Administration for Children and Families
 
 
Office of Child Support Enforcement
 
State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects
HHS-2012-ACF-OCSE-FQ-0551
Application Due Date: 08/17/2012

 

State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects
HHS-2012-ACF-OCSE-FQ-0551
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Overview
Executive Summary
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
  1. Eligible Applicants
  2. Cost Sharing or Matching
  3. Other - (if applicable)
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
  1. Address to Request Application Package
  2. Content and Form of Application Submission
  3. Submission Dates and Times
  4. Intergovernmental Review
  5. Funding Restrictions
  6. Other Submission Requirements
Section V. Application Review Information
  1. Criteria
  2. Review and Selection Process
  3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Section VI. Award Administration Information
  1. Award Notices
  2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
  3. Reporting
Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
Section VIII. Other Information
State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects
HHS-2012-ACF-OCSE-FQ-0551
ANNOUNCEMENT PUBLICATION | VALIDATE & APPROVE
 
Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children & Families
 
Program Office:Office of Child Support Enforcement
Funding Opportunity Title:State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects
Announcement Type:Initial
Funding Opportunity Number:HHS-2012-ACF-OCSE-FQ-0551
CFDA Number: 93.075
Due Date for Applications: 08/17/2012
 

Notice: On January 1, 2012, the Administration for Children and Families implemented required electronic application submission via www.Grants.gov for discretionary grant applications. (76 Fed. Reg. 66721-66723, October 27, 2011, New Policies and Procedural Requirements for the Electronic Submission of Discretionary Grant Applications). Please see Section III.3. Disqualification Factors, Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission and Application Submission Options, and Section IV.3. Explanation of Due Dates and Times for information on electronic application submission and the availability of exemptions allowing applicants to submit applications in paper format.

 
Executive Summary:

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation provided the Department of Health and Human Services/Administration for Children and Families (HHS/ACF) funding for the State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects opportunity. HHS/ACF, through the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), will award and monitor the grants. The State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects opportunity will fund 12-month grants to explore and plan improved interoperability and integration in eligibility and enrollment, business process and workflows, case management, and other related functions across health and human services information technology systems. Grantees will plan to achieve one or more of the following OMB Partnership Fund goals: 1. improve service delivery for clients, 2. reduce errors and improve program integrity, or 3. improve administrative efficiency. Grantees will explore system design and implementation options, determine the costs and benefits of different options, and develop concrete implementation plans. Grantees will produce a public report to inform other States considering similar systems integration and interoperability issues. Grantee reports will detail, at a minimum, the enterprise architecture used, envisioned business process and workflows, programs involved, privacy and confidentiality framework developed to support appropriate data sharing, potential outcomes and impacts, and a road map for implementation by other States including milestones and schedules.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Statutory Authority

The statutory authority for this demonstration project is the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L 111-117), which created the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Partnership Fund supports projects for improving the stewardship of Federal dollars in assistance programs through reducing improper payments, improving administrative efficiency, improving service delivery, and protecting and improving program access for eligible beneficiaries.

Description

A.            Background

Office of Management and Budget Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation:

The Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation (the Partnership Fund) at OMB supports pilot projects to streamline administration processes and strengthen program integrity in federal assistance programs. These pilots help to advance methods to improve administrative efficiency, service delivery, and program integrity in federal government and the States to advance the priorities of promoting innovation and Federal-State cooperation. The Partnership Fund awarded funds to HHS/ACF for the State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects grants. HHS/ACF, through OCSE, will award and monitor the grants.

State Systems Interoperability and Integration:

Technology has the power to improve customer service as well as help break down information silos among State-administered human services programs and with other programs such as health. The promise of interoperable computer systems is that families will have a better experience using health and human services programs because they will not have to go through multiple applications, interviews, and appointments to receive services. This will in turn save taxpayers money by improving program efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity by helping States assure that program benefits are appropriately targeted to the families who need them.

Many States are already working to make strategic investments in information systems.  For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates new eligibility requirements and business processes for health programs and is spurring States to create new eligibility and enrollment (E&E) systems for Medicaid and the Health Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges). The resulting investments in systems will be significant, along with other investments that States may be planning. As States pursue such changes, there is opportunity to consider how to most effectively and efficiently leverage investments that use Federal and State funds to upgrade and integrate systems.

At the same time, many States are seeking ways to align program-specific information to better coordinate or integrate the provision of services for families. This has led States to consider aligning case management systems across programs and finding ways to share and exchange data, particularly data related to vulnerable children, to improve outcomes. For example, information about a vulnerable child may be found in the child welfare, public assistance, and Medicaid systems, but a case worker seeking to stabilize a family or respond to a crisis may not even be aware that the child is receiving services from another system, let alone have access to all relevant information.

Whether the goal is to increase interoperability among eligibility systems or improve case management through improved data sharing across systems, there are challenges that make implementing more functional, cost-effective systems that work across programs difficult. These include confusion and uncertainty over data privacy and confidentiality rules; difficulty in understanding how different funding streams can be used to develop more interoperable systems; and a lack of resources to do the up-front work to explore what is possible and determine whether the benefits of improved system interoperability outweigh the costs.

Background on Federal-State Investments in Systems and Data Exchange:

Currently, enhanced Federal funding is available for systems upgrades related to the design, development, implementation, or enhancement of systems designed to determine Medicaid eligibility. Under Federal rules, States can receive this enhanced match rate if they meet certain standards and conditions. One of these standards and conditions for States to obtain the enhanced funding makes mention of interoperability with human services programs: Ensure seamless coordination and integration with the Exchange (whether run by the State or Federal government), and allow interoperability with health information exchanges, public health agencies, human services programs, and community organizations providing outreach and enrollment assistance services.

On August 10, 2011, leaders of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released a joint guidance letter (the first tri-agency letter) (http://transition.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/dcl_11_13a.pdf) explaining a new policy granting time-limited exceptions to OMB Circular A-87. These exceptions permit States to integrate human services eligibility processes into their Health Insurance Exchange and Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) systems without allocating the common development costs across multiple benefiting programs so long as the costs were ones that would have been incurred without the human services integration. This exception is available through December 31, 2015.

On January 23, 2012, a second tri-agency letter was released (http://transition.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/smd_1_23_12.pdf). This letter provided additional guidance on how States may take advantage of this exception to leverage investments to serve multiple programs and needs. Under the exception to the OMB Circular A-87 cost allocation principles, to the extent these business services are core components of the health program eligibility system, their design and development costs would not be required to be cost allocated to the other Federally funded human services program for certain business process and technical services. These core components, modules, and services may include the following: Client Portals; User Interfaces; Master Client Index; Document Imaging and Digitization of Case Records; Enterprise Service Bus; Data Warehousing; Business Intelligence and Analytic Tools including Decision Support. This list is not exhaustive, and there are other services and functions that are allowable under the exception.

In addition, Section 4003 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, tasks the Secretary of HHS with designating standards to facilitate data exchange between the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and other programs and data sources.  State approaches to improved data sharing across systems may provide information that can help inform the development of final rules implementing the requirements of Section 4003.   

B. Project Purpose

This announcement allows grantees to explore and plan improved interoperability and integration in eligibility and enrollment, case management, and other related functions across human services information technology systems, and explore integration with other programs. Grantees can explore systems design and implementation options, determine the costs and benefits of different options, the potential client outcomes and impacts of each option, and develop concrete implementation plans and options for the grantee to consider, as well as produce a road map noting what could or should be considered by other States. In addition, each grant will demonstrate how enhanced interoperability and integrations can improve service delivery, increase program efficiency, and/or reduce errors and enhance program integrity.

This announcement will allow grantees the ability to dedicate staff and resources to exploring health and human service interoperability and integration possibilities to develop and determine realistic options in a condensed timeframe. It will also allow grantees the ability to plan internally and with their various partners while still having the opportunity to benefit by potentially beginning and/or continuing systems implementation under the OMB A-87 exception through December 31, 2015.

Examples of Potential State Systems Interoperability and Integration Projects:

  • States could explore options relating to human services business process and systems coordination or integration in light of investments the States may already be making, such as to support the Medicaid expansion and Health Insurance Exchange. This could include exploring how the OMB Circular A-87 exception could be utilized and options for adding components onto eligibility systems that will be used to determine Medicaid and other health insurance programs.
  • States could explore the retrofit or enhancement of existing integrated health and human services systems with additional functionality, such as adding data warehousing capabilities with data analytics and decision support, or perhaps modifying existing systems to populate case files with common participant numbers via a master client index. Other options may include reducing operational costs through upgrades to underlying technology infrastructures, and the digitization of case records and similar document management and imaging technologies
  • States could explore the options around and project planning for meeting the requirements of Section 4003 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.  Such a project could identify the data, including statistical, programmatic, and financial information needing to be exchanged between various health and human service programs at the state level as well as between state programs and their federal partners, and then plan a project designed to implement standardized data exchange protocols and interfaces between their different state and federal systems.

C. Project Design

This section describes the four project design requirements for grantees: a) Interoperability Plan, b) Project Management Plan, c) Planning and Participation in Key Events, and d) Reporting. The following are the required elements of the project.

a) Interoperability Plan

As described in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, in the project description, an applicant must lay out preliminary information on each of the Interoperability Plan elements and the approach that will be taken to ensure that each of the minimum  interoperability plan elements will be addressed.  The application will be judged in part on the basis of this portion of the project description.  However, we recognize that as a grantee begins to explore its interoperability options under this grant, a grantee may want to make modifications to the preliminary information provided in connection with the interoperability plan.  

Consequently, within 75 days of project start, grantees will submit an Interoperability Plan to lay out milestones for execution and deliverables to account for State-specific needs, activities, or challenges. ACF should be consulted during this development process. In the event of significant modifications in the scope of the interoperability plan in relation to the preliminary information previously provided, the size of individual grant awards is subject to change at the discretion of ACF, in recognition of the modified scope.  At a minimum, the plan should include the following elements.

