the proposed Notice of Intent requirement.

Total Burden Cost

    Once we determined the burden hours, we developed an estimate of 
the associated cost for states and tribes to conduct these activities, 
as applicable. We reviewed 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics data to help 
determine the costs of the increased reporting burden as a result of 
the proposed provisions of this NPRM. We assume that staff with the job 
role of Management Analyst (13-111) with a mean hourly wage estimate of 
$43.26 will be completing the Automated Function List, Data Quality 
Plan, and Notice of Intent documentation. Based on these assumptions, 
the Data Quality Plan and Notice of Intent represent a one-time cost of 
$99,324.96 (2,296 hours x $43.26 hourly cost = $99,324.96. We estimate 
that the average annual burden increase of 550 hours for the Automated 
Function List will cost $23,793 (550 hours x $43.26 hourly cost = 
$23,793.00).
    We specifically seek comments by the public on this proposed 
collection of information in the following areas:
    1. Evaluating whether the proposed collection is necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of ACF, including whether the 
information will have practical utility;
    2. Evaluating the accuracy of ACF's estimate of the proposed 
collection of information, including the validity of the methodology 
and assumptions used;
    3. Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
    4. Minimizing the burden of the collection of information on those 
who are to respond, including using appropriate automated, electronic, 
mechanical, or other technology, such as permitting electronic 
submission of responses.
    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of 
information contained in these proposed regulations between 30 and 60 
days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. 
Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB 
receives it within 30 days of publication. This does not affect the 
deadline for the public to comment to the Department on the proposed 
regulations. Written comments to OMB for the proposed information 
collection should be sent directly to the following:
    Office of Management and Budget, either by fax to 202-395-6974 or 
by email to OIRA_submission@omb.eop.gov. Please mark faxes and emails 
to the attention of the desk officer for ACF.

Congressional Review

    This proposed rule is not a major rule as defined in 5 U.S.C. Ch. 8 
and is thus not subject to the major rule provisions of the 
Congressional Review Act. The Congressional Review Act (CRA), 5 U.S.C. 
Chapter 8, defines a major rule as one that has resulted in or is 
likely to result in: (1) An annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, 
individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or 
geographic regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, or innovation, or on the ability 
of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based 
enterprises in domestic and export markets. 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations 
Act, 2000 (Pub. L. 106-58) requires federal agencies to determine 
whether a proposed policy or regulation may affect family well-being. 
If the agency's determination is affirmative, then the agency must 
prepare an impact assessment addressing seven criteria specified in the 
law. These proposed regulations will not have an impact on family well-
being as defined in the law.

Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order (E.O.) 13132 prohibits an agency from publishing 
any rule that has federalism implications if the rule either imposes 
substantial direct compliance costs on state and local governments and 
is not required by statute, or the rule preempts state law, unless the 
agency meets the consultation and funding requirements of section 6 of 
the Executive Order. We do not believe the regulation has federalism 
impact as defined in the Executive Order. Consistent with E.O. 13132, 
the Department specifically solicits comments from state and local 
government officials on this proposed rule.

Tribal Consultation Statement

    ACF published a notice of tribal consultation in the Federal 
Register on

[[Page 48226]]

