Administration for Children and Families
 
 
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
 
Child Welfare Training: The National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development on Evidence Based Treatment Services
HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CT-0595
Application Due Date: 06/10/2013

 

Child Welfare Training: The National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development on Evidence Based Treatment Services
HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CT-0595
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
Child Welfare Training: The National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development on Evidence Based Treatment Services
HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CT-0595
ANNOUNCEMENT PUBLICATION | VALIDATE & APPROVE
 
Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
 
Program Office:Administration on Children, Youth and Families - Children's Bureau
Funding Opportunity Title:Child Welfare Training: The National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development on Evidence Based Treatment Services
Announcement Type:Initial
Funding Opportunity Number:HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CT-0595
Primary CFDA Number: 93.648
Due Date for Applications: 06/10/2013
 
Executive Summary

 

Notices:

  • On January 1, 2012, the Administration for Children and Families implemented required electronic application submission via www.grants.gov for 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.

  • This Fiscal Year (FY 2013) ACF has implemented a new application upload requirement. Each applicant applying electronically via www.grants.gov is required to upload only two electronic files, excluding Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms. No more than two files will be accepted for the review, and additional files will be removed.  Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms will not be considered additional files.  Please see Section IV.2 Content and Form of Application Submission for detailed information on this requirement.

The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) is committed to facilitating healing and recovery and promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who have experienced maltreatment, exposure to violence and/ or trauma. These goals will only be realized if the child welfare workforce is equipped to respond to the complex needs of children, youth and their families in order to foster social and emotional well-being and promote healthy and positive functioning. Well-conceived policies, innovative program designs, and relevant research findings are critical; but of equal importance is the investment in making sure the people working with children, youth, and families in the child welfare systems have the personal characteristics, skills, knowledge, resources, and support to do their jobs with excellence. 

Children in the child welfare system are one of the most vulnerable groups in the United States for developing mental health problems. Their social and emotional needs are complex, their trauma symptoms are often severe and their outcomes are tied to the overall improvement in the well-being of their entire family system. Child welfare agencies serve as the gatekeepers for children’s mental health services, so it is imperative that these agencies study the impact of the services offered on the well-being of children and families and prepare their workforce to address their findings. Addressing well-being is key to healthy development in children and can contribute to ending the cycle of maltreatment that has long existed in child welfare. Academic institutions (schools of social work and other programs preparing child welfare professionals) have a unique opportunity to use their expertise to prepare the workforce by developing, testing and implementing curriculum for case workers, treatment providers, and agency directors to ensure that evidence-based treatment services are provided in an effective manner in order to improve well-being outcomes for children and families.

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to announce a targeted 5-year cooperative agreement with the Children’s Bureau for the National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development on Evidence-Based Treatment Services (The Center). The Center will address the current research findings that suggest that there is a shortage of child welfare workers prepared to both deliver and refer appropriately to evidence-based trauma informed treatment services to children and families. This project will advance federal priorities to improve safety, permanency, and well-being by building the capacity of child welfare professionals and improving the organizations that recruit, train, supervise, manage, and retain them. 

The Center will develop, implement, and evaluate three model curriculums aimed at improving the effectiveness of child welfare practitioners to provide evidence-based mental health treatment services to children in families. One curriculum will be aimed at child welfare case managers working in public child welfare who make decision about what services are most appropriate given the social and emotional needs of particular family. Another curriculum will be aimed at the mental health service providers to enhance their application of a particular parent-child evidence-based treatment program with the child welfare population. And finally, a model curriculum will be developed and implemented with state or county agency leadership aimed at helping them make important decisions about what evidence-based mental health treatment services to offer and how to practically measure their effectiveness in meeting child and family well-being outcomes. This three-tiered approach (decision-making skills for case managers, clinical skills for treatment professionals, and macro-level policy skills for agency administrators) will result in a coherent and unified approach to learning across the career ladder.

 
I. Funding Opportunity Description

Statutory Authority

Section 426 (a)(1)(C) of the Social Security Act, as amended [42 U.S.C. 626 (a)(1)(C)].

Description

BACKGROUND 

Administrations in Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. Within HHS, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is the agency responsible for federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) within ACF, administers national programs for children and youth; works with States, tribes, and local communities to develop services that support and strengthen family life; seeks joint ventures with the private sector to enhance the lives of children and their families; and provides information and other assistance to parents. Many of the programs administered by ACYF focus on children from low-income families; abused and neglected children; children and youth in need of foster care, independent living, adoption, or other child welfare services; preschool children; children with disabilities; runaway and homeless youth; and children from Native American and migrant families. 

Children’s Bureau

Within ACYF, the Children's Bureau (CB) plans, manages, coordinates, and supports child abuse and neglect prevention, and child welfare services programs. CB is the agency within the federal government that is responsible for assisting child welfare systems by promoting continuous improvement in the delivery of child welfare services. CB programs are designed to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of all children, including those in foster care, available for adoption, recently adopted, abused, neglected, dependent, disabled, or homeless, and to prevent the neglect, abuse, and exploitation of children. (For more information about CB's programs, visit http:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ programs/ cb.

Ensuring the Well-Being of Vulnerable Children and Families  

ACYF is committed to facilitating healing and recovery and promoting the social and emotional well-being of children who have experienced maltreatment, exposure to violence, and/or trauma. This FOA and other discretionary spending this fiscal year are designed to ensure that effective interventions are in place to build skills and capacities that contribute to the healthy, positive, and productive functioning of children and youth into adulthood. 

Children who have experienced maltreatment, exposure to violence, and/or trauma are impacted along several domains, each of which must be addressed in order to foster social and emotional well-being and promote healthy, positive functioning: 

  • Understanding Experiences: A fundamental aspect of the human experience is the development of a world view through which one's experiences are understood. Whether that perspective is generally positive or negative impacts how experiences are interpreted and integrated. For example, one is more likely to approach a challenge as a surmountable, temporary obstacle if his or her frame includes a sense that "things will turn out alright." On the contrary, negative experiences can color how future experiences are understood. Ongoing experiences of abuse might lead children to believe they deserve to be maltreated and affect their ability to enter into and stay engaged in safe and healthy relationships. Interventions should seek to address how young people frame what has happened to them in the past and their beliefs about the future. 
  • Developmental Tasks: People grow physically and psychosocially along a fairly predictable course, encountering normal challenges and establishing competencies as they pass from one developmental stage to another. However, adverse events have a marked effect on the trajectory of normal social and emotional development, delaying the growth of certain capacities, and, in many cases, accelerating the maturation of others. Intervention strategies must be attuned to the developmental impact of negative experiences and address related strengths and deficits to ensure children and youth develop along a healthy trajectory.   
  • Coping Strategies: The methods that young people develop to manage challenges both large and small are learned in childhood, honed in adolescence, and practiced in adulthood. Those who have been presented with healthy stressors and opportunities to overcome them with appropriate encouragement and support are more likely to have an array of positive, productive coping strategies available to them as they go through life. For children who grow up in unsafe, unpredictable environments, the coping strategies that may have protected them in that context may not be appropriate for safer, more regulated situations. Interventions should help children and youth transform maladaptive coping methods into healthier, more productive strategies.  
  • Protective Factors: A wealth of research has demonstrated that the presence of certain contextual factors (e.g., supportive relatives, involvement in after-school activities) and characteristics (e.g., self-esteem, relationship skills) can moderate the impacts of past and future negative experiences. These protective factors are fundamental to resilience; building them is integral to successful intervention with children, youth, and families.