Minimum Interoperability Plan Elements:

  1. Outcomes: Grantees must explain the outcomes the State is seeking to improve.
  2. Exploration Questions: Grantees must explain the set of issues and questions the State will explore in their planning efforts. Grantees are encouraged to consider approaches that explore the use of consortia-based approaches to planning, or to the creation of plans applicable to consortia-based approaches to interoperable systems. If planning for a consortia-based solution is pursued, all of the same questions and informational requirements herein apply.
  3. Goals: Grantees must explain how these exploration questions relate to one or more of these three goals: improve service delivery, reduce errors and improve program integrity, and/or improve administrative efficiency.
    1. Improve service delivery for clients: This could include reducing the amount of documentation families must submit to apply for multiple benefits, reducing the time spent by families applying or retaining eligibility, or improving the quality of services families receive because entities providing services have access to the information they need to deliver the more effective services.
    2. Reduce errors and improve program integrity: This could include improving the accuracy of eligibility determinations and improving the agencies’ ability to make changes in eligibility and benefits as appropriate, based on State and Federal policy and families' circumstances, along with approaches to ensure that information reported to or available in one program can be shared appropriately with other programs in support of program integrity efforts.
    3. Improve administrative efficiency: This could include reducing duplicative administrative processes such as verification, document storage, and eligibility determinations.
  4. Additional Information: Grantees must explain the extent to which further information is needed by the State before it can move forward to address the issues identified.
  5. Breadth: Grantees must explain the breadth of the project (i.e. the number of human services programs and systems included in the States planning for increased interoperability and integration).
  6. Human Services Programs and Initiatives: Grantees must explain which State and Federally funded human service programs will be taken into consideration in this project and how existing related initiatives would be leveraged.
  7. Information Technology Initiatives: Grantees must explain how the State plans to leverage and/or complement existing information technology development initiatives and requirements.
  8. Health Intersection: Grantees that explore options to make their eligibility systems more interoperable or integrated must explain how the issues to be considered intersect with the States plans related to the Medicaid expansion that will take effect on January 1, 2014, and, if applicable, the implementation of a Health Insurance Exchange.
  9. Stakeholders: Grantees must explain how the State plans to engage and integrate all stakeholders.
  10. Benefit to Other States: Grantees must explain how the work the State will complete with the grant funds could benefit other States that are interested in similar issues. Grantees should also include what types of documentation will be developed, e.g. Advance Planning Documents, Requests for Proposals, project schedules with discrete milestones, resource measurement tools, project metrics and reports, cost allocation methodologies, etc.
  11. Timeline: Grantees should provide a timeline with expected activities for the entire project period. It should include project milestones and deliverables.
  12. Budget: Grantees need to provide a budget narrative and budget that breaks project costs down by resource type, e.g. State staff, contract staff (by company), hardware, software, telecommunications, travel, miscellaneous/supplies, etc. These line items of cost must then be accumulated by month and then summed for the 12-month project period. Grantee budgets must also provide the loaded labor rates for all staff assigned to the grant, as well as the total salary to be paid to each staff person under the grant.
  13. Applicable Laws: Grantees must ensure compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies, including the Paperwork Reduction Act and laws that pertain to privacy.

b) Project Management Plan

Grantees must ensure appropriate project management for this project through assigning a project manager at least half-time. The primary task of the project manager is to ensure the project is planned, implemented, and project results are reported in a timely and comprehensive manner. In addition, the project manager will plan for and actively participate in status conference calls, site visits, and face-to-face meetings between ACF and the grantee.

The grantee as a whole, including project manager and key personnel, should demonstrate past success in designing and developing actionable planning efforts in health and human services information systems. A resume and summary of experience for key personnel also assist in better understanding the qualifications of the grantee.

c) Planning and Participation in Key Events (Status Conference Calls, Site Visits, and Face-to-Face Meetings between ACF and the Grantee)

The project manager and other staff/stakeholders, as needed, are responsible for participating in regular teleconferences with ACF and other project stakeholders to share progress on project plan milestones, discuss any challenges, and attempt to resolve challenges as quickly and effectively as possible.

The project manager and other staff/stakeholders, as needed, should plan for four site visits at their facilities from ACF staff (< 5 staff) during the project period. The grantee will manage site visit logistics, schedule all necessary parties, arrange stakeholder discussions, review project deliverables, discuss overall project status, note current challenges and potential resolution, and provide overview of next interim steps. ACF staff will provide technical assistance as appropriate.

ACF will convene a meeting for project grantees in Washington, DC, within the first 60 days of the project period to support effective project management. The 2-day meeting will promote coordination, information sharing, troubleshooting, training, and learning opportunities. Grantees are required to send the project manager to this meeting and may send one additional staff person/stakeholder. ACF will also convene a 2-day meeting in Washington, DC, near the end of the project period for all grantees for information sharing and preliminary reporting. Grantees are required to send the project manager to this meeting and may send one additional staff person/stakeholder.

d) Reporting

Reporting is a significant component of this grant award. See Section VI.3 for details.

II. Award Information
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Estimated Total Funding: $4,500,000
Expected Number of Awards: 4
Award Ceiling: $1,125,000 Per Project Period
Award Floor: $750,000 Per Project Period
Average Projected Award Amount: $1,125,000 Per Project Period

Length of Project Periods:

12-month project and budget period

Additional Information on Awards:

Awards made under this announcement are subject to the availability of Federal funds.

Applications requesting an award amount that exceeds the Award Ceiling per budget period or per project period, as stated in this section, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. This disqualification applies only to the Award Ceiling listed for the first 12-month budget period for projects with multiple budget periods. If the project and budget period are the same, the disqualification applies to the Award Ceiling listed for the project period. Please see Section III.3. Application Disqualification Factors.

Note: For those programs that require matching or cost sharing, grantees will be held accountable for projected commitments of non-Federal resources in their application budgets and budget justifications, even if the projected commitment exceeds the required amount of match or cost share. A grantee’s failure to provide the required matching amount will result in the disallowance of Federal funds.

Please see Section IV.5 Funding Restrictions for limitations on the use of Federal funds awarded under this announcement.

III. Eligibility Information
III.1. Eligible Applicants

Eligibility is open to State (including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) human services agencies.

Individuals, foreign entities, and sole proprietorship organizations are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards under this announcement. See Section III.3. Other.

 
III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost Sharing / Matching Requirement: No
 
III.3. Other

DUNS Number (Universal Identifier) and Central Contractor Registration (CCR) Requirements


DUNS Number Requirement

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number is the nine-digit, or thirteen-digit (DUNS + 4), number established and assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to uniquely identify business entities.

All applicants and subrecipients must have a DUNS number at the time of application in order to be considered for a grant or cooperative agreement.  A DUNS number is required whether an applicant is submitting a paper application or using the Government-wide electronic portal, www.Grants.gov.  A DUNS number is required for every application for a new award or renewal/continuation of an award, including applications or plans under formula, entitlement, and block grant programs.  A DUNS number may be acquired at no cost online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. To acquire a DUNS number by phone, contact the D&B Government Customer Response Center:

U.S. and U.S Virgin Islands: 1-866-705-5711
Alaska and Puerto Rico: 1-800-234-3867 (Select Option 2, then Option 1)
Monday - Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., CST

The process to request a D-U-N-S Number by telephone will take between 5 and 10 minutes.
 

Central Contractor Registration (CCR) Requirement

Central Contractor Registration (CCR) is the Federal registrant database and repository into which an entity must provide information required for the conduct of business as a recipient.  CCR, managed by the General Services Administration, collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of agency financial assistance missions.

Effective October 1, 2011, HHS required all entities that plan to apply for, and ultimately receive, Federal grant funds from any HHS Agency, or receive subawards directly from recipients of those grant funds to:

  • Be registered in the CCR prior to submitting an application or plan;
  • Maintain an active CCR registration with current information at all times during which it has an active award or an application or plan under consideration by an OPDIV; and
  • Provide its DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to the OPDIV.

ACF is prohibited from making an award until an applicant has complied with these requirements.  At the time an award is ready to be made, if the intended recipient has not complied with these requirements, ACF:

  • May determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award; and
  • May use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

Additionally, all first-tier subaward recipients (i.e., direct subrecipient) must have a DUNS number at the time the subaward is made

CCR registration may be made online at www.ccr.gov or by phone at 1-866-606-8220. CCR registration must be updated annually.  CCR registration must be active and maintained with current information at all times during which an organization has an active award or an application under consideration.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to register at the CCR well in advance of the application due date. 

APPLICATION DISQUALIFICATION FACTORS


Applications from individuals, foreign entities, or sole proprietorship organizations will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Award Ceiling Disqualification

Applications that request an award amount exceeding the Award Ceiling per budget period, or per project period, as stated in Section II. Award Information, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. This disqualification applies only to the Award Ceiling listed for the first 12-month budget period for projects with multiple budget periods. If the project and budget period are the same, the disqualification applies to the Award Ceiling listed for the project period.

Application Submission Disqualifications

Beginning January 1, 2012, ACF requires electronic submission of applications at www.Grants.gov.  Applicants that do not have an Internet connection or sufficient computing capacity to upload large documents (files) to the Internet may contact ACF for an exemption that will allow these applicants to submit an application in paper format. Information on requesting an exemption from electronic application submission is found in Section IV.2. Application Submission Options.

The deadline for electronic application submission is 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. Electronic applications submitted to www.Grants.gov after 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, as indicated by a dated and time-stamped email from www.Grants.gov, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. That is, applications submitted to www.Grants.gov, on or after 12:00 a.m., ET, on the day after the due date will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.


Please Note
: Applications submitted to www.Grants.gov at any time during the open application period, and prior to the due date and time, which fail the Grants.gov validation check, will not be received at ACF. These applications will not be acknowledged. Applications that fail the Grants.gov validation check are not transmitted to ACF though they may have been submitted on time.

Each time an application is submitted via www.Grants.gov, the application will receive a new date and time-stamp email. Only those applications with on-time date and time stamps that result in a validated application, which are transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged.


The deadline for receipt of paper applications is 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. Paper applications received after 4:30 p.m., ET
, on the due date will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Paper applications received from applicants that have not requested an exemption from required electronic submission will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. See "Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission" in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission.