January 5, 2012 (77 FR 467). The notice advised the public of meetings 
regarding how the current SACWIS regulations affect tribes 
administering a title IV-E program. Notices of the consultation were 
mailed to tribal leaders of federally recognized tribes and the 
consultation was publicized through electronic mailing lists maintained 
by CB and the National Resource Center for Tribes.
    The consultation with tribal leaders and their representatives was 
held via 2 teleconferences on February 15 and 16, 2012. Each 
consultation session was preceded by an introductory session that 
provided an overview of current federal policy and regulations 
regarding S/TACWIS. Tribes and tribal organizations used a total of 33 
phone lines during the two teleconferences; multiple individuals were 
on shared lines at some of the participating sites.
    The tribal consultation addressed three questions:
    (1) What are the obstacles for your tribe in building a child 
welfare information system in general and a SACWIS-type system 
specifically?
    (2) What information do you consider critical to managing your 
child welfare program?
    (3) Is there any special information that tribes need or will need 
in order to operate child welfare programs funded with title IV-E 
dollars?
    Commonly-cited barriers to the development of child welfare 
automation were fiscal concerns and staffing resources. Participants in 
the tribal consultation told CB that the scale of available S/TACWIS 
applications exceed their operational needs and the cost is more than a 
tribe could afford. In addition, smaller-scale systems that could 
quickly and economically be adapted for tribal needs were cited as a 
preferred alternative to custom system development.
    One written comment was submitted, citing financial issues 
associated with system development. A full summary of the tribal 
consultation on child welfare automation can be found at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/tribal-consultation-on-title-iv-e-information-systems-regulations.
    Generally, there was support from the tribal commenters to issue a 
regulation that will provide them with the flexibility in implementing 
a child welfare information system. These proposed rules provide 
sufficient latitude to allow a tribe to implement a system scaled to 
the size of their child welfare program, tailored to the tribe's 
program needs, and capable of collecting those data the tribe requires 
and required under this proposed rule.

List of Subjects

45 CFR Part 95

    Automatic data processing equipment and services--conditions for 
federal financial participation (FFP).

45 CFR Part 1355

    Adoption and foster care, Child welfare, Data collection, 
Definitions grant programs-social programs.

45 CFR Part 1356

    Administrative costs, Adoption and foster care, Child welfare, 
Fiscal requirements (title IV-E), Grant programs--social programs, 
Statewide information systems.

    Dated: March 9, 2015.
Mark H. Greenberg,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families.
    Approved: April 23, 2015.
Sylvia M. Burwell,
Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, HHS and the Administration 
for Children and Families propose to amend parts 95, 1355, and 1356 of 
45 CFR as follows:

PART 95--GENERAL ADMINISTRATION--GRANT PROGRAMS (PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, 
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AND STATE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMS)

0
1. The authority citation for part 95 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 42 U.S.C. 622(b), 629b(a), 652(d), 
654A, 671(a), 1302, and 1396a(a).

0
2. Revise paragraph (b)(12) of Sec.  95.610 to read as follows:


Sec.  95.610  Submission of advance planning documents.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (12) Additional requirements, for acquisitions for which the State 
is requesting enhanced funding, as contained at Sec.  307.15 and 42 CFR 
subchapter C, part 433 or funding for title IV-E agencies as contained 
at Sec.  1355.52(i) of this title.
* * * * *
0
3. Revise paragraph (a)(2) of Sec.  95.611 to read as follows:


Sec.  95.611  Prior approval conditions.

    (a) * * *
    (2) A State shall obtain prior approval from the Department which 
is reflected in a record, as specified in paragraph (b) of this 
section, when the State plans to acquire ADP equipment or services with 
proposed FFP at the enhanced matching rate authorized by Sec.  205.35 
of this title, part 307 of this title, or 42 CFR part 433, subpart C, 
regardless of the acquisition cost.
* * * * *
0
4. Revise the last sentence of Sec.  95.612 to read as follows:


Sec.  95.612  Disallowance of Federal Financial Participation (FFP).

    * * * In the case of a suspension of the approval of an APD for a 
Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) project and, if 
applicable the transitional project that preceded it, see Sec.  1355.58 
of this title.
0
5. Revise paragraph (a) and the last sentence of paragraph (b) of Sec.  
95.625 to read as follows:


Sec.  95.625  Increased FFP for certain ADP systems.

    (a) General. FFP is available at enhanced matching rates for the 
development of individual or integrated systems and the associated 
computer equipment that support the administration of state plans for 
titles IV-D and/or XIX provided the systems meet the specifically 
applicable provisions referenced in paragraph (b) of the section.
    (b) * * * The applicable regulations for the title IV-D program are 
contained in 45 CFR part 307. The applicable regulations for the title 
XIX program are contained in 42 CFR part 433, subpart C.