The skills and capacities in these areas support children and youth as challenges, risks, and opportunities arise.  In particular, each domain impacts the capacity of young people to establish and maintain positive relationships with caring adults and supportive peers.  The necessity of these relationships to social and emotional well-being and lifelong success in school, community, and at home cannot be overstated and should be integral to all interventions with vulnerable children and youth. Additionally, building these skills and capacities through the implementation of effective interventions will ready children, youth, and families for positive permanency outcomes.

An important component of promoting social and emotional well-being includes addressing the impact of trauma, which can have a profound effect on the overall functioning of children and youth. ACYF promotes a trauma-informed approach, which involves understanding and responding to the symptoms of chronic interpersonal trauma and traumatic stress across the domains outlined above, as well as the behavioral and mental health sequel of trauma.

ACYF anticipates a continued focus on social and emotional well-being as a critical component of its overall mission to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children.

Working With Other CB Discretionary Grant Projects

CB currently funds approximately 300 discretionary grant projects in over 50 program areas. Through their work with a broad spectrum of populations within the child welfare arena, discretionary grantees develop a wealth of knowledge across numerous program areas. The findings from these programs can be useful in informing the field. Applicants are strongly encouraged to utilize the knowledge being developed by CB discretionary research and demonstration projects and other related Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) activities when developing proposals in response to this FOA. For more information  on CB discretionary grant programs, please see http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/grants/discretionary-grant and http://basis.caliber.com/cbgrants/ws/library/docs/cb_grants/GrantHome.

The Role of Workforce Development Initiatives

The role of workforce development initiatives in the field of child welfare is critical. For children who have experienced trauma, healing and recovery take place in safe, nurturing contexts. The foundation to an approach that promotes well-being is a knowledgeable workforce assuring the use of an effective, trauma-informed response to the children and families they serve. In order to meet the goals of promoting social and emotional well-being, it is of great priority to increase the capacity of the workforce to meet the needs of children and families (ACYF, 2012). 

“Practically from the beginning of being a federal agency, CB has believed that a highly competent workforce is the essential element of child welfare practice and the key to responding effectively to child and families in need” (Lynch Thomas, 2012). CB believes that building an effective and efficient workforce is as critical a goal for child welfare agencies as building an array of quality services and interventions. The implementation of evidence-based treatment services is dependent upon the effectiveness of the professionals at all levels of child welfare agencies providing support to vulnerable children, youth, and families. 

CB believes that positive outcomes for vulnerable children, youth, and families are achieved when a competent, well-trained workforce that is able and motivated to achieve the agency’s goals and objectives is deployed. A causal relationship exists between capable child welfare agency workforce and positive case outcomes (ACF, 2006).

Children, youth, and families who come into contact with the child welfare systems deserve evidence-informed assistance from a committed and skilled child welfare workforce, supported by well-functioning, well-managed and high-performing child welfare agencies. 

Achieving safety, permanency, and well-being for children requires that child welfare professionals be knowledgeable, skilled, and have access to necessary resources. Unfortunately, public, private, and tribal agencies are often faced with challenges that can compromise the health, competence, and effectiveness of their respective workforces. The Child and Family Services reviews have also shown that while many states are able to meet basic criteria for providing initial training to workers and supervisors before they begin work for the agency, only about half of the States provide sufficient ongoing training to ensure workers’ skills and practice knowledge are able to meet the complex needs of their clients (DHHS, 2011). “There is a national picture unfolding that makes it clear that even basic casework practice, such as assessing children and parents, involving them in case planning, and having consistent caseworker contact, needs significant improvement to provide excellent care in order to achieve permanency and protect the safety and wellbeing of children and families involved in the child welfare systems” (Lynch Thomas, 2012).

CB is engaged in ongoing efforts to respond to findings from the Child and Family Service Reviews (CFSR) and other monitoring reviews that show a need for more advanced and effective training. Through its child welfare training initiatives and other discretionary programs, CB promotes the development and dissemination of promising and proven approaches to child welfare workforce needs. CB expects that this will result in the delivery of more appropriate, responsive, and effective services to children and their families. This particular initiative focuses on building the capacity of the workforce to improve the healthy, positive, and productive functioning of children and youth into adulthood. 

The April 2012 information memorandum, Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being for Children and Youth Receiving Child Welfare Services (http:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ sites/ default/ files/ cb/ im1204.pdf) lays out essential elements of an approach. Child welfare systems of which the workforce is the heart, should use screening and assessment tools that are valid, reliable, and normed to the general population to identify the needs and strengths of children and families. The child welfare workforce is the key ingredient in ensuring that appropriate evidence-based interventions are used to address problems, reduce risks, and build strengths. The workforce must be trained and equipped to use ongoing monitoring to assess whether interventions are working and to use data to fine tune the array of services available to the population. The purpose of this funding is to build curriculum on evidence-based treatment services to improve decision making skills for case managers, clinical skills on a particular evidence-based practice for treatment professionals, and to increase the macro-level policy skills for agency administrators who make decisions about the service array needed to address the needs of their child welfare population. This funding should result in a coherent and unified approach to learning across the career ladder.

Child Welfare Training Initiatives under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act

Legislative authority for the initiative described in this FOA comes from Title IV-B, Subpart I – Child Welfare Services of the Social Security Act (the Act). Under Section 426 (a)(1)(C) of the Act, federal grants are available to public or non-profit institutions of higher learning for special training projects and traineeships in the field of child welfare. 

In an effort to support the recruitment and retention of qualified staff in child welfare, CB has funded professional education traineeships for many years. In the late 1970s, CB defined the scope of the Section 426 Title IV-B training grants as inclusive of three complementary purposes: the development of child welfare trainers, educators and curricula; the provision of financial support for short term training of public and private agency staff working in child welfare; and, the coverage of educational costs of students in their final years of college or graduate school” (Lynch Thomas, 2012). Traineeships are awarded to institutions of higher education to administer stipends to individual students who commit to pursuing either a BSW or MSW degree in social work and to serving in a child welfare agency upon graduation. In recent years, approximately 40 States have partnered with approximately 80 schools of social work to support the education and training of child welfare staff (Lynch Thomas, 2012). 

In 2003, CB also funded eight, 5-year projects to demonstrate successful recruitment and retention strategies. This group of projects has demonstrated promising strategies for the selection, hiring, and retention of qualified child welfare staff. (Previous Recruitment and Retention grantees and links to their websites are listed in Appendix A. Additional information on Child Welfare Training projects is available at http:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ programs/ cb/ programs_fund/ discretionary/ cw_training.htm.) In 2005, ACF sponsored a Child Welfare Workforce Development and Workplace Enhancement Institute that brought federal experts, public and private agencies, universities, and other child-welfare serving agencies together to share best practices on recruiting and retaining a stable and highly skilled child welfare workforce.

In 2008, as a result of knowledge developed and lessons learned through the Retention and Recruitment grants, CB funded the first National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) to build the capacity of the nation’s child welfare workforce through activities that focused on supporting the development of skilled child welfare leaders in public and tribal child welfare systems and in private agencies contracted by the State to provide case management services traditionally provided by public child welfare. CB invested in NCWWI because of a belief that developing leaders at every level of the workforce, whether student, supervisor, middle manager, or agency director is an important effort if the child welfare workforce is to be transformed. NCWWI articulates their vision (NCCWI, 2012) for a child welfare workforce that is:

  • Strengthened by professional education and leadership development;
  • Supported by organizational practices that mirror systems of care principles;
  • Led by middle managers and supervisors who engage in designing and delivering effective services; and
  • Skilled at delivering promising practices that improve outcomes for children and families.