Applications that are disqualified under any of these circumstances will receive written notification by letter or by email.

Read and observe the formatting instructions for application submissions in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission.

Applications from entities other than State (including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) human services agencies will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

IV.1. Address to Request Application Package

Sheila Drake
Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children & Families
Office of Child Support Enforcement
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW.
4th Floor East
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: (202) 401-0904
Email: Sheila.Drake@acf.hhs.gov


Electronic Application Submission:
The electronic application submission package is available at www.Grants.gov.

Applications in Paper Format:
For applicants that have received an exemption to submit applications in paper format, Standard Forms, assurances, and certifications are available at the ACF Funding Opportunities Forms webpage at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/grants_resources.html. See Section IV.2.Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission if applicants do not have an Internet connection or sufficient computing capacity to upload large documents (files) to www.Grants.gov.

Standard Forms that are compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794d): Available at the Grants.gov Forms Repository website and at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_forms.

Federal Relay Service:
Hearing-impaired and speech-impaired callers may contact the Federal Relay Service for assistance at 1-800-877-8339 (TTY - Text Telephone or ASCII - American Standard Code For Information Interchange).

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

FORMATTING ACF APPLICATIONS


For All ACF Applications:

Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)
The individual(s), named by the applicant/recipient organization, who is authorized to act for the applicant/recipient and to assume the obligations imposed by the Federal laws, regulations, requirements, and conditions that apply to grant applications or awards.

Each applicant must designate an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). An AOR is named by the applicant, and is authorized to act for the applicant, to assume the obligations imposed by the Federal laws, regulations, requirements, and conditions that apply to the grant application or awards.

AOR Authorization is part of the registration process at www.Grants.gov where the AOR will create a short profile and obtain a username and password from the Grants.gov Credential Provider.  AORs will only be authorized for the DUNS number registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR).

Point of Contact
In addition to the AOR, a point of contact on matters involving the application must also be identified. The point of contact, known as the Project Director or Principal Investigator, should not be identical to the person identified as the AOR. The point of contact must be available to answer any questions pertaining to the application.

Application Checklist
Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials.  Details concerning acknowledgment of received applications are available in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times of this announcement.

Follow the instructions provided in the formatting section to ensure that your application can be printed efficiently and consistently for the competitive review.   

Observe page limitations.
All applicants must follow the instructions provided in this section. Be sure to print all attachments (components) on paper and count the number of pages before submission. Keep the printed copy as a hard copy of your application for your files.

Application Package Components
Applications must be divided into the sections listed in the table. (The order in which components are submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov or included in a paper application may not be the same as listed in the table.) Page limitations apply to the Project Description document and the Appendices and the following:

  • The Project Summary/Abstract is limited to one single-spaced page.
  • The Budget Justification should be no more than 10 single-spaced pages and will not count against page limitations.

Application Package Components

Page Limitations

Required Standard Forms (SFs) and/or OMB-approved Forms

No page limitations.

Required Certifications and Assurances

No page limitations.

Project Summary/Abstract

Limited to one single-spaced page.

Project Description

Page Limitations and included items are listed later in this section.

Budget Justification

No more than 10 single-spaced pages and will not count against page limitations.

Proof of Legal Status/Proof of Non-Profit Status

No page limitations.

Appendices

Page Limitations and included items are listed later in this section.


ELECTRONIC APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED VIA www.Grants.gov:
 

Notice: The Administration for Children and Families has implemented required electronic application submission via www.Grants.gov.  Applicants are now required to submit their applications electronically unless they have requested and received an exemption that will allow submission in paper format.  See Section IV.2. Application Submission Options.

Electronic applications will only be accepted via www.Grants.gov. ACF will not accept applications submitted via email or via facsimile. Only applications, which pass the Grants.gov validation check, will be acknowledged.

Please read this section carefully before beginning application submission. It is mandatory to follow the instructions provided in this section to ensure that your application can be printed efficiently and consistently for review.

Copies Required
Applicants must submit one complete copy of the application package electronically. Applicants submitting electronic applications need not provide additional copies of their application package.

NOTE: Applications submitted via www.Grants.gov will undergo a validation check. See Section IV.2. Application Submission Options and Section IV.3. Submission Due Dates and Times, Explanation of Due Dates. The validation check can affect whether the application is accepted for review. Applications that fail the www.Grants.gov validation check will not be transmitted to ACF. If the application fails the validation check and is not resubmitted by 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, it will be disqualified.

Signatures
Follow the AOR Authorization and E-Biz POC  instructions provided at www.Grants.gov.

Required OMB-Approved and Standard Forms (SFs)
www.Grants.gov  provides its own protocols for the submission of OMB-approved and Standard Forms (SFs) such as the SF-424 application and budget forms and the SF-P/PSL, Project/Performance Site Location form.  See Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications for required OMB-approved Standard Forms and required assurances and certifications.

Application Package Components
Applications must be divided into the sections listed in the table. It is important that each component is submitted in a separate electronic file. Page limitations apply to the Project Description document and the Appendices and the following:

  • The Project Summary/Abstract is limited to one single-spaced page.
  • The Budget Justification should be no more than 10 single-spaced pages.

Application Package Components

Page Limitations

Required Standard Forms (SFs) and/or OMB-approved Forms

No page limitations.

Required Certifications and Assurances

No page limitations.

Project Summary/Abstract

Limited to one single-spaced page.

Project Description

Page Limitations and included items are listed later in this section.

Budget Justification

No more than 10 single-spaced pages and will not count against page limitations.

Proof of Legal Status/Proof of Non-Profit Status

No page limitations.

Appendices

Page Limitations and included items are listed later in this section.

The required content of the Project Description and any Appendices, and their page limits, are listed later in this section.

With the exception of the required Standard Forms (SFs), all application materials must be formatted so that they will print out onto 8 ½" x 11" white paper with 1-inch margins.  All pages of the application component, i.e., Project Description, Budget Justification, Appendices, must be sequentially numbered.  Applicants should print all attachments on paper and count the number of pages before submitting the application. Applicants should keep a hard copy of the submitted application package for their files. The font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.

All elements of the application submission, with the exception of the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, the Budget Justification, required Assurances and Certifications, and proof of legal status/non-profit status, must be in double-spaced format in 12-point font. The Project Summary/Abstract is required to be one single-spaced page in 12-point font.  The Budget Justification may be single-spaced page in 12-point font and should be no more than 10 pages. The font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.

Applicants must follow the instructions provided in this section:

Carefully observe the file naming conventions required by www.Grants.gov.
Limit file names to 50 characters and do not use special characters (example: &,-,*,%,/,#) including periods (.), blank spaces, and accent marks, within application form fields, and file attachment names. An underscore (_) may be used to separate a file name.

Use only file formats supported by ACF.
It is critical that applicants only submit application components using the supported file formats listed here. Documents in file formats that are not supported by ACF will be removed from the application and will not be used in the competitive review. This may make the application incomplete and ACF will not make any awards based on an incomplete application.

ACF supports the following file formats:

  • Adobe PDF – Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls or .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt)
  • Corel WordPerfect (.wpd)
  • Image Formats (.JPG, .GIF, .TIFF, or .BMP only)

Do not encrypt or password protect the electronic application files!
If ACF cannot access submitted electronic files because they have been encrypted or are password protected, the affected file will be removed from the application and will not be used in the competitive review. This may make the application incomplete and ACF will not make any awards based on an incomplete application.

PAPER APPLICATION SUBMISSIONS:

The following requirements are only applicable to applications submitted in paper format. Applicants must receive an exemption from ACF in order to submit an application in paper format. See Section IV.2.Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission later in this section under Application Submission Options.

Application Package Components

Page Limitations

Required Standard Forms (SFs) and/or OMB-approved Forms

No page limitations.

Required Certifications and Assurances

No page limitations.

Project Summary/Abstract

Limited to one single-spaced page.

Project Description

Page Limitations and included items are listed later in this section.

Budget Justification

No more than 10 single-spaced pages and will not count against page limitations.

Proof of Legal Status/Proof of Non-Profit Status

No page limitations.

Appendices

Page Limitations and included items are listed later in this section.

Copies Required
Applicants must provide one original and two copies of all application materials when submitting an application in paper format. 

Signatures
An original signature of the AOR is required only on the original copy of paper application submissions. A point of contact on matters involving the application must also be identified on the SF-424 at item 8f.  The point of contact, known as the Project Director or Principal Investigator, should not be identical to the person identified as the AOR.

Format Requirements for Paper Applications

Applicants must follow the instructions provided in this section. 

All application materials must be submitted on 8 ½" x 11" white paper with 1-inch margins. All pages of the paper application submission must be sequentially numbered.  Application materials must be printed on one side only of each page so that they may be easily reproduced. If two-sided pages are submitted, only the "front" page will be used. 

All elements of the application submission, with the exception of the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, the Budget Justification, required Assurances and Certifications, and proof of legal status/non-profit status, must be in double-spaced format in 12-point font. The Project Summary/Abstract is required to be one single-spaced page in 12-point font.  The Budget Justification may be single-spaced, in 12-point font, and should be no more than 10 pages. The font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.

All copies of a mailed or hand-delivered paper application must be submitted in a single package. A separate package must be submitted for application under a single funding opportunity. The package must be clearly labeled for the specific funding opportunity it is addressing.

Because each application will be duplicated, do not use or include separate covers, binders, clips, tabs, plastic inserts, maps, brochures, or any other items that cannot be processed easily on a photocopy machine with an automatic feed. Do not bind, clip, staple, or fasten in any way separate subsections of the application, including supporting documentation. Use a clip (not a staple) to securely bind the application together. Applicants are advised that the copies of the application submitted, not the original, will be reproduced by the Federal government for review. Application materials must be one-sided for duplication purposes.

Instructions on the order of assembly for paper application submissions are available under this formatting section.

Addresses for Submission of Paper Applications
See Section IV.6. Other Submission Requirements for addresses for paper application submissions.