PART 1355--GENERAL

0
6. The authority citation for part 1355 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 620 et seq., 42 U.S.C. 670 et seq.; 42 
U.S.C. 1301 and 1302.

0
7. Revise Sec.  1355.50 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.50  Purpose of this part.

    Sections 1355.50 through 1355.59 contain the requirements a title 
IV-E agency must meet to receive federal financial participation 
authorized under sections 474(a)(3)(C) and (D), and 474(c) of the Act 
for the planning, design, development, installation, operation, and 
maintenance of a comprehensive child welfare information system.
0
8. Add Sec.  1355.51 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.51  Definitions applicable to Comprehensive Child Welfare 
Information Systems (CCWIS).

    (a) The following terms as they appear in Sec. Sec.  1355.50 
through 1355.59 are defined as follows--
    Approved activity means a project task that supports planning, 
designing,

[[Page 48227]]

developing, installing, operating, or maintaining a CCWIS.
    Automated function means a computerized process or collection of 
related processes to achieve a purpose or goal.
    Child welfare contributing agency means a public or private entity 
that, by contract or agreement with the title IV-E agency, provides 
child abuse and neglect investigations, placement, or child welfare 
case management (or any combination of these) to children and families.
    Data exchange means the automated, electronic submission or receipt 
of information, or both, between two automated data processing systems.
    Data exchange standard means the common data definitions, data 
formats, data values, and other guidelines that the state's or tribe's 
automated data processing systems follow when exchanging data.
    New CCWIS project means a project to build an automated data 
processing system meeting all requirements in Sec.  1355.52 and all 
automated functions meet the requirements in Sec.  1355.53(a).
    Non-S/TACWIS project means an active automated data processing 
system or project that, prior to the effective date of these 
regulations, ACF had not classified as a S/TACWIS and for which:
    (i) ACF approved a development procurement; or
    (ii) The applicable state or tribal agency approved a development 
procurement below the thresholds of 45 CFR 95.611(a); or
    (iii) The operational automated data processing system provided the 
data for at least one AFCARS or NYTD file for submission to the federal 
system or systems designated by ACF to receive the report.
    Notice of intent means a record from the title IV-E agency, signed 
by the governor, tribal leader, or designated state or tribal official 
and provided to ACF declaring that the title IV-E agency plans to build 
a CCWIS project that is below the APD approval thresholds of 45 CFR 
95.611(a).
    S/TACWIS project means an active automated data processing system 
or project that, prior to the effective date of these regulations, ACF 
classified as a S/TACWIS and for which:
    (i) ACF approved a procurement to develop a S/TACWIS; or
    (ii) The applicable state or tribal agency approved a development 
procurement for a S/TACWIS below the thresholds of 45 CFR 95.611(a).
    Transition period means the 24 months after the effective date of 
these regulations.
    (b) Other terms as they appear in Sec. Sec.  1355.50 through 
1355.59 are defined in 45 CFR 95.605.
0
9. Revise Sec.  1355.52 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.52  CCWIS project requirements.