To promote effective child welfare practice and leadership development, NCWWI undertook a number of activities, including but not limited to developing and delivering leadership training for mid level managers and supervisors, administering child welfare professional education traineeship programs, advancing knowledge through collaboration and evaluation, and identifying and strategically disseminating effective and promising workforce practices. 

NCWWI initiated 12 traineeship projects in 2008. NCWWI was responsible for administering and evaluating these professional education stipend programs throughout the five years of the project. The intent of the traineeships is to increase the knowledge and skills of individual stipend recipients, especially related to leadership development, address the workforce challenges of local child welfare systems, and build the capacity of college and university social work programs to prepare students for positive, culturally competent and productive careers in child welfare.

Additionally, in 2008, CB separately funded five Comprehensive Workforce Projects whose purpose was to build the capacity of the child welfare workforce through targeted workforce development interventions and traineeships that build on promising workforce practices. These cooperative agreements have provided universities and agencies the opportunity to partner and focus on assessments and interventions to improve agency culture and climate. 

In 2013, CB is releasing two separate FOAs aimed at addressing workforce capacity. The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CT-0596) will be a national center of excellence to address workforce development and leadership capacity building, and organizational effectiveness. The Workforce Institute will play a national leadership role in a number of broad areas: building evidence of best practices in workforce development, providing leadership training across the career spectrum, supporting organizational interventions that improve the culture and climate in child welfare agencies, and demonstrating how the academic community can effectively partner with local child welfare agencies.

This FOA for The National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development on Evidence-Based Treatment Services is clearly within the scope of the intent of Title IV-B of the Social Security Act as this funding will advance the development of effective curricula and the provision of financial support for short-term training of public and private agency staff. The funding will be used to build and disseminate evidence of how to best equip the child welfare workforce to ensure the well-being of children and family through the use of trauma-informed and evidence-based practices.

The Need for the Child Welfare Workforce to Better Understand the Behavioral and Mental Health Needs of Children in Foster Care

Research shows that children in foster care have significantly higher rates of acute and chronic medical problems, developmental delays, educational disorders, and behavioral health problems than other children of similar backgrounds (McCarthy, 2002).  Relevant findings include:

  • Eighty percent of children in foster care have at least one chronic medical condition, 25 percent have three or more chronic problems, and an estimated 30 to 70 percent of children in foster care have severe emotional problems. (Simms & Halfron, 1998; Halfron, Mendonca, & Berkowitz, 1995; Silver, DiLorenzo, Zukoski, Ross, Amster, & Schlegel, 1999).
  • Approximately one third score in the clinical range for behavior problems on the Child Behavior Checklist (NSCAW, 2006).
  • By the time they are 17 years-old, 62 percent of youth in foster care will exhibit both the symptoms of a mental health disorder and the symptoms of trauma (Griffin, McClelland, Holzberg, Stolbach, Maj & Kisiel, 2012).
  • Children in foster care are more likely to have a mental health diagnosis than other children. In a study of foster youth between the ages of 14 and 17 (White, Havalchak, Jackson, O’Brien & Pecora (2007), 63 percent met the criteria for at least one mental health diagnosis at some point in their lives. The most common diagnoses were Oppositional Defiant Disorder/Conduct Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder/Major Depressive Episode, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Left unaddressed, these unmet needs are likely to derail normal development, hinder healthy functioning, and impede the achievement of permanency. CB also believes that childhood trauma and compromised well-being often result in problems that extend into adulthood, affecting their ability to function successfully. 

The child welfare workforce must understand these special needs and be equipped to address them through a variety of strategies. Currently, there is no national curriculum whose target audience is working child welfare professionals and that is designed to assist the workforce to understand these complex needs of children and families involved in the public child welfare system.  This funding and the project it supports attempts to fill that gap.

Child Welfare Training and Technical Assistance Network

CB provides training and technical assistance (T/TA) resources through its grants, contracts and cooperative agreements.  CB-supported T/TA providers include the National Child Welfare Resource Centers (NRCs) that work together to assist States, tribes, localities and courts to improve public child welfare systems. The purpose of these providers is to build the capacity of State and tribal child welfare agencies and family and juvenile courts through the provision of training, technical assistance, research, and consultation on the full array of federal requirements administered by CB.  

CB employs several monitoring tools to ensure conformity with federal child welfare requirements to help States achieve greater safety, permanency and well-being for children. While a major function of the CB-supported T/TA is to prepare States for child welfare monitoring and to help them apply the knowledge gained from these reviews, the ultimate purpose of T/TA is to improve child welfare systems and to support States and tribes in achieving sustainable, systemic change that yields better outcomes for children, youth and families.

CB’s T/TA providers hold expertise in multiple aspects of child welfare practice, and they are expected to provide resources and assistance that will support and facilitate positive change, and in some cases comprehensive cross-system reforms that will build State or tribal capacity to deliver quality child welfare services and result in more effective and promising practice. CB and its providers utilize a variety of strategies to deliver T/TA to States and tribes. 

In order to meet the requirements of this FOA, The Center will perform activities that complement the services of other CB-supported T/TA providers. The Center will partner closely with other CB-funded workforce development initiatives and with Child Welfare Information Gateway (CWIG), a national clearinghouse that connects child welfare and other professionals to resources, information, and online tools that cover a wide range of topics related to child welfare, child abuse and neglect, and adoption (http:// www.childwelfare.gov). CWIG supports CB and provides numerous resources, including product development; dissemination/outreach via web, print, and electronic formats; websites and databases; and other online learning tools for improving child welfare practice.

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

Tips for Preparing a Competitive Application

This national project is expected to possess relevant expertise in child welfare workforce issues and professional leadership training. In addition, this project must have the necessary knowledge and expertise to provide culturally informed and responsive training to child welfare professionals that work in State, county, and tribal systems serving diverse and overrepresented groups of children and families. CB encourages partnerships between institutions to secure this expertise if necessary.

It is essential that applicants read the entire announcement package carefully before preparing an application and include all of the required application forms and attachments. The application must reflect a thorough understanding of and support the purpose and objectives of the applicable legislation. Reviewers expect applicants to understand the goals of the legislation and CB's interest in each topic and to address and follow all of the evaluation criteria in ways that demonstrate this understanding. Applications that do not clearly address the evaluation criteria or program requirements generally receive very low scores and are rarely funded.

CB's website (http:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ programs/ cb) provides a wide range of information and links to other relevant websites. Before preparing an application, applicants can learn more about CB's mission and programs by exploring the website.

Purpose

The purpose of this national project is to build the capacity of the child welfare workforce in public child welfare agencies and their partner organizations to identify, assess, and treat trauma experienced by children and youth to improve their ability to cope with normal challenges successfully. The project will rely on the recent developments in trauma-informed, evidence-based practice literature to develop, implement, and evaluate curriculum in child welfare agency settings that will:

  • Support the child welfare workforce to better understand social and emotional needs of children and families involved in the child welfare system;
  • Support the child welfare workforce to better screen and assess for the social and emotional needs of children and families;
  • Support the child welfare workforce to understand the effective interventions and active ingredients of those interventions and how to ensure children and families receive those interventions;
  • Increase exposure to active ingredients and Evidence-Based Practices for agency staff through enhanced curriculum and tools;
  • Provide professional development opportunities for agency staff by developing, delivering, and evaluating course offerings, continuing education, and certificate programs aimed at addressing the shortage of child welfare practitioners prepared to deliver evidence based child and family treatment services;
  • Provide curriculum aimed at assisting case managers to make excellent decisions about how to refer and to evaluate the effectiveness of the services provided to the children and families in their care;
  • Enhance the capacity of mental health services to effectively use a particular parent-child evidence-based treatment program;
  • Develop decision making tools for agency leadership that might assist them in assessing their current mental health service array. These tools will provide direction about the cost and effectiveness of the mental health services in their current service array, and assist the administrator in evaluating if the current treatment services are achieving intended outcomes, and provide leadership with guidance on best practice in selecting and implementing evidence- based treatment services.
  • Assist child welfare and related systems to understand the benefits of evidence-based assessment and treatment, and how these evidence-based, trauma-informed services can improve outcomes for children and families, as well as contribute to ending/disrupting the cycle of inter-generational child maltreatment.