Page Limitations for Paper Format Application Submissions
Page limitations do not include OMB-approved Standard Forms (SFs), the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, proof of legal status/non-profit status, required Assurances and Certifications, and the Budget Justification, which should be no more than 10 single-spaced pages.

If an application exceeds the cited page limitation for double-spaced pages in the Project Description or the double-spaced page limitation cited for the Appendices, the extra pages will be removed and will not be reviewed. In addition, if an application narrative is single-spaced and/or one-and-a-half spaced (in whole or in part) the total number of these lines will be doubled. This adjustment may result in an increased total number of pages, which will be removed so that the application conforms to the cited double-spaced page limitation.

The Project Summary/Abstract is limited to one single-spaced page with 12-point font. Any pages over the one-page limit will be removed.

Page Limitations and Content of The Project Description and Appendices for All Application Formats:

The Project Description is limited to 30 pages and must include the following items at a minimum:

  • Table of Contents
  • Interoperability Plan
  • Project Management Plan
  • Planning and Participation in Key Events
  • Reporting

The Appendices are limited to 50 pages and must include the following items at a minimum:

  • Resumes and Summary of Experience for Project Manager and other Key Personnel
  • Proposed Format and Content Sections of Monthly Progress Report
  • Proposed Format and Content Sections of Final Report

Do not include the following in the Project Description:

  • OMB-approved and Standard Forms
  • The Project Summary/Abstract
  • Proof of Legal Status
  • Required Certfications and Assurances
  • Budget Justification

Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications

Applicants seeking grant or cooperative agreement awards under this announcement must submit the listed Standard Forms (SFs), assurances, and certifications with the application. All required Standard Forms, assurances, and certifications are available at ACF Funding Opportunities Forms or at the Grants.gov Forms Repository unless specified otherwise.

 
Forms / Assurances / Certifications Submission Requirement Notes / Description

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

and

SF-P/PSL - Project/Performance Site Location(s)

Submission is required for all applicants by the application due date.

Required for all applications.

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

If submission of this form is applicable, it is due prior at the time of application.  It may also be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

If any funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with this commitment providing for the United States to insure or guarantee a loan, the applicant shall complete and submit the SF-LLL, "Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying," in accordance with its instructions. Applicants must furnish an executed copy of the Certification Regarding Lobbying prior to award.

Certification Regarding Lobbying

Submission required of all applicants with the application package.  If it is not submitted with the application package, it may also be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Submission of this Certification is required for all applications.

SF-424A - Budget Information - Non-Construction Programs

and

SF-424B - Assurances - Non-Construction Programs

Submission is required for all applicants when applying for a non-construction project. Standard Forms must be used.  Forms must be submitted by the application due date.

Required for all applications when applying for a non-construction project. By signing and submitting the SF-424B, applicants are making the appropriate certification of their compliance with all Federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination.


IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission (contd.)

The Project Description

The Project Description Overview

The project description provides the majority of information by which an application is evaluated and ranked in competition with other applications for available assistance.  The project description should be concise and complete. It should address the activity for which Federal funds are being requested. Supporting documents should be included where they can present information clearly and succinctly. In preparing the project description, information that is responsive to each of the requested evaluation criteria must be provided. Awarding offices use this and other information in making their funding recommendations. It is important, therefore, that this information be included in the application in a manner that is clear and complete.

General Expectations and Instructions

ACF is particularly interested in specific project descriptions that focus on outcomes and convey strategies for achieving intended performance. Project descriptions are evaluated on the basis of substance and measurable outcomes, not length. Extensive exhibits are not required. Cross-referencing should be used rather than repetition. Supporting information concerning activities that will not be directly funded by the grant or information that does not directly pertain to an integral part of the grant-funded activity should be placed in an appendix.

General Instructions for Preparing a Full Project Description

Introduction

Applicants that are required to submit a full project description shall prepare the project description statement in accordance with the following instructions while being aware of the specified evaluation criteria. The topics listed in this section provide a broad overview of what the project description should include while the Criteria in Section V.1. identify the measures that will be used to evaluate applications.

Table of Contents

List the contents of the application including corresponding page numbers.

Project Summary/Abstract

Provide a summary of the application's project description.  The summary must be clear, accurate, concise, and without reference to other parts of the application.  The abstract must include a brief description of the proposed grant project including the needs to be addressed, the proposed services, and the population group(s) to be served. 

Please place the following at the top of the abstract: 

  • Project Title
  • Applicant Name
  • Address
  • Contact Phone Numbers (Voice, Fax)
  • E-Mail Address
  • Web Site Address, if applicable

 The project abstract must be single-spaced and limited to one page in length.

Approach

Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed work will be accomplished.  Account for all functions or activities identified in the application.  Cite factors that might accelerate or decelerate the work and state your reason for taking the proposed approach rather than other approaches. Describe any unusual features of the project such as design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and community involvement.

Provide quantitative monthly or quarterly projections of the outcomes to be achieved for each function or activity in such terms as the number of people to be served and the number of activities accomplished.  Data may be organized and presented as project tasks and subtasks with their corresponding timelines during the project period. For example, each project task could be assigned to a row in the first column of a grid. Then, a unit of time could be assigned to each subsequent column, beginning with the first unit (i.e., week, month, quarter) of the project and ending with the last.  Shading, arrows, or other markings could be used across the applicable grid boxes or cells, representing units of time, to indicate the approximate duration and/or frequency of each task and its start and end dates within the project period.

When accomplishments cannot be quantified by activity or function, list them in chronological order to show the schedule of accomplishments and their target dates.

Provide a list of organizations, cooperating entities, consultants, or other key individuals who will work on the project, along with a short description of the nature of their effort or contribution.

Provide information about plans regarding the Interoperability Plan, applications must:

  • provide a sound and appropriate approach that ensures that the minimum Interoperability Plan elements will be addressed in full, including a management plan;
  • provide preliminary information (e.g. timeline, interim steps, personnel responsible) on each of the Interoperability Plan elements to the fullest extent possible; and
  • provide a commitment to adhere to all applicable Federal laws and regulations.

Provide information regarding the Project Management Plan, applications must:

  • propose qualified personnel, including a half-time project manager;
  • provide resume and summary of experience for key project personnel; and
  • demonstrate past success in designing and developing actionable planning efforts in health and human services information systems.

Provide information regarding Planning and Participation in Key Events (Status Conference Calls, Site Visits, and ACF/Grantee Meetings), applications must:

  • must attest and verify these activities; and
  • include an appropriate budget amount for funding travel to the ACF/Grantee Meetings.

Provide information about plans regarding Reporting, applications must:

  • provide a sound and appropriate approach that ensures that monthly progress reports are addressed, including a plan for assuring that clearance to submit reports is timely and is not a barrier to monthly reports;
  • provide a sample format and content framework for the monthly progress reports;
  • provide a sound and appropriate approach that ensures that the minimum Final Report elements will be addressed in full;
  • provide detailed approach on the Final Report element "Benefit to Other States";
  • provide a sample format and content framework of the Final Report to the extent possible; and
  • affirm that a comprehensive Draft Final Report will be submitted to ACF at the conclusion of the grant project period, and a Final Report will be submitted to ACF and available for publication within 60 days of the grant project period conclusion.

Organizational Capacity

  • Contact persons and telephone numbers
  • Documentation of experience in the program area

Provide a biographical sketch or resume for each key person appointed. Resumes should be no more than two pages in length. Job descriptions for each vacant key position should be included as well. As new key staff are appointed, biographical sketches or resumes will also be required.

Third-Party Agreements

Provide written and signed agreements between grantees and subgrantees, or subcontractors, or other cooperating entities. These agreements must detail the scope of work to be performed, work schedules, remuneration, and other terms and conditions that structure or define the relationship.
 

The Project Budget and Budget Justification

All applicants are required to submit a project budget and budget justification with their application. The project budget is input on the Budget Information Standard Form, either SF-424A or SF-424C. The budget justification is a line-item detail that includes detailed calculations for "object class categories" identified on the Budget Information Standard Form. Calculations must include estimation methods, quantities, unit costs, and other similar quantitative detail sufficient for the calculation to be duplicated. If matching or cost sharing is a requirement, applicants must include a detailed listing of any funding sources identified in Block 18 of the SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance).

Project budget Standard Forms and the budget justification will not count toward page limitations; however, the justification should be no more than 10 single-spaced pages with fonts of no less than 12-points.

Special Note: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Pub.L. 112-74), enacted December 23, 2011, limits the salary amount that may be awarded and charged to ACF grants and cooperative agreements. 
Award funds issued under this announcement may not be used to pay the salary, or any percentage of salary, to an individual at a rate in excess of Executive Level II. The Executive Level II salary of the Federal Executive Pay scale is $179,700 (http://www.opm.gov/oca/12tables/html/ex.asp). This amount reflects an individual’s base salary exclusive of fringe and any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of the duties to the applicant organization.  This salary limitation also applies to subawards/subcontracts under a ACF grant or cooperative agreement.

Provide a narrative budget justification for the proposed project that is being fully funded (the budget period and project period are the same). The narrative budget justification should describe how the categorical costs are derived. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocation of the proposed costs.

As mentioned in other Sections, travel costs should be included in the budget and narrative justification for the two ACF/Grantee meetings.

General

Use the following guidelines for preparing the budget and budget justification.  Both Federal and non-Federal resources (when required) shall be detailed and justified in the budget and budget narrative justification.   "Federal resources" refers only to the ACF grant funds for which you are applying.  "Non-Federal resources" are all other non-ACF Federal and non-Federal resources.  It is suggested that budget amounts and computations be presented in a columnar format:  first column, object class categories; second column, Federal budget; next column(s), non-Federal budget(s); and last column, total budget.  The budget justification should be in a narrative form.

Personnel

Description:  Costs of employee salaries and wages.

Justification:  Identify the project director or principal investigator, if known at the time of application.   For each staff person, provide:  the title; time commitment to the project in months; time commitment to the project as a percentage or full-time equivalent; annual salary; grant salary; wage rates; etc.  Do not include the costs of consultants, personnel costs of delegate agencies, or of specific project(s) and/or businesses to be financed by the applicant.