    (a) Efficient, economical, and effective requirement. The title IV-
E agency's CCWIS must support the efficient, economical, and effective 
administration of the title IV-B and IV-E plans pursuant to section 
474(a)(3)(C)(iv) of the Act by:
    (1) Improving program management and administration by maintaining 
all program data required by federal, state or tribal law or policy;
    (2) Appropriately applying computer technology;
    (3) Not requiring duplicative application system development or 
software maintenance; and
    (4) Ensuring costs are reasonable, appropriate, and beneficial.
    (b) CCWIS data requirements. The title IV-E agency's CCWIS must 
maintain:
    (1) Title IV-B and title IV-E data that supports the efficient, 
effective, and economical administration of the programs including:
    (i) Data required for ongoing federal child welfare reports;
    (ii) Data required for title IV-E eligibility determinations, 
authorizations of services, and expenditures under IV-B and IV-E;
    (iii) Data to support federal child welfare laws, regulations, and 
policies; and
    (iv) Case management data to support federal audits, reviews, and 
other monitoring activities;
    (2) Data to support state or tribal child welfare laws, 
regulations, policies, practices, reporting requirements, audits, 
program evaluations, and reviews;
    (3) For states, data to support specific measures taken to comply 
with the requirements in section 422(b)(9) of the Act regarding the 
state's compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act; and
    (4) For each state, data for the National Child Abuse and Neglect 
Data System.
    (c) Reporting requirements. The title IV-E agency's CCWIS must use 
the data described in paragraph (b) of this section to:
    (1) Generate, or contribute to, required title IV-B or IV-E federal 
reports according to applicable formatting and submission requirements; 
and
    (2) Generate, or contribute to, reports needed by state or tribal 
child welfare laws, regulations, policies, practices, reporting 
requirements, audits, and reviews that support programs and services 
described in title IV-B and title IV-E.
    (d) Data quality requirements. (1) The CCWIS data described in 
paragraph (b) of this section must:
    (i) Meet the applicable federal, and state or tribal standards for 
completeness, timeliness, and accuracy;
    (ii) Be consistently and uniformly collected by CCWIS and, if 
applicable, child welfare contributing agency systems;
    (iii) Be exchanged and maintained in accordance with 
confidentiality requirements in section 471(a)(8) of the Act, and 45 
CFR 205.50, and 42 U.S.C. 5106a(b)(2)(B)(viii)-(x) of the Child Abuse 
Prevention and Treatment Act, if applicable, and other applicable 
federal and state or tribal laws;
    (iv) Support child welfare policies, goals, and practices; and
    (v) Not be created by default or inappropriately assigned.
    (2) The title IV-E agency must implement and maintain automated 
functions in CCWIS to:
    (i) Regularly monitor CCWIS data quality;
    (ii) Alert staff to collect, update, correct, and enter CCWIS data;
    (iii) Send electronic requests to child welfare contributing agency 
systems to submit current and historical data to the CCWIS;
    (iv) Prevent, to the extent practicable, the need to re-enter data 
already captured or exchanged with the CCWIS; and
    (v) Generate reports of continuing or unresolved CCWIS data quality 
problems.
    (3) The title IV-E agency must conduct annual data quality reviews 
to:
    (i) Determine if the title IV-E agency and, if applicable, child 
welfare contributing agencies, meet the requirements of paragraphs (b), 
(d)(1), and (d)(2) of this section; and
    (ii) Confirm that the bi-directional data exchanges meet the 
requirements of paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section, and other 
applicable ACF regulations and policies.
    (4) The title IV-E agency must enhance CCWIS or the electronic bi-
directional data exchanges or both to correct any findings from reviews 
described at paragraph (d)(3) of this section.
    (5) The title IV-E agency must develop, implement, and maintain a 
CCWIS data quality plan in a manner prescribed by ACF and include it as 
part of Annual or Operational APDs submitted to ACF as required in 45 
CFR 95.610. The CCWIS data quality plan must:
    (i) Describe the comprehensive strategy to promote data quality

[[Page 48228]]