The Center will address the current research findings that suggest there is a shortage of social workers prepared to both deliver and appropriately refer children and families to evidence-based trauma-informed treatment. The Center will develop, implement, and evaluate three model curriculums aimed at improving the effectiveness of child welfare practitioners to provide evidence-based mental health treatment services to children in families. One curriculum will be aimed at child welfare case managers working in public child welfare who make decision about what services are most appropriate given the social and emotional needs of particular family. Another curriculum will be aimed at the mental health service providers to enhance their application of a particular parent-child evidence based treatment program with the child welfare population. And finally, a model curriculum will be developed and implemented with state or county agency leadership aimed at helping them make important decisions about what evidence-based mental health treatment services to offer and how to practically measure their effectiveness in meeting child and family well-being outcomes.  This three-tiered approach (decision making skills for case managers, clinical skills for treatment professionals, and macro-level policy skills for agency administrators) will result in a coherent and unified approach to learning across the career ladder.

Target Participants and Consumers  

The Center will increase knowledge and build the skills of administrators, managers, supervisors, and staff in public child welfare agencies as well as mental health professionals serving child and families involved in the child welfare system and partnering organizations. The major categories of activity described in this announcement target two types of “audiences”:

  • Participants in training, professional development offerings, and technical assistance; and
  • Users or consumers of products and tools.

At a minimum, The Center must target state child welfare agency directors and program managers, case managers and mental health providers serving children; but the grantee may target additional participants including: training academy directors, county and local administrators, private agency directors, mental health partners serving the child welfare population, partners from the courts, tribal agency leadership, and other key stakeholders.

Products and tools developed under this cooperative agreement may be intended for general use by a broad child welfare audience or they may be more narrowly targeted to address the specific needs of particular users. Products must be thoughtfully designed and tailored, when necessary, to ensure that they are relevant and meet the needs of professionals based on their roles and responsibilities.

The grantee’s target participants and consumers must align with the needs it has identified and the proposed training and product development activities. After award of the cooperative agreement, the grantee will review its target participants and consumers with CB and its partners and potentially refine these targets, if necessary.

Collaboration

The Center must partner closely with CB throughout the funding period to meet the goals of this program announcement.  As a participant in a cooperative agreement, the grantee can expect to closely collaborate with CB in the review of its proposed activities. In some cases, they will revise and jointly develop key project strategies. CB must approve project plans and activities prior to implementation.

Responsibility for supporting the child welfare workforce to understand the social and emotional needs of children and families and to implement trauma-informed, evidence-based practice is not the sole role of any single project or entity.  In addition to its partnership with CB, the grantee will be responsible for collaborating with other projects, including but not limited to, National Child Welfare Resource Centers, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, and other CB-funded and other Federal interagency projects aimed at increasing the capacity of the workforce to meet the needs of children and families. 

Outreach and Engagement

In order to successfully reach its target audiences and achieve its goals for participation and use of The Center’s tools and resources, the grantee must have clear and deliberate strategies for outreach and engagement. The Center must engage its intended consumers in the development and refinement of its training activities and products. The project will seek feedback from members of its target audience(s) throughout the project period to better understand workforce development needs, inform project activities, review curricula and product-related content, and proposed dissemination strategies.

Knowledge Management

The Center will identify, review, collect, organize, and manage relevant and useful resources and products on social and emotional well-being, and decision-making tools on evidence-based treatment services, making them easily accessible to its target audiences and the public. The grantee will work closely with CB and identified partners to determine how best to provide access to a repository of resources and information that is easily navigable (and potentially searchable) and meets consumers’ needs. This activity must not duplicate, but may build upon previous and existing CB-supported efforts in this area. The grantee will be guided by the content of trauma-informed curriculum and practical resources on implementing evidence-based treatment services in child welfare settings that ensure the well-being of children and families that have been disseminated by CB, but its search will draw on publications and products from a much broader base of resources from child welfare and other fields. Resources may include, but are not limited to, articles, reports, papers, briefs, tools, curricula, and instruments from a wide variety of trauma-informed approaches that are/may be relevant to practice in child welfare. Gaps in existing training curricula and resources will be identified, reported to CB and its partners, and used to inform the project’s planned activities.

Training

The primary purpose of The Center is to support the child welfare workforce to better understand and respond to the  social and emotional needs of children and families involved in the child welfare system and to build the competencies and skills of child welfare practitioners to choose and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, to support mental practitioners implementing evidence-based treatment services and to assist agency leaders charged with guiding decision making around their evidence-based treatment service array. 

The overall goal is to improve child welfare services and achieve better well-being outcomes for children, youth, and families. Drawing on the grantees own knowledge, experience, and expertise, and its review of literature and resources, consumer feedback, and collaboration with other partners of CB, the grantee will design and implement a training plan. The training plan must be designed to build individual competencies of specific members of the child welfare workforce and to develop key skills that are aligned with those activities that are necessary for individuals to perform critical tasks that demonstrate a greater understanding of social and emotional well-being of children and families and the evidence-based treatment services that might best serve the identified needs. General overviews and frameworks describing trauma and evidence-based treatment processes and systems in “broad strokes” may be helpful, but they will not be sufficient to meet the training requirement of this award. Training will be expected to generate measurable gains in participants’ knowledge and skills that can be expected to improve performance in key aspect of child welfare practice. The goal of any training will be to improve specific child and family well-being outcomes.

At a minimum, the training plan will include the development of three unique curriculums over the project period. One curriculum will be aimed at child welfare case managers working in public child welfare, who make decisions about what services are most appropriate given the social and emotional needs of particular family. One curriculum will be aimed at mental health service providers to enhance their application of a particular parent-child evidence-based treatment program with the child welfare population. And finally, a model curriculum will be developed and implemented with state or county agency leadership aimed at helping them make important decisions about what evidence-based mental health treatment services to offer and how to practically measure their effectiveness in meeting child and family well-being outcomes.

Group-based Learning Program

After the curriculum is developed, the grantee will design and conduct a group-based learning program for individuals or teams representing title IV-E child welfare agencies. The Center will lead cohorts of participants from multiple jurisdictions through a program that builds individual capacity and facilitates the application of what has been learned to the “real world” practice of participants’ agencies. The program design must include in-person as well as distance learning components, and the grantee’s program will integrate training, coaching, and peer learning in a manner that efficiently deploys resources and effectively increases knowledge, develops skills, and changes attitudes and behavior. 

The group-based learning program must be informed by theory and best practices in adult education and training. CB expects the program to complement its training with individualized coaching for participants and practice with concrete tools. The program must build on promising and evidence-supported, group-based learning models that have been previously evaluated. The Center will finalize its plan for group-based learning with CB and its partners. Learning cohorts must begin no later than October 1, 2014, and The Center must be capable of conducting multiple cohorts concurrently. 