Fringe Benefits

Description: Costs of employee fringe benefits unless treated as part of an approved indirect cost rate.

Justification: Provide a breakdown of the amounts and percentages that comprise fringe benefit costs such as health insurance, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, retirement insurance, taxes, etc.

Travel

Description: Costs of project-related travel by employees of the applicant organization.  (This item does not include costs of consultant travel). 

Justification:  For each trip show:  the total number of traveler(s); travel destination; duration of trip; per diem; mileage allowances, if privately owned vehicles will be used to travel out of town; and other transportation costs and subsistence allowances.  If appropriate for this project, travel costs for key staff to attend ACF-sponsored workshops should be detailed in the budget.

Equipment

Description:  "Equipment" means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost that equals or exceeds the lesser of:  (a) the capitalization level established by the organization for the financial statement purposes, or (b) $5,000. (Note: Acquisition cost means the net invoice unit price of an item of equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired. Ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, freight, and installation, shall be included in, or excluded from, acquisition cost in accordance with the organization's regular written accounting practices.)

Justification: For each type of equipment requested provide: a description of the equipment; the cost per unit; the number of units; the total cost; and a plan for use on the project; as well as use and/or disposal of the equipment after the project ends. An applicant organization that uses its own definition for equipment should provide a copy of its policy, or section of its policy, that includes the equipment definition.

Supplies

Description:  Costs of all tangible personal property other than that included under the Equipment category.

Justification:  Specify general categories of supplies and their costs.  Show computations and provide other information that supports the amount requested.

Contractual

Description:  Costs of all contracts for services and goods except for those that belong under other categories such as equipment, supplies, construction, etc. Include third-party evaluation contracts, if applicable, and contracts with secondary recipient organizations, including delegate agencies and specific project(s) and/or businesses to be financed by the applicant.

Justification:  Demonstrate that all procurement transactions will be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. Recipients and subrecipients, other than States that are required to use 45 C.F.R. Part 92 procedures, must justify any anticipated procurement action that is expected to be awarded without competition and exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold fixed at 41 U.S.C. § 403(11), currently set at $100,000.  Recipients may be required to make pre-award review and procurement documents, such as requests for proposals or invitations for bids, independent cost estimates, etc. available to ACF.

Note: Whenever the applicant intends to delegate part of the project to another agency, the applicant must provide a detailed budget and budget narrative for each delegate agency, by agency title, along with the same supporting information referred to in these instructions.

Other

Description:  Enter the total of all other costs.  Such costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to:  local travel; insurance; food; medical and dental costs (noncontractual); professional services costs; space and equipment rentals; printing and publication; computer use; training costs, such as tuition and stipends; staff development costs; and administrative costs.

Justification:  Provide computations, a narrative description and a justification for each cost under this category.

Indirect Charges

Description:  Total amount of indirect costs.  This category should be used only when the applicant currently has an indirect cost rate approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or another cognizant Federal agency.

Justification:  An applicant that will charge indirect costs to the grant must enclose a copy of the current rate agreement.  If the applicant organization is in the process of initially developing or renegotiating a rate, upon notification that an award will be made, it should immediately develop a tentative indirect cost rate proposal based on its most recently completed fiscal year, in accordance with the cognizant agency's guidelines for establishing indirect cost rates, and submit it to the cognizant agency.  Applicants awaiting approval of their indirect cost proposals may also request indirect costs.  When an indirect cost rate is requested, those costs included in the indirect cost pool should not be charged as direct costs to the grant.  Also, if the applicant is requesting a rate that is less than what is allowed under the program, the authorized representative of the applicant organization must submit a signed acknowledgement that the applicant is accepting a lower rate than allowed.

Paperwork Reduction Disclaimer

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3520, the public reporting burden for the Project Description is estimated to average 40 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and reviewing the collection information. The Project Description information collection is approved under OMB control number 0970-0139, which expires 11/30/2012. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Application Submission Options

Electronic Submission via www.Grants.gov

  • Electronic applications must be submitted to www.Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date.
  • A DUNS Number and current registration at the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) are required.  DUNS and CCR registration are part of the www.Grants.gov registration process.  See “Get Registered” at http://grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
  • ACF will not accept applications via facsimile or email.
  • The electronic application can be downloaded from www.Grants.gov.
  • It is to an applicant's advantage to submit their applications at least 24 hours in advance of the application due date and time in order to correct any failures found during the application validation check.
  • Electronic submission at www.Grants.gov is two-step process:
    • Submission by the due date and time; and
    • Application validation check.
  • Electronically submitted applications will not pass the validation check at Grants.gov if the AOR does not have a current CCR registration and electronic signature credentials. 
  • Read and observe all application submission requirements provided at http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp
  • Observe the formatting requirements and page limitations provided in the Section IV.2. Formatting ACF Applications section for electronic applications.
  • Carefully read and observe electronic file naming conventions provided in the application submission instructions at http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp.
  • Use only file formats supported by ACF.  See Section IV.2. Formatting ACF Applications.
  • Additional guidance on the submission of electronic applications can be found at http://www.grants.gov/assets/Organization_Steps_Complete_Registration.pdf
  • If applicants encounter any technical difficulties in using www.Grants.gov, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at:1-800-518-4726, or by email at support@grants.gov, to report the problem and obtain assistance. Hours of Operation: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Grants.gov Contact Center is closed on Federal holidays.
  • Applicants should retain Grants.gov Contact Center service ticket number(s) as they may be needed for future reference.
  • Applicants that submit their applications electronically should retain a hard copy of their application package.
  • Contact with the Grants.gov Contact Center prior to the listed due date and time does not ensure acceptance of your application.  If difficulties are encountered, the Grants Management Officer listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts will determine whether the submission issues are due to Grants.gov system errors or user error.

Application Validation at www.Grants.gov 

After an applicant submits an application; Grants.gov generates a submission receipt via email and also sets the application status to "Received." This receipt verifies the application has been successfully delivered to the Grants.gov system.

Next, Grants.gov verifies the submission is valid by ensuring it does not contain viruses, the funding opportunity announcement is still open, and that the applicant login and applicant DUNS number match. If the submission is valid, Grants.gov generates a submission validation receipt via email and sets the application status to "Validated."

If the application is not validated, the application status is set to "Rejected." The system sends a rejection email notification to the applicant and the applicant must re-submit the application package. See "What to Expect After Submitting" at www.Grants.gov for more information.

Each time an application is submitted, or re-submitted, via www.Grants.gov, the application will receive a new date and time stamp. Only those applications with on-time date and time stamps, which result in a validated application and are transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged.

Applicants will be provided with an acknowledgement from www.Grants.gov that the submitted application package has passed, or failed, a series of checks and validations. Applications that are submitted on time  that fail the validation check will not be transmitted to ACF and will not be acknowledged.

Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission

ACF recognizes that some applicants may have limited or no Internet access, and/or limited computer capacity, which may prohibit them from uploading large files to the Internet at www.Grants.gov. To accommodate such applicants, ACF offers an exemption from required electronic submission. The exemption will allow applicants to submit hard copy, paper applications by hand-delivery, applicant courier, overnight/express mail couriers, or by other representatives of the applicant. 

To receive an exemption from required electronic application submission, applicants must submit a written request to ACF stating that the applicant qualifies for the exemption for one of two reasons:

  • Lack of Internet access or Internet connection, or
  • Limited computer capacity that prevents the uploading of large documents (files) to the Internet at www.Grants.gov.  

Applicants may request and receive the exemption from required electronic application submission by either:

  • Submitting an email request to electronicappexemption@acf.hhs.gov, or
  • Sending a written request to the Office of Grants Management Contact listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts in this announcement.

An exemption is applicable to all applications submitted by the applicant organization during the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) in which it is received. Applicants need only request an exemption once in a FFY. Applicants will need to request a new exemption from required electronic submission for any succeeding FFY.

Please Note: electronicappexemption@acf.hhs.gov may be used only to request an exemption from required application submission. All other inquiries must be directed to the appropriate Agency Contact listed in Section VII. of this announcement. Queries submitted to this email address that make requests for any reason other than a request for an exemption will not be acknowledged or answered.

Exemption requests by email to electronicappexemption@acf.hhs.gov and by postal mail must include:

  • Funding Opportunity Announcement Title,
  • Funding Opportunity Number (FON),
  • The listed Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number,
  • Name of Applicant Organization and DUNS Number,
  • AOR name and contact information,
  • Name and contact information of person to be contacted on matters involving the application, and
  • The reason for which the applicant is requesting an exemption from electronic application submission. The reason must be either the lack of Internet access or connection, or lack of computer capacity that prevents uploading large documents (files) to the Internet. 

Exemption requests must be received by ACF no later than two weeks before the application due date, that is, 14 calendar days prior to the application due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. If the fourteenth calendar day falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the due date for receipt of an exemption request will move to the next Federal business day that follows the weekend or Federal holiday.

Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials.  Details concerning acknowledgment of received applications are available in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times of this announcement.

Paper Format Application Submission

An exemption is now required for the submission of paper applications. See "Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission."

Applicants with exemptions that submit their applications in paper format, by mail or delivery, must submit one original and two copies of the complete application with all attachments. The original and each of the two copies must include all required forms, certifications, assurances, and appendices, be signed by the AOR, and be unbound.  The original copy of the application must have original signature(s). See Section IV.6 of this announcement for address information for paper format application submissions.

Applications submitted in paper format must show a DUNS Number. A DUNS Number is a nine-digit number established and assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B) to uniquely identify business entities.  A DUNS number may be acquired at no cost online at http://www.dnb.com.  To acquire a DUNS number by phone, contact the D&B Government Customer Response Center: U.S. and U.S Virgin Islands: 1-866-705-5711; Alaska and Puerto Rico: 1-800-234-3867 (Select Option 2, then Option 1).  Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., CST.

