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United States Department of Health & Human Services

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Guidelines for Ensuring the Quality of Information Disseminated to the Public

A.   Administration for Children and Families

I.   Agency Mission

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is responsible for administering numerous federal programs: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare and other programs relating to children and families; services for those with developmental disabilities and mental retardation, refugee services, and Native American/Tribal programs. Actual services are provided by state, county, city, and tribal governments, and public and private local agencies. ACF assists these organizations through funding, policy direction, and information services.

II.   Scope and Applicability of Guidelines for Agency

ACF is committed to ensuring that disseminated information meets the standards of quality set forth in the OMB, HHS and ACF guidelines. It is ACF's policy to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information that it disseminates to the public. We strive to provide information that is accurate, reliable, clear, complete, unbiased, and useful. We are committed to integrating the principle of information quality into every phase of information development, including creation, collection, maintenance, and dissemination.

The pre-dissemination review described in the guidelines applies to information disseminated on or after October 1, 2002. The administrative mechanism for correction applies to information that the agency disseminates on or after October 1, 2002, regardless of when the agency first disseminated the information. This section identifies the types of information covered by the Guidelines, and also lists the types of information that are exempt. ACF information subject to the Information Quality Guidelines includes:

The following types of information are not subject to the Information Quality Guidelines:

III.   Types of Information Disseminated by the Agency to the Public

Given the wide variety of programs administered by the Administration for Children and Families, and the numerous types of information generated by these programs, it is not possible to offer a comprehensive list of all dissemination activities conducted by the agency. Consequently, the following examples have been drawn selectively from a cross-section of ACF programs. However, it should be noted that not all of the information described below is subject to the OMB Guidelines.

IV.   Types of Dissemination Methods

Information is disseminated through printed, electronic, and presentation materials. Dissemination vehicles include brochures and targeted mailings to State officials, grantees, or others responsible for administering programs; posting information on the ACF web site; making information available through clearinghouses and resource centers; presenting and distributing information at appropriate conferences; and electronically collecting and distributing aggregated and disaggregated program-related data. Research funded by several agency programs is also disseminated through peer-reviewed journals.

Research and evaluation reports are disseminated in a number of ways. Reports with particular policy relevance and findings are distributed directly by mail to State program directors or other targeted audiences. Information on newly released reports is also shared with organizations that warehouse and broadcast information through their own networks (e.g., the Welfare Information Network and the Research Forum on Children, Families and the New Federalism). ACF's web site provides information on current research and evaluation projects, posts reports (or links to reports), and disseminates information through a listserv. In addition, ACF sponsors research conferences such as an annual Welfare Reform Research and Evaluation Conference that attracts State program staff, Federal regional staff researchers in the field and other organizations interested in ACF programs.

V.   Quality Assurance Policies, Standards and Processes for Ensuring the Quality of Information Disseminated to the Public

At ACF, the quality assurance process begins at the inception of the information development process. Further, ACF reviews the quality (including the objectivity, utility, and integrity) of information before it is disseminated and treats information quality as integral to every step of the development of information, including its creation, collection, maintenance and dissemination.

The review procedures may vary among programs depending upon the requirements of the program and the type of information to be disseminated:

Policy for Correcting Errors:

If an error is detected in the agency's reports and publications before mailing, it is corrected. If these materials have already been mailed, ACF issues a special notification to the recipients or includes an errata sheet with the subsequent publications. Errors in materials in the agency's web site are corrected online.

VI.   Agency Administrative Complaint Procedures

ACF has developed administrative mechanisms to allow affected persons to seek and obtain correction of disseminated information that does not comply with OMB, HHS and ACF guidelines.

External complaints about information disseminated can be made in the form of written correspondence. The Chief Information Officer (CIO), is the ACF official designated to receive and resolve complaints regarding information that does not comply with either the OMB guidelines or the agency's guidelines. The CIO's address is: Chief Information Officer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration , Administration for Children and Families, Aerospace Building, 6th Floor, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW, Washington, D.C. 20447. Feedback and complaints may be sent electronically to

VII.   Influential Scientific, Financial and Statistical Information

The Guidelines apply to certain statistical information disseminated by ACF in view of the potential substantial impact on important public policies. Since statistical information for major ACF programs such as foster care, child abuse and neglect, TANF, etc., are provided by States, ACF will work closely with the States to assure the completeness, reliability, and integrity of the data and the transparency of methodology and analytical techniques.

Last revised: November 13, 2003

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