Distance Learning - Web Accessible Training Modules

The Center may choose to develop curricula and design a series of training sessions that can be easily accessed online and serve the needs of remote participants. The design of these training modules will be informed by theory and best practices in adult education and training, knowledge transfer, and distance learning, as well as the best available research evidence. Modules may build upon one another, taking a participant through a series of successive lessons and activities, and/or modules may be independent training sessions that a user can access without needing to follow any particular sequence. Certificates or records of successful completion should be contingent upon demonstrated understanding and application of the training content. Training module access and use must be free to users, and modules must be easily transferred to the federal government or another entity identified by CB by the end of the project period.

Tailored Technical Assistance

In some instances, The Center may determine that in order to achieve the goals of this FOA it is necessary to provide time-limited, tailored technical assistance to the jurisdictions of some of its group-based learning program participants. Tailored technical assistance may include one or more site visits to assist the jurisdiction with assessment, work planning, coaching, and consultation. Proposed technical assistance must be considered in consultation with CB, coordinated with other T/TA service providers, and approved by the Federal Project Officer for the project prior to delivery.

Products and Tools

Based on its knowledge of needs, review of related resources, collaboration, and input from target consumers, the grantee will develop products that provide targeted users with practical information and tools. CB encourages creative product designs that respond to the needs, characteristics, and behavior patterns of the project’s target consumers to maximize the potential for their use. Products may include, but are not limited to: information briefs, tools, guides, and/or presentations. 

During the course of its project, The Center may have opportunities to consult and/or collaborate with State and tribal child welfare systems, other projects, and various national, regional, and community stakeholders to develop additional products.

Dissemination

NOTE: See Section IV.2, Dissemination, for additional instructions for applicants.

The Center will disseminate strategically to its target audiences. Consistent with requirements that have been detailed earlier in this section of this FOA, the grantee’s plans for outreach and engagement, knowledge management, distance learning, group-based learning, and product development must be guided by a coherent dissemination plan that is based on careful study of the target participants and consumers and a thorough understanding of their needs, characteristics, behaviors, and contexts. 

Technology

CB expects for The Center to carefully consider opportunities to use new technologies when making decisions about project activities, curricula and product design, and dissemination strategies. In addition to making training modules and other products electronically accessible, the grantee will be encouraged to take full advantage of innovations (e.g, websites, social networking, workspace sharing, livecasting, presentation sharing, mobile applications, etc.) that use web- and mobile-based technologies when these approaches are feasible, practical, and appropriate and when they are likely to increase access for target audiences and achieve project objectives.

Evaluation

NOTE: See Section IV.2, Evaluation, for additional instructions for applicants.

Participation in National Evaluation Activities

Because The Center will perform activities under this cooperative agreement that will complement other projects and technical assistance, the project will participate fully in any relevant national evaluation of CB-supported workforce development efforts, training, and/or technical assistance.  This may include participation as a member of a focus group, survey or interview respondent, and/or regular data entry into an automated data collection system. 

Evaluation of the National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development

The Center will conduct a rigorous, practical, and feasible program evaluation that will document and support the achievement of the purposes of this FOA within the time and resource constraints of the project. The evaluation design will answer key questions about project performance and will evaluate improvement of individual competencies of specific members of the child welfare workforce. The evaluation will assess if the workforce has developed key skills that are necessary for individuals to perform critical tasks that demonstrate a greater understanding of social and emotional wellbeing of children and families and the evidence based treatment services that might best serve the identified needs. The grantee’s evaluation must be both efficient and able to provide timely and useful information. Program evaluation activities must:  

  1. Be integrated into the project’s planning, decision making, and reporting to CB throughout the project period; 
  2. Answer key process and outcome questions related to satisfaction, accessibility, usability, participation, reach, use, and acquisition of competencies and skills;
  3. Support The Center’s ability to clearly describe and specify key aspects of a replicable group-based program model, monitor adherence to the model during program delivery, and assess the model’s ability to affect proximal learning and behavior-related outcomes;
  4. Calculate the costs of its knowledge management, distance learning, group-based learning, product development, and dissemination activities; and
  5. Inform the project of any recommendations for adjustment of the models or the delivery of training during the implementation phase of the project.

The Center will set clear and measurable objectives and outcomes for its knowledge management, distance learning, group-based learning, and product dissemination activities.  Guided by its logic model, the successful applicant will design an evaluation plan, choose methods, develop instruments, collect data, and perform analyses that will help the project determine the degree to which key objectives and intended outcomes are achieved.  While CB has identified several domains for evaluation, the design and content of the grantee’s planned activities may warrant the inclusion of additional outcomes.

The grantee may choose to partner with an internal or external evaluator for its evaluation. External evaluators from different types of organizations may be suited to this project, including university professors or university-based teams, independent consultants, or research/consulting firms. The evaluators, defined as an individual, team, or an organization such as a university or evaluation contractor, must have the staff qualifications and organizational capacity to implement a rigorous evaluation of a project of this type within the project period.

Helpful information on evaluation for program managers may be found in a document titled Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation, which can be accessed at: http:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ programs/ opre/ other_resrch/ pm_guide_eval/ index.html.

The grantee will describe its evaluation activities and findings as a component of its routine project reporting and submit a final evaluation report at the conclusion of the project.

Start Up

Immediately upon award of the cooperative agreement, the grantee will begin its 5-year project by meeting with CB and engaging in an intensive, 120-day start-up period to build partnerships, refine project plans, and kick-off activities.  During the first 16 weeks of the project, the project leadership will:

  • Establish the collaborative partnerships and processes necessary to guide and support successful project completion;
  • Establish project infrastructure and organization;
  • Revisit and further refine project objectives and set outcomes targets;
  • Develop a framework that will guide the development of the training and tool development;
  • Finalize plans and processes for outreach, knowledge management, and dissemination;
  • Revisit and further specify the target participants and consumers;
  • Ensure that the proposed group-based program model, web accessible training modules, and tools are likely to achieve the project objectives and outcomes;
  • Ensure the appropriateness of the proposed group-based program model, web accessible training modules, and tools for the targeted participants and users;
  • Review and revise, if necessary, work plan time tables and milestones; and
  • Review, refine, and finalize plans for evaluation in consultation with CB.

Project Milestones

Within 120 days of award, The Center must be fully operational, and an updated work plan (addressing each of the project requirements, including any agreed upon and/or proposed revisions based on the start-up activities described above) must be submitted to CB for review and approval. In addition, the following milestones must be included in the project work plan. 

  • Collaboration activities must be underway within 90 days;
  • Knowledge management activities must have begun within 120 days;
  • Group-based learning cohorts must begin no later than October 1, 2014; and
  • Data collection for the project evaluation must coincide with service delivery (e.g., delivery of the project’s first training sessions) and dissemination activities (e.g., announcement and release/posting of the first products for public use).

Project Closeout

CB shall maintain its irrevocable right to reproduce all curricula, online training modules, products, and tools developed under this cooperative agreement and to make these available to the targeted users for the benefit of the public.  Prior to or within 90 days of the end of the project period, the grantee must transfer all of these resources to CB or its designee.

Use of Funds

The grantee must adhere to the Funding Restrictions as noted in Section IV.5, Funding Restrictions.

Additional Project Requirements

The applicant's signature on the application constitutes its assurance that it will comply with the requirements stated in this FOA and in Section IV.2, Additional Assurances and Certifications. See Section IV.2. The Project Description, Approach, for additional instructions for the applicants.

References

Administration for Children and Families. (2006). Summary of the Results of the 2001–2004 Child and Family Services Reviews. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Administration for Children, Youth and Families (2012). Integrating Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being for Children and Families in Child Welfare:  A Summary of Administration on Children, Youth, and Families Projects in Fiscal Year 2012.