As of October 1, 2010, all applicants for Federal grants and cooperative agreements, including those that apply in paper format, are required to have Central Contractor Registration (CCR).  CCR registration is also required for organizations that will receive subawards under Federal grants and cooperative agreements.  CCR registration may be made online at www.ccr.gov or by phone at 1-866-606-8220.

CCR registration must be updated annually from the date of the initial registration. CCR registration is required to be active throughout the period of award.  Lack of CCR registration will prevent ACF from making an award to a recommended applicant.

There is the possibility of heavy traffic at the CCR website on application due dates. Applicants are strongly encouraged to register at the CCR well in advance of the application due date. CCR registration must be active and maintained with current information at all times during which an organization has an active award or an application under consideration.


Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials.  Details concerning acknowledgment of received applications are available in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times in this announcement.

IV.3. Submission Dates and Times

IV.3. Submission Dates and Times

Due Date for Applications: 08/17/2012

Explanation of Due Dates

The due date for receipt of applications is listed in the Overview section and in this section.  See Section III.3. Application Disqualification Factors.

Electronic Applications

The deadline for submission of electronic applications via www.Grants.gov is 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date. Electronic applications submitted at 12:00 a.m., ET, on the day after the due date will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically via www.Grants.gov unless they received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission. 

ACF does not accommodate transmission of applications by email or facsimile.

Instructions for electronic submission via www.Grants.gov are available at http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp.

Please note:

Applications submitted to www.Grants.gov at any time during the open application period, and prior to the due date and time that fail the Grants.gov validation check will not be received at ACF. These applications will not be acknowledged. Applications that fail the Grants.gov validation check will not be transmitted to ACF though they may have been submitted on time.

Each time an application is submitted via www.Grants.gov, the application will receive a new date and time-stamp. Only those applications with date and time-stamps that result in a validated application, which is transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged. 

Mailed Paper Format Applications

The deadline for mailed paper applications is 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date. Mailed paper applications received after the due date and deadline time will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Paper format application submissions will be disqualified if the applicant organization has not received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

Hand-Delivered Paper Format Applications

Applications that are hand-delivered by applicants, applicant couriers, by overnight/express mail couriers, or other representatives of the applicant must be received on, or before, the due date listed in the Overview and in this section. These applications must be delivered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday (excluding Federal holidays). Applications should be delivered to the address provided in Section IV.6.Other Submission Requirements.

Hand-delivered paper applications received after the due date and deadline time will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Hand-delivered paper format application submissions will be disqualified if the applicant organization has not received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

No appeals will be considered for applications classified as late under the following circumstances: 

  • Applications submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov are considered late when they are dated and time-stamped after the deadline of 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date.
  • Paper format applications received by mail or hand-delivery after 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date will be classified as late and will be disqualified.
  • Paper format applications received from applicant organizations that were not approved for an exemption from required electronic application submission under the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Submission will be disqualified.

Extensions and/or Waiving Due Date and Receipt Time Requirements

ACF may extend an application due date and receipt time when circumstances make it impossible for applicants to submit their applications on time. These events include natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, tornados, etc.), or when there are widespread disruptions of electrical service, or mail service, or in other rare cases. The determination to extend or waive due date and/or receipt time requirements rests with the Grants Management Officer listed as the Office of Grants Management Contact in Section VII. Agency Contacts.


Acknowledgement from
www.Grants.gov of an electronic application's submission:

Applicants will receive an initial email upon submission of their application to www.Grants.gov. This email will provide a Grants.gov Tracking Number. Applicants should refer to this tracking number in all communication with Grants.gov. The email will also provide a date and time stamp, which serves as the official record of the application's submission. The date and time-stamp must reflect a submission time on, or before, 11:59 p.m., ET, on the application due date. Receipt of this email does not indicate that the application is accepted or that is has passed the validation check.

Each time an application is submitted, or resubmitted, via www.Grants.gov, the application will receive a new date and time-stamp. Only those applications with on-time date and time-stamps that result in a validated application, which is transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged.

Applicants will be provided with an acknowledgement from www.Grants.gov that the submitted application package has passed, or failed, a series of checks and validations. Applications that are submitted on time that fail the validation check will not be transmitted to ACF and will not be acknowledged.

See "What to Expect After Submitting" at www.Grants.gov for more information.

Acknowledgement from ACF of an electronic application's submission:

Applicants will be sent additional email(s) from ACF acknowledging that the application has been retrieved from www.Grants.gov by ACF. Receipt of these emails is not an indication that the application is accepted for competition.

Acknowledgement from ACF of a paper format (hard copy) application's submission:

ACF will not provide acknowledgement of receipt of hard copy application packages submitted via mail or courier services.

IV.4. Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs (SPOC)

IV.4. Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs

This program is not subject to Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," or 45 CFR Part 100, "Intergovernmental Review of Department of Health and Human Services Programs and Activities." No action is required of applicants under this announcement with regard to E.O. 12372.
IV.5. Funding Restrictions

IV.5. Funding Restrictions

Costs of organized fund raising, including financial campaigns, endowment drives, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred solely to raise capital or obtain contributions, are considered unallowable costs under grants or cooperative agreements awarded under this funding opportunity announcement.

Grant awards will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs.
Construction is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this grant award.
Purchase of real property is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this grant award.
IV.6. Other Submission Requirements

IV.6. Other Submission Requirements

Submit paper applications to one of the following addresses. See Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

Submission By Mail

Daphne Weeden
Grants Management Officer
Division of Discretionary Grants
Office of Grants Management
Administration for Children and Families
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW.
Washington, DC 20447

Hand Delivery

Daphne Weeden
Grants Management Officer
Division of Discretionary Grants
Office of Grants Management
901 D Street, SW., Aerospace Building
ACF Mailroom 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024

Electronic Submission

See Section IV.2 for application requirements and for guidance when submitting applications electronically via http://www.Grants.gov.

For all submissions, see Section IV.3 for information on due dates and times.

V. Application Review Information

V.1. Criteria

Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated using the criteria described in this section. The corresponding point values indicate the relative importance placed on each review criterion. Points will be allocated based on the extent to which the application proposal addresses each of the criteria listed. Applicants should address these criteria in their application materials, particularly in the project description and budget justification, as they are the basis upon which competing applications will be judged during the objective review. The required elements of the project description and budget justification may be found in Section IV.2 of this announcement.
 
Interoperability Plan: Maximum Points: 30

14 points:  Does the application describe a sound and appropriate approach that ensures that each of the minimum Interoperability Plan elements will be addressed? 

14 points:  Does the application provide preliminary information (e.g. timeline, interim steps, personnel responsible) on each of the Interoperability Plan elements? 

2 points:  Does the application provide a commitment to adhere to all applicable federal laws and regulations?

Project Management: Maximum Points: 20

10 points:  Does the applicant propose qualified personnel, including a half-time project manager? Does the applicant provide a resume for key personnel?

10 points:  Does the application describe past success in the design and development of actionable planning efforts for information systems in health and human services? Does the applicant provide a summary of experience for key personnel?

Planning and Participation in Key Events (Status Conference Calls, Site Visits, and ACF/Grantee Meeting): Maximum Points: 10

10 points:  Does the application provide a sound and appropriate approach addressing the 1) status conference calls, 2) site visits, and 3) ACF/Grantee Meetings (including travel costs)?

 

Reporting: Maximum Points: 30

8 points:  Does the application provide a sound and appropriate approach for producing and submitting monthly progress reports including the sample report format and content framework and confirmation of a timely clearance process for report submission?

11 points:  Does the application provide a sound and appropriate approach for producing and submitting the Final Report?  Does the application provide a sound and appropriate approach for addressing each of the required Final Report elements?  Does the application include a proposed Final Report format and content framework?

4 points:  Does the application affirm that a comprehensive Draft Final Report will be submitted to ACF at the conclusion of the grant project period, and a Final Report will be submitted to ACF and available for publication within 60 days of the grant project period conclusion?

7 points:  Does the application provide a detailed approach on how the applicant will address the Final Report Element "Benefit to Other States"?  Does the application provide a sound and appropriate approach regarding the "road map" for other States? Does the application delineate the types of deliverables, planning, and procurement documents to be included in the Final Report that could be leveraged by other States to improve their interoperability?

 

Budget and Budget Justification: Maximum Points: 10

Note: Any applicant providing a budget that exceeds the ceiling of this award will not be considered.

5 points:  Does the applicant provide a 12-month project period budget narrative that includes expenses that are detailed, justified, and reasonable?

5 points:  Does the applicant provide a breakdown of budget line items by resource type, e.g. State staff, contract staff (by company), hardware, software, telecommunications, travel, miscellaneous/supplies, etc., and are the line items of cost then accumulated by month and summed to the year?  Does the applicant's budget provide the loaded labor rates for all staff assigned to the grant, as well as the total salary to be paid to each staff person under the grant?

V.2. & V.3. Review and Selection Process
V.2. Review and Selection Process

No grant award will be made under this announcement on the basis of an incomplete application.  No grant award will be made to an applicant that does not have an active CCR registration (www.ccr.gov or 1-866-606-8220).
 
Initial ACF Screening

Each application will be screened to determine whether it meets one of the following disqualification criteria as described in Section III.3. Application Disqualification Factors

  • Applications that are designated as late according to Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times,
  • Applications that are submitted in paper format without prior approval of an exemption from required electronic submission (Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission), or
  • Applications with requests that exceed the award ceiling stated in Section II. Award Information

For those applications that have been disqualified under the initial ACF screening, notice will be provided by postal mail or by email. See Section IV.3. Explanation of Due Dates for information on Grants.gov's and ACF's acknowledgment of received applications.

Objective Review and Results

Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1. Criteria of this announcement. Each panel is composed of experts with knowledge and experience in the area under review. Generally, review panels include three reviewers and one chairperson.

Results of the competitive objective review are taken into consideration by ACF in the selection of projects for funding; however, objective review scores and rankings are not binding. They are one element in the decision-making process.