including the steps to meet the requirements at paragraphs (d)(1) 
through (3) of this section; and
    (ii) Report the status of compliance with paragraph (d)(1) of this 
section.
    (e) Bi-directional data exchanges. (1) The CCWIS must support one 
bi-directional data exchange to exchange relevant data with:
    (i) Systems generating the financial payments and claims for titles 
IV-B and IV-E per paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, if applicable;
    (ii) Systems operated by child welfare contributing agencies that 
are collecting or using data described in paragraph (b) of this 
section, if applicable;
    (iii) Each system used to calculate one or more components of title 
IV-E eligibility determinations per paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this 
section, if applicable; and
    (iv) Each system external to CCWIS used by title IV-E agency staff 
to collect CCWIS data, if applicable.
    (2) To the extent practicable, the title IV-E agency's CCWIS must 
support one bi-directional data exchange to exchange relevant data, 
including data that may benefit IV-E agencies and data exchange 
partners in serving clients and improving outcomes, with each of the 
following state or tribal systems:
    (i) Child abuse and neglect system(s);
    (ii) System(s) operated under title IV-A of the Act;
    (iii) Systems operated under title XIX of the Act including:
    (A) Systems to determine Medicaid eligibility; and
    (B) Mechanized claims processing and information retrieval systems 
as defined at 42 CFR 433.111(b);
    (iv) Systems operated under title IV-D of the Act;
    (v) Systems operated by the court(s) of competent jurisdiction over 
title IV-E foster care, adoption, and guardianship programs;
    (vi) Systems operated by the state or tribal education agency, or 
school districts, or both.
    (f) Data exchange standard requirements. The title IV-E agency must 
use a single data exchange standard that describes data, definitions, 
formats, and other specifications upon implementing a CCWIS:
    (1) For bi-directional data exchanges between CCWIS and each child 
welfare contributing agency;
    (2) For internal data exchanges between CCWIS automated functions 
where at least one of the automated functions meets the requirements of 
Sec.  1355.53(a); and
    (3) For data exchanges with systems described under paragraph 
(e)(1)(iv) of this section.
    (g) Automated eligibility determination requirements. (1) A state 
title IV-E agency must use the same automated function or the same 
group of automated functions for all title IV-E eligibility 
determinations.
    (2) A tribal title IV-E agency must, to the extent practicable, use 
the same automated function or the same group of automated functions 
for all title IV-E eligibility determinations.
    (h) Software provision requirement. The title IV-E agency must 
provide a copy of the agency-owned software that is designed, 
developed, or installed with FFP and associated documentation to the 
designated federal repository within the Department upon request.
    (i) Submission requirements. (1) Before claiming funding in 
accordance with a CCWIS cost allocation, a title IV-E agency must 
submit an APD or, if below the APD submission thresholds defined at 45 
CFR 95.611, a Notice of Intent that includes:
    (i) A project plan describing how the CCWIS will meet the 
requirements in paragraphs (a) through (h) of this section and, if 
applicable Sec.  1355.54;
    (ii) A list of all automated functions included in the CCWIS; and
    (iii) A notation of whether each automated function listed in 
paragraph (i)(1)(ii) of this section meets, or when implemented will 
meet, the following requirements:
    (A) The automated function supports at least one requirement of 
this section or, if applicable Sec.  1355.54;
    (B) The automated function is not duplicated within the CCWIS or 
systems supporting child welfare contributing agencies and is 
consistently used by all child welfare users responsible for the area 
supported by the automated function; and
    (C) The automated function complies with the CCWIS design 
requirements described under Sec.  1355.53(a), unless exempted in 
accordance with Sec.  1355.53(b).
    (2) Annual APD Updates and Operational APDs for CCWIS projects must 
include:
    (i) An updated list of all automated functions included in the 
CCWIS;
    (ii) A notation of whether each automated function listed in 
paragraph (i)(2)(i) of this section meets the requirements of paragraph 
(i)(1)(iii)(B) of this section; and
    (iii) A description of changes to the scope or the design criteria 
described at Sec.  1355.53(a) for any automated function listed in 
paragraph (i)(2)(i) of this section.
    (j) Other applicable requirements. Regulations at 45 CFR 95.613 
through 95.621 and 95.626 through 95.641 are applicable to all CCWIS 
projects below the APD submission thresholds at 45 CFR 95.611.
0
10. Revise Sec.  1355.53 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.53  CCWIS design requirements.

    (a) Except as exempted in paragraph (b) of this section, automated 
functions contained in a CCWIS must:
    (1) Follow a modular design that includes the separation of 
business rules from core programming;
    (2) Be documented using plain language;
    (3) Adhere to a state, tribal, or industry defined standard that 
promotes efficient, economical, and effective development of automated 
functions and produces reliable systems; and
    (4) Be capable of being shared, leveraged, and reused as a separate 
component within and among states and tribes.
    (b) CCWIS automated functions may be exempt from one or more of the 
requirements in paragraph (a) of this section if:
    (1) The CCWIS project meets the requirements of Sec.  1355.56(b) or 
Sec.  1355.56(f)(1); or
    (2) ACF approves, on a case-by-case basis, an alternative design 
proposed by a title IV-E agency that is determined by ACF to be more 
efficient, economical, and effective than what is found in paragraph 
(a) of this section.
0
11. Revise Sec.  1355.54 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.54  CCWIS options.