White, CR; Havalchak, A; Jackson, L; OBrien, K; & Pecora, PJ. (2007). Mental Health, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Spirituality Among Youth in Foster Care: Findings from The Casey Field Office Mental Health Study. Casey Family Programs.

Halfon, N., Mendonca, A., and Berkowitz, G. (1995). Health Status of Children in Foster Care. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 149(4):386-392.

Lynch Thomas, Miranda (2012).  One Hundred Years of Children’s Bureau Support to the Child Welfare Workforce.  Journal of Public Child Welfare, 6:4, 357-375.

McCarthy, J. (2002).  Meeting the Health Care Needs of Children in the Foster Care System, Georgetown University Child Development Center. Retrieved from: http:// gucchd.georgetown.edu/ products/ FCSummary.pdf.

Mitchell, L., Walters, R., Lynch Thomas, M., Denniston, J., McIntosh, H., Brodowski, M. (2012).  The Children’s Bureau’s Vision for the Future of Child Welfare. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 6(4), 550-567.

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute. (2012). NCWWI Child Welfare Traineeships: Promising Approaches & Strategies. Albany, NY: Author.

Silver, J., DiLorenzo, P., Zukoski, M., Ross, P.E., Amster, B.J., Schlegel, D. (1999). "Starting Young: Improving the Health and Developmental Outcomes of Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System." Child Welfare 78:148-165.

Simms, M.D., and Halfon, N. (1998). "The Health Care Needs of Children in Foster Care: A Research Agenda." Child Welfare 73:505-524.

The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) is a longitudinal study required by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 overseen by ACF. It is a key source of information about the social and emotional well-being of children who have experienced maltreatment, including information on rates of psychotropic medication use.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau (2011).  Federal Child and Family Services Reviews Aggregate Report, Round 2, Fiscal Years 2007-2010.  Retrieved from http:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ programs/ cb/ cwmonitoring/ results/ fcfsr_report.pdf

II. Award Information
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Estimated Total Funding: $1,000,000
Expected Number of Awards: 1
Award Ceiling: $1,000,000 Per Budget Period
Award Floor: $500,000 Per Budget Period
Average Projected Award Amount: $1,000,000 Per Budget Period

Length of Project Periods:

60-month project with five 12-month budget periods

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 by budget period or by project period for fully funded awards, even if the projected commitment exceeds the required amount of match or cost share. A grantee’s failure to provide the required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds.

The initial award will be for a 12-month budget period. The award of continuation beyond each 12-month budget period will be subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory progress on the part of the grantee, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the federal government. The projects awarded will be for a project period of 60 months.

Description of ACF's Anticipated Substantial Involvement Under the Cooperative Agreement

A cooperative agreement is a specific method of awarding federal assistance in which substantial federal involvement is anticipated. A cooperative agreement clearly defines the respective responsibilities of CB and the awardee prior to the award. CB anticipates that federal involvement will produce programmatic benefits to the recipient otherwise unavailable to them for carrying out the project. The involvement and collaboration includes:

  • CB review and approval of planning stages of the activities before implementation phases may begin;
  • CB and recipient joint collaboration in the performance of key programmatic activities (i.e., strategic planning, implementation, information technology enhancements, T/TA, publications or products, and evaluation);
  • Close monitoring by CB of the requirements stated in this announcement that limit the awardee's discretion with respect to scope of services offered; and
  • Close monitoring by CB during the performance period, which may, in order to ensure compliance with the intent of this funding, exceed those federal stewardship responsibilities customary for grant activities.

If multiple organizations are proposed to meet the requirements of this FOA in collaboration, the primary applicant that would be responsible for administering the cooperative agreement, if successful, must be clearly identified.  The primary applicant must document strong partnerships with its proposed partners, if applicable.

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

Under the funding legislation, eligible applicants are: Public and other non-profit institutions of higher learning.  

Collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts are encouraged, but applications must identify a primary applicant responsible for administering the grant. The primary applicant must be one of the entities listed under "Eligible Applicants" above.

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 and System for Award Management Eligibility Requirements (SAM.gov)


All applicants must have a DUNS number (www.dnb.com) and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, www.sam.gov) and maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete, and should a grant be made, throughout the life of the award. Finalize a new, or renew an existing, registration at least two weeks before the application deadline. This action should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your application or receive an award. Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register or renew at least two weeks before the deadline. See the SAM Quick Guide for Grantees at: https:// www.sam.gov /sam /transcript /SAM_Quick_Guide_Grants_Registrations-v1.6.pdf.

HHS requires 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 SAM prior to submitting an application or plan;
  • Maintain an active SAM 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 active 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.

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 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

ACF requires electronic submission of applications at www.Grants.govApplicants that do not have an Internet connection or sufficient computing capacity to upload large documents 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.

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 or acknowledged by ACF.

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 is 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 received approval of 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.

 

IV. Application and Submission Information

IV.1. Address to Request Application Package

CB Operations Center
c/o Lux Consulting Group
8405 Colesville Road, Suite 600
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (866) 796-1591
Email: cb@luxcg.com


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-forms. 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 AOR is an 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 AOR.

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 System for Award Management (SAM).

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 this application formatting section to ensure that your application does not exceeded the page limitations and can be printed efficiently and consistently for the competitive review.

Accepted Font Styles:

All applicants must use 12-point font in Times New Roman (TNR).

Page Limitations for Application Submissions

Applicants must observe the page limitations listed later in this section. Page limitations do not include OMB-approved Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved forms

All applications must be double-spaced and in Times New Roman, 12-point font.  An application that exceeds the cited page limitation for double-spaced pages in the Project Description file or the Appendices file will have the extra pages removed and these pages will not be reviewed.

Page limitations apply to electronically submitted and paper format applications. For applications that are single-spaced and/or one-and-a-half spaced (in whole or in part, except for the exempted elements listed later in this section) and/or use a font smaller than TNR, 12-point, ACF will use a formula to determine the actual number of pages. The formula counts the number of characters an applicant uses when following the instructions and using 12-point TNR and then compares the resulting number with that of the submitted application. For example, an applicant using TNR, 11-point font, with 1-inch margins all around, and single-spacing, would have an additional 26 lines, or 1500 characters, which is equal to 4/5 of an additional page. Extra pages resulting from this formula will be removed and will not be reviewed.

Be sure to print the Project Description and Appendices documents on paper and count the number of pages for each file before submission. Keep the printed copy as a hard copy of your application for your files.

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.

Applicants submitting applications in paper format must submit one original and two copies of the complete application, including all Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms. The original copy must have original signatures.

Signatures

Applicants submitting electronic applications must follow the AOR Authorization and E-Biz POC instructions provided at www.Grants.gov.

The original of a paper format application must include original signatures.

Accepted Application Format

With the exception of the required Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms, all application materials must be formatted so that they will print out onto 8 ½" x 11" white paper with 1-inch margins all around. The Project Description and Appendices files must be numbered separately. The font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable. Do not scan more than one page of a document on a single page. Application pages with two or more pages of a document scanned to it will be removed and will not be reviewed.

Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements

The following elements of the application submission are exempt from the double-spacing requirements listed earlier in this section: the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, required Assurances and Certifications, required Standard Forms, required OMB-approved forms, resumes, logic models, proof of legal status/non-profit status, contracts, and the Budget Justification. These items may be single-spaced. The Project Summary/Abstract is required to be one single-spaced page in 12-point font with 1-inch margins.  The Budget Justification may be single-spaced but must be in 12-point font.  Resumes must be in 12-point font, but are not required to be double-spaced. The font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.

ELECTRONIC APPLICATION SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Applicants are 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 for information about requesting an exemption.