ACF may elect not to fund applicants with management or financial problems that would indicate an inability to successfully complete the proposed project. Applications may be funded in whole or in part. Successful applicants may be funded at an amount lower than that requested.  ACF reserves the right to consider preferences to fund organizations serving emerging, unserved, or under-served populations, including those populations located in pockets of poverty. ACF will also consider the geographic distribution of Federal funds in its award decisions.

The Administration for Children and Families may consider a variety of factors in addition to the review criteria identified, including geographic distribution, State size, State progress toward interoperability and integration, project approach, and other factors in order to ensure that the interests of the Federal government are met in making final selections.

Approved but Unfunded Applications

Applications recommended for approval that were not funded under the competition because of the lack of available funds may be held over by ACF and reconsidered in a subsequent review cycle if a future competition under the program area is planned.  These applications will be held over for a period of up to one year and will be re-competed for funding with all other competing applications in the next available review cycle.  For those applications that have been deemed as approved but unfunded, notice will be given of such determination by postal mail.

 
V.3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Announcement of awards and the disposition of applications will be provided to applicants at a later date.
VI. Award Administration Information
VI.1. Award Notices

Successful applicants will be notified through the issuance of a Notice of Award (NoA) that sets forth the amount of funds granted, the terms and conditions of the grant, the effective date of the grant, the budget period for which initial support will be given, the non-Federal share to be provided (if applicable), and the total project period for which support is contemplated. The NoA will be signed by the Grants Officer and transmitted via postal mail or email. Following the finalization of funding decisions, organizations whose applications will not be funded will be notified by letter signed by the cognizant Program Office head. Any other correspondence that announces to a Principal Investigator, or a Project Director, that an application was selected is not an authorization to begin performance. 

Project costs that are incurred prior to the receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk and may be reimbursed only to the extent that they are considered allowable as approved pre-award costs. Information on allowable pre-award costs and the time period under which they may be incurred is available in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions.

 
VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Awards issued under this announcement are subject to the uniform administrative requirements and cost principles of 45 C.F.R. Part 74 (Awards And Subawards To Institutions Of Higher Education, Hospitals, Other Nonprofit Organizations, And Commercial Organizations) or 45 C.F.R. Part 92 (Grants And Cooperative Agreements To State, Local, And Tribal Governments).  The Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) is available at http://www.gpo.gov.

An application funded with the release of Federal funds through a grant award does not constitute, or imply, compliance with Federal regulations.  Funded organizations are responsible for ensuring that their activities comply with all applicable Federal regulations.

Prohibition Against Profit

Grantees are subject to the limitations set forth in 45 C.F.R. Part 74, Subpart E-Special Provisions for Awards to Commercial Organizations (45 C.F.R.  Part 74.81_Prohibition against profit), which states that, "... no HHS funds may be paid as profit to any recipient even if the recipient is a commercial organization.  Profit is any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs." 

Equal Treatment for Faith-Based Organizations

Grantees are also subject to the requirements of 45 C.F.R. Part 87.1(c), Equal Treatment for Faith-Based Organizations, which says, "Organizations that receive direct financial assistance from the [Health and Human Services] Department under any Department program may not engage in inherently religious activities such as religious instruction, worship, or proselytization as part of the programs or services funded with direct financial assistance from the Department."  Therefore, organizations must take steps to completely separate the presentation of any program with religious content from the presentation of the Federally funded program by time or location in such a way that it is clear that the two programs are separate and distinct. If separating the two programs by time but presenting them in the same location, one program must completely end before the other program begins.

A faith-based organization receiving HHS funds retains its independence from Federal, State, and local governments, and may continue to carry out its mission, including the definition, practice, and expression of its religious beliefs. For example, a faith-based organization may use space in its facilities to provide secular programs or services funded with Federal funds without removing religious art, icons, scriptures, or other religious symbols. In addition, a faith-based organization that receives Federal funds retains its authority over its internal governance, and it may retain religious terms in its organization's name, select its board members on a religious basis, and include religious references in its organization's mission statements and other governing documents in accordance with all program requirements, statutes, and other applicable requirements governing the conduct of HHS funded activities. 

Regulations pertaining to the Equal Treatment for Faith-Based Organizations, which includes the prohibition against Federal funding of inherently religious activities, Understanding the Regulations Related to the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Initiative" are available at http://www.hhs.gov/partnerships/about/regulations/. Additional information, resources, and tools for faith-based organizations is available through The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships website at http://www.hhs.gov/partnerships/index.html and at the Administration for Children & Families: Toolkit for Faith-based and Community Organizations.

Award Term and Condition under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000

Awards issued under this announcement are subject to the requirements of Section 106 (g) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended (22 U.S.C. § 7104).  For the full text of the award term, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/award_term.html.  If you are unable to access this link, please contact the Grants Management Contact identified in Section VII. Agency Contacts of this announcement to obtain a copy of the term.

Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. § 8102 et seq.) requires that all organizations receiving grants from any Federal agency agree to maintain a drug-free workplace. By signing the application, the Authorizing Official agrees that the grantee will provide a drug-free workplace and will comply with the requirement to notify ACF if an employee is convicted of violating a criminal drug statute. Failure to comply with these requirements may be cause for debarment. Government wide requirements for Drug-Free Workplace for Financial Assistance are found in 2 C.F.R. part 182; HHS implementing regulations are set forth in 2 C.F.R. part 382.400. All recipients of ACF grant funds must comply with the requirements in Subpart B - Requirements for Recipients Other Than Individuals, 2 C.F.R. part 382.225. The rule is available at Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace.

Debarment and Suspension

HHS regulations published in 2 CFR part 376 implement the governmentwide debarment and suspension system guidance (2 CFR part 180) for HHS' non-procurement programs and activities. "Non-procurement transactions" include, among other things, grants, cooperative agreements, scholarships, fellowships, and loans. ACF implements the HHS Debarment and Suspension regulations as a term and condition of award. Grantees may decide the method and frequency by which this determination is made and may check the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) located at https://www.epls.gov/, although checking the EPLS is not required. More information is available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/grants_resources.html.

Pro-Children Act

The Pro-Children Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. §§ 7181 through 7184, imposes restrictions on smoking in facilities where federally funded children's services are provided. HHS grants are subject to these requirements only if they meet the Act's specified coverage.  The Act specifies that smoking is prohibited in any indoor facility (owned, leased, or contracted for) used for the routine or regular provision of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary education or library services to children under the age of 18.  In addition, smoking is prohibited in any indoor facility or portion of a facility (owned, leased, or contracted for) used for the routine or regular provision of federally funded health care, day care, or early childhood development, including Head Start services to children under the age of 18.  The statutory prohibition also applies if such facilities are constructed, operated, or maintained with Federal funds.  The statute does not apply to children's services provided in private residences, facilities funded solely by Medicare or Medicaid funds, portions of facilities used for inpatient drug or alcohol treatment, or facilities where WIC coupons are redeemed.  Failure to comply with the provisions of the law may result in the imposition of a civil monetary penalty of up to $1,000 per violation and/or the imposition of an administrative compliance order on the responsible entity.

HHS Grants Policy Statement

The HHS Grants Policy Statement (HHS GPS) is the Department of Health and Human Services' single policy guide for discretionary grants and cooperative agreements.  ACF grant awards are subject to the requirements of the HHS GPS, which covers basic grants processes, standard terms and conditions, and points of contact, as well as important agency-specific requirements.  Appendices to the HHS GPS include a glossary of terms and a list of standard abbreviations for ease of reference.  The general terms and conditions in the HHS GPS will apply as indicated unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary that are specified in the Notice of Award (NoA). The HHS GPS is available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/grants_related.html

VI.3. Reporting

Grantees under this funding opportunity announcement will be required to submit performance progress and financial reports periodically throughout the project period. The frequency of required reporting is listed later in this section.  Final reports may be submitted in hard copy to the Grants Management Office Contact listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts of this announcement.  Instructions on submission of reports electronically will be provided with award documents.

Performance Progress Reports (PPR)

ACF grantees are required to submit the SF-PPR Cover Page. ACF Program Offices that utilize reporting forms or formats in addition to, or instead of, the SF-PPR have listed the reporting requirements later in this section.

Grant award documents will inform grantees of the appropriate performance progress report form or format to use.  Grantees should consult their award documents to determine the appropriate performance progress report format required under their award.  Performance progress reports are due 30 days after the end of the reporting period.

Final program performance reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period.  The SF-PPR may be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/grants_resources.html

Federal Financial Reports (FFR)

As of February 1, 2011, HHS began the transition from use of the SF-269, Financial Status Report (Short Form or Long Form) to the use of the SF-425 Federal Financial Report for expenditure reporting. SF-269s will no longer be accepted for expenditure reports due after that date. If an SF-269 is submitted, the ACF will return it and require the recipient to complete the SF-425.

The transition strategy is allowing individual HHS Operating Divisions to select--from a limited number of options--the approach that best fits their programs and business process. This transition does not affect completion or submission of the cash reporting to the HHS Division of Payment Management's Payment Management System (PMS). The primary features of this transition for recipients are that OPDIVs that previously required electronic submission of the SF-269 will receive the SF-425 expenditure reports electronically and, until further notice, OPDIVs that have been receiving expenditure reports in hard copy will continue to do so.

All expenditure reports will be due on one of the standard due dates by which cash reporting is required to be submitted to PMS or at the end of a calendar quarter as determined by the Operating Division. As a result, a recipient that receives awards from more than one OPDIV may be subject to more than one approach, but will not be required to change its current means of submission or be subjected to more than eight standard due dates.

Beginning with budget periods which end from January 1 - March 31, 2011, and for all budget periods thereafter, all affected ACF grantees will be required to submit an SF-425 report as frequently as is required in the terms and conditions of their award using due dates for reports to PMS.
 

For budget periods ending in the months of:

The FFR (SF-425) is due to ACF on:

January 01 through March 31

April 30

April 01 through June 30

July 30

July 01 through September 30

October 30

October 01 through December 31

January 30


Fillable versions of the SF-425 form in Adobe PDF and MS-Excel formats, along with instructions, are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_forms, www.forms.gov, and on the ACF Funding Opportunity Website Forms page.