    If a project meets, or when completed will meet, the requirements 
of Sec.  1355.52, then ACF may approve CCWIS funding described at Sec.  
1355.57 for other ACF-approved data exchanges or automated functions 
that are necessary to achieve title IV-E or IV-B programs goals.
0
12. Revise Sec.  1355.55 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.55  Review and assessment of CCWIS projects.

    ACF will review, assess, and inspect the planning, design, 
development, installation, operation, and maintenance of each CCWIS 
project on a continuing basis, in accordance with APD requirements in 
45 CFR part 95, subpart F, to determine the extent to which the project 
meets the requirements in Sec. Sec.  1355.52, 1355.53, 1355.56, and, if 
applicable, Sec.  1355.54.
0
13. Revise Sec.  1355.56 to read as follows:

[[Page 48229]]

Sec.  1355.56  Requirements for S/TACWIS and non-S/TACWIS projects 
during and after the transition period.

    (a) During the transition period a title IV-E agency with a S/
TACWIS project may continue to claim title IV-E funding according to 
the cost allocation methodology approved by ACF for development or the 
operational cost allocation plan approved by the Department, or both.
    (b) A S/TACWIS project must meet the submission requirements of 
Sec.  1355.52(i)(1) during the transition period to qualify for the 
CCWIS cost allocation methodology described in Sec.  1355.57(a) after 
the transition period.
    (c) A title IV-E agency with a S/TACWIS may request approval to 
initiate a new CCWIS and qualify for the CCWIS cost allocation 
methodology described in Sec.  1355.57(b) by meeting the submission 
requirements of Sec.  1355.52(i)(1).
    (d) A title IV-E agency that elects not to transition a S/TACWIS 
project to a CCWIS project must:
    (1) Notify ACF in an APD or Notice of Intent submitted during the 
transition period of this election; and
    (2) Continue to use the S/TACWIS through its life expectancy in 
accordance with 45 CFR 95.619.
    (e) A title IV-E agency that elects not to transition its S/TACWIS 
project to a CCWIS and fails to meet the requirements of paragraph (d) 
of this section is subject to funding recoupment described under Sec.  
1355.58(d).
    (f) A title IV-E agency with a non-S/TACWIS (as defined in Sec.  
1355.51) that elects to build a CCWIS or transition to a CCWIS must 
meet the submission requirements of Sec.  1355.52(i)(1):
    (1) During the transition period to qualify for a CCWIS cost 
allocation as described at Sec.  1355.57(a); or
    (2) At any time to request approval to initiate a new CCWIS and 
qualify for a CCWIS cost allocation as described at Sec.  1355.57(b).
0
14. Revise Sec.  1355.57 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.57  Cost allocation for CCWIS projects.