Electronic applications will only be accepted via www.Grants.gov. ACF will not accept applications submitted via email or via facsimile.

Application Upload Requirements

Each applicant is required to upload ONLY two electronic files, excluding Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms. No more than two files will be accepted for the review, and additional files will be removed.  Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms will not be considered additional files.   

ACF strongly recommends that electronic applications be uploaded as Portable Document Files (PDFs). One file must contain the entire Project Description and Budget Justification; the other file must contain all documents required in the Appendices. Details on the content of each of the two files, as well as page limitations for each, are listed later in this section.

To adhere to the two file requirement, applicants may need to convert and/or merge documents together using a PDF converter software. Many recent versions of Microsoft Office include the ability to save documents to the PDF format without need of additional software. Applicants using the Adobe Professional software suite will be able to merge these documents together.  ACF recommends merging documents electronically rather than scanning multiple documents into one document manually, as scanned documents may have reduced clarity and readability.    

However, ACF understands that all applicants may not have access to this software. Grants.gov offers a listing of several free PDF conversion programs. These programs can be found on Grants.gov by clicking on ‘Applicant Resources’ on the far left side of the home page, and then by following the link to ‘Download Software’ near the top of the screen, or by clicking HERE . Free PDF software is available on this page that will allow users to convert and merge PDF documents. As an example, ACF is providing written instructions on downloading and using one type of free software listed at Grants.gov at the following link: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/pdf995_instructions_for_video.pdf.  A video demonstrating this process is also available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOly0HwXPsA. ACF does not endorse any of the software listed on Grants.gov, and applicants are not required to use a specific type of PDF conversion software to submit an application.    

NOTE: Applications submitted via www.Grants.gov will undergo a validation check. See Section IV.2. Application Submission Options for more information. The validation check can affect whether the application is accepted for review. If an application fails the Grants.gov validation check and is not resubmitted by 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, it will not be transmitted to ACF and will be excluded from the review. If an applicant resubmits their application to Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date and the application does not pass the validation check, it will not be transmitted to ACF and will be excluded from the review.

Required Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved Forms

Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved forms, such as the SF-424 application and budget forms and the SF-P/PSL (Project/Performance Site Location), are uploaded separately at Grants.gov. These forms are submitted separately from the Project Description and Appendices files. See Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications for the listing of required Standard Forms, OMB-approved forms, and required assurances and certifications.

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 submit applications using only the supported file formats listed here. While ACF supports all of the following file formats, we strongly recommend that the two application submission files (Project Description and Appendices) are uploaded as PDF documents in order to comply with the two file upload limitation. 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 are encrypted or password protected, the affected file will be removed from the application and will not be reviewed. This removal may make the application incomplete and ACF will not make awards based on an incomplete application.

FORMATTING FOR PAPER APPLICATION SUBMISSIONS:

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

Signatures

An original signature of the AOR is required only on the original copy of paper format application submissions. A point of contact on matters involving the application must 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

All application materials must be submitted on 8 ½" x 11" white paper with 1-inch margins. Applications must be in two sections. The first section must contain the entire Project Description and Budget Justification, and the second section must contain all required Appendices. The pages of the two sections must be separately and sequentially numbered.

All copies of mailed or hand-delivered paper applications must be submitted in a single package. If an applicant is submitting multiple applications under a single FOA, or multiple applications under separate FOAs, each application submission must be packaged separately. The package(s) must be clearly labeled for the specific FOA it addresses by FOA title and by Funding Opportunity Number (FON).

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 sections of the application. Applicants are advised that the copies of the application submitted, not the original, will be reproduced by the federal government for review. All application materials must be one-sided for duplication purposes.

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

Addresses for Submission of Paper Applications

See Section IV.6. Other Submission Requirements for addresses for paper format application submissions.

Page Limitations and Content of the Application for All Submission Formats:

NOTE: ADDITIONAL CB-SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR ALL APPLICATIONS UNDER THIS FOA

 The Project Description file is limited to 75 pages and must include these items in this order:

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Abstract
  3. Objectives and Need for Assistance
  4. Approach
  5. Evaluation
  6. Organizational Capacity 
  7. Logic Model  
  8. Line Item Budget and Budget Justification                                                                        

The Appendices file is limited to 50 pages and must include these items in this order:

  1. Certifications and Assurances
  2. Proof of Legal Status (if applicable)
  3. Third-party agreements
  4. Staff and Position Data (e.g., resumes, job descriptions, organizational charts)
  5. Indirect Cost Rate Letter (if applicable)

Do not include Standard Forms or OMB-approved forms as part of the Project Description file or the Appendices file. For electronic applicants, Standard Forms are submitted separately at Grants.gov. Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms are not included in the page limitations.

 

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-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

If applicable, submission of this form is due at the time of application. 

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.

Certification of Filing and Payment of Federal Taxes

Submission of a certification is required prior to award for grantees receiving more than $5,000,000 in Federal funding for the first budget year of a multi-year project; or for grantees receiving more than $5,000,000 in Federal funding for a one-year (12 months) project period; or for grantees receiving more than $5,000,000 in Federal funding for a multiyear project
 to be fully funded.

Applicants are advised of the following requirement contained in Section 523 of the "Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008," (P.L. 110-161, Division G).  This requirement remains in effect:

Sec. 523.  

None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that, to the best of its knowledge and belief, the contractor or grantee has filed all Federal tax returns required during the three years preceding the certification, has not been convicted of a criminal offense under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and has not, more than 90 days prior to certification, been notified of any unpaid Federal tax assessment for which the liability remains unsatisfied, unless the assessment is the subject of an installment agreement or offer in compromise that has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service and is not in default, or the assessment is the subject of a non-frivolous administrative or judicial proceeding. [Emphasis Added] 

Accordingly, if applicants request more than $5 million in Federal funds for the first budget year of a multiyear project to be funded in FY 2010, or as a multiyear project to be fully funded in FY 2010, the applicant will be required to submit a certification complying with the requirements, prior to receiving an award. 

Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification/IRB Certification/Declaration of Exemption (Common Rule)

Submission of the required information and forms is due with the application package by the due date listed in the Overview and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. If the information is not available at the time of application, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Form is available at http://www.hhs.gov/ ohrp/assurances/ forms/index.html.

General information about the HHS Protection of Human Subjects regulations can be obtained at http://www. hhs.gov/ ohrp/ . Applicants may also contact OHRP by email (ohrp@csophs .dhhs.gov) or by phone (240-453-6900).

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.

SF-424 Key Contact Form

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

Required for all applications.

DUNS Number (Universal Identifier) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration..

A DUNS number is required of all applicants. To obtain a DUNS number, go to 

http:// fedgov.dnb. com/ webform

Active registration at the Systems Award Management (SAM) website must be maintained throughout the application and project award period. SAM registration is available at 

http://www.sam.gov.

A DUNS number and SAM registration are eligibility requirements for all applicants.

See Section III.3. Other for information on obtaining a DUNS number and registration

at http://www.sam.gov.

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.

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.