Further instructions will be provided, as necessary, with award terms and conditions that will address specific reporting periods and due dates on an award-by-award basis. Additional information on frequency of reporting is available on the ACF Funding Opportunities website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/msg_sf425.html.

For planning purposes, ACF reporting periods for awards made under this announcement are as follows:

 
Program Progress Reports: Quarterly
Financial Reports: Semi-Annually

Awards issued as a result of this funding opportunity may be subject to the Transparency Act subaward and executive compensation reporting requirements of 2 C.F.R. Part 170.  See ACF's Award Term for Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) Subaward and Executive Compensation Reporting Requirement implementing this requirement and additional award applicability information.

SF-428 Tangible Property Report and SF-429 Real Property Status Report


As of April 1, 2012, the Administration for Children and Families will begin requiring the use of the SF-428 (Tangible Personal Property Form) as well as the SF-429 (Real Property Status Report).


The SF-428 is a standard form to be used by awarding agencies to collect information related to tangible personal property (equipment and supplies) when required by a Federal financial assistance award. The form consists of the cover sheet (SF-428) and three attachments to be used as required: Annual Report; Final (Award Closeout) Report and a Disposition Request/Report. A Supplemental Sheet, SF-428S, may be used to provide detailed individual item information.


The SF-429 is a standard report to be used by recipients of Federal financial assistance to report real property status (Attachment A) or to request agency instructions on real property (Attachments B, C) that was/will be provided as Government Furnished Property (GFP) or acquired (i.e., purchased or constructed) in whole or in part under a Federal financial assistance award (i.e., grant, cooperative agreement, etc.). This includes real property that was improved using Federal funds and real property that was donated to a Federal project in the form of a match or cost share donation. This report is to be used for awards that establish a Federal Interest on real property.


Beginning with budget periods ending September 30, 2012 and for all budget periods thereafter, all ACF grantees will be required to submit (as applicable) an SF-428 and SF-429 report as frequently as is required in the terms and conditions of their award.


The forms are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_forms.

Reporting

Reporting is referenced in Section I.

Grantees will provide monthly project progress reports noting the status of project milestones compared to the grantee’s initial Interoperability Plan. Grantee monthly project progress reports will need to contain metrics for measuring progress, such as percent complete of major deliverables, days ahead/behind schedule for major deliverables, as well as narrative explanations/justifications for changes in scope or direction of major deliverables. Applicants should propose and include a sample format and content framework for the monthly progress report.

In addition to progress reports, each grantee will be required to submit a final report that will be publicly disseminated.  Each grantee will submit a preliminary draft of this final report at the conclusion of the grant project period (12 months after the start of the grant project period).  The final report will be due 60 days after the conclusion of the grant project period.  The final report should include the following elements. To the extent possible, applicants should propose and include a sample format and content framework for the final report.

Minimum Final Report Elements:

  1. Outcomes: Grantees must explain the outcomes the State sought to improve.
  2. Exploration Questions: Grantees must explain the set of questions the State explored.
  3. Options Considered: Grantees must explain the options that were initially explored, as well as the one(s) ultimately developed.
  4. Options Impact and Goals: Grantees must explain the potential outcome impact of each option and how the options explored relate to one or more of these three goals: improve service delivery, reduce errors and improve program integrity, and/or improve administrative efficiency.
    1. Improve service delivery for clients: This could include reducing the amount of documentation families must submit to apply for multiple benefits, reducing the time spent by families applying or retaining eligibility, or improving the quality of services families receive because entities providing services have access to the information they need to deliver the more effective services.
    2. Reduce errors and improve program integrity: This could include improving the accuracy of eligibility determinations and improving the agencies’ ability to make changes in eligibility and benefits as appropriate, based on State and Federal policy and families’ circumstances, along with approaches to ensure that information reported to or available in one program can be shared with other programs in support of program integrity efforts.
    3. Improve administrative efficiency: This could include reducing duplicative administrative processes such as verification, document storage, and eligibility determinations.
  5. Options Cost Benefit: Grantees must include the quantifiable and qualitative costs and benefits of each option noted to relevant Federal and State programs and funding streams.
  6. Options Enterprise Architecture and/or Modules: Grantees must explain the enterprise architecture used or planned, including any specified modules or components explored as were identified in the second tri-agency letter dated January 23, 2012, if applicable.
  7. Exploration Answers: Grantees must explain the answers to the set of questions explored.
  8. End Result: Grantees must explain what option(s) will be explored further or implemented by the State upon grant conclusion.
  9. Breadth: Grantees must explain the breadth of the project (i.e. the number of human services programs and systems included in the State's planning efforts).
  10. Human Services Program and Initiatives: Grantees must explain which State and Federally funded human service programs were taken into consideration in this project and how existing related initiatives were leveraged.
  11. Information Technology Initiatives: Grantees must explain how the State leveraged and/or complemented existing information technology development initiatives and requirements.
  12. Health Intersection: Grantees that explored options to make their eligibility systems more interoperable or integrated must explain how the issues considered intersected with the States’ plans related to the Medicaid expansion that will take effect on January 1, 2014, and, if applicable, the implementation of a Health Insurance Exchange.
  13. Stakeholders: Grantees must explain how the State engaged and integrated stakeholders.
  14. Privacy and Confidentiality Framework: Grantees must explain the privacy and confidentiality framework to support adequate sharing and protection of client and program information to promote eligibility and/or case management purposes.
  15. Benefit to Other States:
    1. Grantees must explain how the work the State completed could benefit other States that are interested in similar issues.
    2. Grantees must provide a “road map” for implementation of this planning effort by other States. It could include items from specific timelines, steps, models, etc., to lessons learned and topics to consider.
    3. Grantees must include all planning documentation developed as part of this planning grant (e.g. Planning Advance Planning Document (APD), Implementation APD, and/or procurement documents (e.g. Request for Quote (RFQ), Request for Proposal (RFP)).

Options that grantees would develop using these funds would have to be designed to meet goals outlined earlier in this Section; however, because these funds are for planning and not implementation of the systems changes, measurable impacts will only be possible to the degree that States then implement one or more of the options developed.

VII. Agency Contacts

Program Office Contact

Sheila Drake
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Division of State and Tribal Systems
Aerospace
901 D St SW.
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: (202) 401-0904
Fax: (202) 205-4342
Email: Sheila.Drake@ACF.hhs.gov
 

Office of Grants Management Contact

Daphne Weeden, Grants Management Officer
Division of Discretionary Grants
Office of Grants Management
Administration for Children and Families
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW.
6th Floor East
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: (202) 401-5513
Email: ACFOGME-grants@acf.hhs.gov
 

Federal Relay Service:

Hearing-impaired and speech-impaired callers may contact the Federal Relay Service for assistance at 1-800-877-8339 (TTY - Text Telephone or ASCII - American Standard Code For Information Interchange).

VIII. Other Information

Reference Websites


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Internet http://www.hhs.gov/.

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) on the Internet http://www.acf.hhs.gov/.

Administration for Children and Families - ACF Funding Opportunities homepage  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (C.F.D.A.) https://www.cfda.gov/.

Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.)  http://www.gpo.gov.  

United States Code (U.S.C)  http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/ .

All required Standard Forms, assurances, and certifications are available on the ACF Forms page at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/grants_resources.html.

Grants.gov Forms Repository webpage at http://www.grants.gov/agencies/aforms_repository_information.jsp.

Versions of other Standard Forms (SFs) are available on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Grants Management Forms web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_forms/.

For information regarding accessibility issues, visit the Grants.gov Accessibility Compliance Page at http://www07.grants.gov/aboutgrants/accessibility_compliance.jsp.

Sign up to receive notification of ACF Funding Opportunities at www.Grants.gov http://www.grants.gov/applicants/email_subscription.jsp.

ACF, through OCSE, will sponsor a pre-application conference call for all parties interested in applying for this grant.  The purpose of the conference call is to respond to questions about the program announcement.  The pre-application conference call will most likely be held within 14 business days of the publication of the announcement.  However, ACF will notify applicants by posting specific call information on the HHS/ACF Interoperability Initiative web page (http://transition.acf.hhs.gov/about/interoperability) soon after the Funding Opportunity Announcement publication. In addition, a transcript of the call will be posted at the same URL.

 

Application Checklist

 
What to Submit Where Found When to Submit

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

and

SF-P/PSL - Project/Performance Site Location(s)

Referenced in Section IV.2. and found at http:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants/grants_resources.html and at the Grants.gov Forms Repository at http://www.grants.gov/ agencies/ aforms_repository_information.jsp.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

SF-424A - Budget Information - Non-Construction Programs

and

SF-424B - Assurances - Non-Construction Programs

Referenced in Section IV.2. and found at http:// www.acf.hhs.gov /grants/grants_resources.html.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Certification Regarding Lobbying

Referenced in Section IV.2. of the announcement and found at http:// www.acf.hhs.gov /grants/grants_resources.html

Submission is due with the application package. If it is not submitted with the application package, it may also be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

"Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying" is referenced in Section IV.2. and found at http:// www.acf.hhs.gov /grants/grants_resources.html.

Submission of this form is required if any funds have been paid, or will be paid, to any person for influencing, or attempting to influence, an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with this commitment providing for the United States to insure or guarantee a loan.

If submission of this form is applicable, it is due prior at the time of application.  It may also be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

The Project Description

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.  This is the title for the project narrative that describes the applicant's plan for the project.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

The Project Budget and Budget Justification

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Budget and Budget Justification of the announcement.

Submission of the Project Budget is required on the appropriate Standard Form (424A or 424C).  The Budget Justification is a separate document that may be no longer than 10 pages and is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Table of Contents

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.  This is an element of the Project Description and will usually be counted in page limitations listed in Section IV.2. Formatting Requirements.

Submission is due as part of the Project Description by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Project Summary/Abstract

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description of the announcement.  It is an element of the Project Description and will be counted in page limitations that are stated in Section IV.2. Formatting Requirements.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Third-Party Agreements

Referenced in Section IV.2. of the announcement under "Project Description."

If available, submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3.  If not available at the time of application submission, due by the time of award.

Appendices