    (a) CCWIS cost allocation for projects transitioning to CCWIS. (1) 
All automated functions developed after the transition period for 
projects meeting the requirements of Sec.  1355.56(b) or Sec.  
1355.56(f)(1) must meet the CCWIS design requirements described under 
Sec.  1355.53(a), unless exempted by Sec.  1355.53(b)(2).
    (2) The Department may approve the applicable CCWIS cost allocation 
for an automated function of a project transitioning to a CCWIS if the 
automated function:
    (i) Supports programs authorized under titles IV-B or IV-E, and at 
least one requirement of Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable Sec.  1355.54; 
and
    (ii) Is not duplicated within either the CCWIS or systems 
supporting child welfare contributing agencies and is consistently used 
by all child welfare users responsible for the area supported by the 
automated function.
    (b) CCWIS cost allocation for new CCWIS projects. (1) Unless 
exempted in accordance with Sec.  1355.53(b)(2), all automated 
functions of a new CCWIS project must meet the CCWIS design 
requirements described under Sec.  1355.53(a).
    (2) An automated function of a CCWIS project described in paragraph 
(b)(1) of this section may qualify for a CCWIS cost allocation if the 
automated function:
    (i) Supports programs authorized under titles IV-B or IV-E, and at 
least one requirement of Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable Sec.  1355.54; 
and
    (ii) Is not duplicated within the CCWIS or other systems supporting 
child welfare contributing agencies and is consistently used by all 
child welfare users responsible for the area supported by the automated 
function.
    (c) CCWIS cost allocation for approved activities. The Department 
may approve a CCWIS cost allocation for an approved activity for a 
CCWIS project meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) or (b) of this 
section.
    (d) Project cost allocation. A title IV-E agency must allocate 
project costs in accordance with applicable HHS regulations and other 
guidance.
    (e) CCWIS cost allocation. (1) A title IV-E agency may allocate 
CCWIS development and operational costs to title IV-E for the share of 
approved activities and automated functions that:
    (i) Are approved by the Department;
    (ii) Meet the requirements of paragraphs (a), (b), or (c) of this 
section; and
    (iii) Benefit federal, state or tribal funded participants in 
programs and allowable activities described in title IV-E of the Act to 
the title IV-E program.
    (2) A title IV-E agency may also allocate CCWIS development costs 
to title IV-E for the share of system approved activities and automated 
functions that meet requirements (e)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section 
and:
    (i) Benefit title IV-B programs; or
    (ii) Benefit both title IV-E and child welfare related programs.
    (f) Non-CCWIS cost allocation. Title IV-E costs not previously 
described in this section may be charged to title IV-E in accordance 
with Sec.  1356.60(d) .
0
15. Add Sec.  1355.58 to read as follows:


Sec.  1355.58  Failure to meet the conditions of the approved APD.

    (a) In accordance with 45 CFR 75.371 through 75.375 and 45 CFR 
95.635, ACF may suspend title IV-B and title IV-E funding approved in 
the APD if ACF determines that the title IV-E agency fails to comply 
with APD requirements in 45 CFR part 95, subpart F, or meet the 
requirements at Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable, Sec.  1355.53, 
1355.54, or 1355.56.
    (b) Suspension of CCWIS funding begins on the date that ACF 
determines the title IV-E agency failed to:
    (1) Comply with APD requirements in 45 CFR part 95, subpart F; or
    (2) Meet the requirements at Sec.  1355.52 or, if applicable, Sec.  
1355.53, 1355.54, or 1355.56 and has not corrected the failed 
requirements according to the time frame in the approved APD.
    (c) The suspension will remain in effect until the date that ACF:
    (1) Determines that the title IV-E agency complies with 45 CFR part 
95, subpart F; or
    (2) Approves a plan to change the application to meet the 
requirements at Sec.  1355.52 and, if applicable, Sec.  1355.53, 
1355.54, or 1355.56.
    (d) If ACF suspends an APD, or the title IV-E agency voluntarily 
ceases the design, development, installation, operation, or maintenance 
of an approved CCWIS, ACF may recoup all title IV-E funds claimed for 
the CCWIS project.


Sec.  1355.59  [Reserved]

0
16. Add and reserve Sec.  1355.59.

PART 1356--REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO TITLE IV-E

0
17. The authority citation for part 1356 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 620 et seq., 42 U.S.C. 670 et seq.; 42 
U.S.C. 1302.

0
18. Revise paragraph (e) of Sec.  1356.60 to read as follows:


Sec.  1356.60  Fiscal requirements (title IV-E).

* * * * *
    (e) Federal matching funds for CCWIS and Non-CCWIS. Federal 
matching funds are available at the rate of fifty percent (50%). 
Requirements for the cost allocation of CCWIS and non-CCWIS project 
costs are at Sec.  1355.57 of this chapter.

    Editorial Note: This document was received for publication by 
the Office of the Federal Register on July 30, 2015.

[FR Doc. 2015-19087 Filed 8-10-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P