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Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request

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Proposed Projects

Title: National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.

OMB No.: 0980-0229.

Description: The Administration on Children, Youth and Families established the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) to respond to the 1988 and 1992 amendments (Pub. L. 100-294 and Pub. Start Printed Page 14421L. 102-295) to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.), as amended, which called for the creation of a coordinated national data collection and analysis program, both universal and case specific in scope, to examine standardized data on false, unfounded, or unsubstantiated reports. In 1988, ACYF embarked on a collaborative effort with the State to develop a voluntary national data collection and analysis program, to collect, compile, and make available State child abuse and neglect reporting information from child protective services agencies in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the territories. The first request for annual data was in July 1991. Data collection has continued on an annual basis. The Children's Bureau is currently preparing the 12th annual report based on the NCANDS data.

In 1996, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was amended by Public Law 104-235 to require that any State receiving the Basic State Grant work with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide specific data on child maltreatment to the extent practicable. The legislation specified the following data elements.

(1) The number of children who were reported to the State during the year as abused or neglected.

(2) Of the number of children described in paragraph (1), the number with respect to whom such reports were—

(A) Substantiated;

(B) Unsubstantiated; or

(C) Determined to be false.

(3) Of the number of children described in paragraph (2)—

(A) The number that did not receive services during the year under the State program funded under this section or an equivalent State program;

(B) The number that received services during the year under the State program funded under this section or an equivalent State program; and

(C) The number that were removed from their families during the year by disposition of the case.

(4) The number of families that received preventive services from the State during the year.

(5) The number of deaths in the State during the year resulting from child abuse or neglect.

(6) Of the number of children described in paragraph (5), the number of such children who were in foster care.

(7) The number of child protective services workers responsible for the intake and screening of reports filed in the previous year.

(8) The agency response time with respect to each such report with respect to initial investigation of reports of child abuse or neglect.

(9) The response time with respect to the provision of services to families and children where an allegation of abuse or neglect has been made.

(10) The number of children protective services workers responsible for intake, assessment, and investigation of child abuse and neglect reports relative to the number of reports investigated in the previous year.

(11) The number of children reunited with their families or receiving family preservation services that, within five years, result in subsequent substantial reports of child abuse and neglect, including the death of a child.

(12) The number of children for whom individuals were appointed by the court to represent the best interests of such children and the average number of out-of-court contracts between such individuals and children.

States that receive the Basic State Grant meet this information requirement by submitting the NCANDS data.

The Children's Bureau proposes to continue collecting the NCANDS data through the two files of the Detailed Case Data Component, the Child File (the case-level component of NCANDS) and the Agency Field (additional aggregate data that cannot be collected at a case level). It also proposes to continue to accept the Summary Data Component Survey from States that are unable to submit the Child File for another 2 years (FFY 2003 and FFY 2004). Technical assistance will be provided to States so that all States can provide the Child File and Agency File for FFY 2005 data.

In order to improve the ability to integrate the data from NCANDS with the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting system (AFCARS) data, the Children's Bureau proposes to change the reporting period for submitting NCANDS data from calendar year reporting to a Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) basis starting with FFY 2003. These data will be requested in December 2003 to be submitted by March 2004.

The Children's Bureau also proposes to modify the Child File in order to better meet the data needs of the Child and Family Services Review process and to provide additional data for the Children's Bureau. Two new fields, AFCARS ID and Family Structure, are being proposed. No changes to the Agency File or the Summary Data Component Survey are proposed.

The information collected by NCANDS will be used to understand better the experiences of children and families served by CPS and to guide policy and program development at the national and local levels. An annual report, entitled Child Maltreatment, will continue to be published. Data collected through the NCANDS will also be used to support the Department in responding to the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act; publishing State data in the annual report to Congress on child welfare outcomes; and monitoring States through the Child and Family and Services Review process.

Respondents: State governments, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Annual Burden Estimates

InstrumentNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentAverage burden hours per responseTotal burden hours
Detailed Case Data Component (Child Field and Agency File by 46 States for first two years)5211135876
Summary Data Component Survey (by 6 States for only 2 years)6132192
Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours6068

In compliance with the requirements of Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Administration for Children and Families is soliciting public comment on the specific aspects of the information collection described above. Copies of the proposed collection of information can be obtained and Start Printed Page 14422comments may be forwarded by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Information Services, 370 L'Promenade, SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection.

The Department specifically requests comments on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted within 60 days of this publication.

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Dated: March 19, 2003.

Bob Sargis,

Reports Clearance Officer.

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[FR Doc. 03-7017 Filed 3-24-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4184-01-M