ADDITIONAL CB-SPECIFIC PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

The applicant's signature on the application constitutes its assurance that it will comply with the following requirements:

  1. Have the project fully functioning, as described in applicant’s timeline, within 90 days following the notification of the award;
  2. Participate, if CB chooses, in any national evaluation or a technical assistance contract that relates to this FOA;
  3. Allocate sufficient funds in the budget to support required travel:  (a) within 6 weeks after the award, the project director, evaluator and/or other key staff/partners must attend a 1- to 2-day kick-off meeting in Washington, D.C.; (b) within 4 months after the award, the project director, evaluator and/or other key staff/partners must attend a 1- to 2-day working meeting with CB staff and other project stakeholders in Washington, D.C.; and (c) the project director, evaluator and/or other key staff/partners will attend two additional 2- to 3-day working meetings, in Washington, D.C., during the project period;
  4. Submit all plans for project activities, including, but not limited to, plans for the design, delivery, and dissemination of distance learning modules, the group-based learning program, and all proposed products and tools, to CB for review and approval prior to development and implementation;
  5. Submit all completed curricula, modules, products, tools, publications, and other content to CB for review and approval prior to delivery or dissemination to the public;
  6. Submit all performance indicator data, program, evaluation, and financial reports in a timely manner (see Section VI.3), in the recommended formats (to be provided). CB prefers and will accept the interim and final reports and attachments on disk or electronically using a standard word processing program; however, projects are required to provide the original and two copies of performance progress and final reports;
  7. Include the following notice in all grantee materials, products, publications, news releases, etc.:  Funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau, Cooperative Agreement #     ___. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the funders, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This information is in the public domain. Readers are encouraged to copy and share its content.  Please acknowledge The National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development on Evidence-Based Treatment Services and the publication’s authors when citing this document.
  8. Ensure conformity of all grantee products, publications, web content, and communications material with applicable accessibility standards described in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 749d); 
  9. Assist CB in exercising its right to secure and distribute grantee products and materials, including copies of journal articles written by grantees about their grant projects;
  10. Use comprehensive and current software that is accessible to and compatible with the CB/ACF computer network, and/or available to CB/ACF staff.  All grantee products, publications, materials, and web content will identify the The National Center for Child Welfare Curriculum Development as “a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” and include other identifying marks, as directed;
  11. Transfer all curricula, online training modules, products, tools, and other materials developed under this cooperative agreement to CB or its designee within 90 days of the project end date; and
  12. Submit an original and two copies of the final program and evaluation reports and any program products to CB within 90 days of project end date.

Non-Federal Reviewers

Since ACF will be using non-federal reviewers in the review process, applicants have the option of omitting from the application copies (not the original) specific salary rates or amounts for individuals specified in the application budget as well as Social Security Numbers, if otherwise required for individuals. The copies may include summary salary information.If applicants are submitting their application electronically, ACF will omit the same specific salary rate information from copies made for use during the review and selection process.
IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission (contd.)

The Project Description

Part I: The Project Description Overview

Purpose

The project description provides the majority of information by which an application is evaluated and ranked in competition with other applications for available assistance.  It should address the activity for which federal funds are being requested, and should be consistent with the goals and objectives of the program as described in Section I. Funding Opportunity Description.  Supporting documents should be included where they can present information clearly and succinctly.  When appropriate, applicants should cite the evaluation criteria that are relevant to specific components of their project description.   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

Applicants should develop 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.

Part II: General Instructions for Preparing a Full Project Description

Introduction

Applicants must prepare the project description statement in accordance with the following instructions while being aware of the specified evaluation criteria in Section V.1. Criteria.  The text options give a broad overview of what the project description should include while the evaluation criteria identify the measures that will be used to evaluate applications.

Table of Contents

List the contents of the application including corresponding page numbers. The table of contents must be single spaced and will be counted against the total page limitations.

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, in Times New Roman 12-point font, and limited to one page in length. Additional pages will be removed and will not be reviewed.


Objectives And Need For Assistance

Clearly identify the physical, economic, social, financial, institutional, and/or other problem(s) requiring a solution.  The need for assistance including the nature and scope of the problem must be demonstrated, and the principal and subordinate objectives of the project must be clearly and concisely stated; supporting documentation, such as letters of support and testimonials from concerned interests other than the applicant, may be included.  Any relevant data based on planning studies should be included or referred to in the endnotes/footnotes.  Incorporate demographic data and participant/beneficiary information, as well as data describing the needs of the target population and the proposed service area as needed. When appropriate, a literature review should be used to support the objectives and needs described in this section.

Approach

Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed project will be accomplished.  Applicants must account for all functions or activities identified in the application. Describe any design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and/or community involvement in the project. Provide a list of organizations, cooperating entities, consultants, or other key individuals that will work on the project, along with a short description of the nature of their effort or contribution.

 Cite potential obstacles and challenges to accomplishing project goals and explain strategies that will be used to address these challenges.

Target Participants and Consumers

Based on its understanding and explanation of the challenges, barriers, and needs that stand in the way of successful understanding of the social and emotional needs of children and families and the implementation of evidence-based treatment services in child welfare, the applicant must specify its target audience(s) and provide a sound rationale for its selections. The applicant must offer a justification for its target participants and consumers that aligns with needs identified and the proposed training and product development activities. 

Collaboration

The applicant must demonstrate in its proposal a commitment to partner closely with CB and with several other CB-supported projects to meet the goals of this FOA. 

In addition to describing its plans for partnership with CB to jointly review and in some cases revise and develop key project strategies, the applicant must explain how it intends to collaborate with other projects, including but not limited to, the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute and Child Welfare Information Gateway. 

The applicant must demonstrate an understanding of its responsibilities for collaboration and for planning and attending working meetings in Washington, D.C. These meetings will serve as critical opportunities for CB, The Center, and other stakeholders to share information, plan strategically, and leverage efforts. Meeting participants will be identified by CB.

Outreach and Engagement

In order to successfully reach its target audiences and achieve its goals for participation and use of The Center’s tools and resources, the applicant must have clear and deliberate strategies for outreach and engagement. Because The Center will not have the benefit of prior name recognition, the applicant must propose a thoughtful and coordinated plan for immediate communication with the field, particularly with child welfare State/County Agency Directors.

The applicant must describe how it will engage its intended consumers in the development and refinement of its training activities and products.  The applicant must also explain how it will seek feedback from members of its target audience(s) throughout the project period to better understand child welfare workforce needs, inform project activities, review curricula and product-related content, and assess proposed recruitment and dissemination strategies.

Knowledge Management

The applicant must describe how it intends to identify, review, collect, organize, and manage relevant and useful resources and products, making them easily accessible to its target audiences and the public. The proposed activity must not duplicate but may build upon previous and existing CB-supported efforts in this area. The applicant’s proposal should be informed by the content of existing curriculum and resources that have been disseminated by CB, but its proposed search must draw on publications and products from a much broader base of resources from child welfare and other fields. Resources may include, but are not limited to, articles, reports, papers, briefs, tools, curricula, and instruments from a wide variety of approaches that are/may be relevant to addressing the social and emotional well-being of children and families in child welfare. Content may range from general descriptions of the approaches to ensuring the well-being of vulnerable children and families, understanding trauma, and the process and characteristics of an operating effective evidence-based treatment services to useful tools for guiding choices of case managers and agency directors.

Based on its assessment of need, its knowledge of existing resources, and its familiarity with developing curriculum in other fields, an applicant will propose the preliminary scope of its knowledge management activities, including the areas of discipline and sources for its search, collection, and review.

Training

The primary purpose of The Center is to support the child welfare workforce to better understand and respond to the  social and emotional needs of children and families involved in the child welfare system and to build the competencies and skills of child welfare practitioners to choose and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, to support mental practitioners implementing evidenced-based treatment services, and to assist agency leaders charged with guiding decision making around their evidence-based treatment service array. 

Applicants must describe how proposed trainings will generate measurable gains in participants’ knowledge and skills and can be expected to improve performance in key aspects of child welfare practice. Applicants must also describe how proposed training will lead to improvement in specific child and family well-being outcomes. The overall goal is to improve child welfare services and achieve better well-being outcomes for children, youth, and families. Drawing on its own knowledge, experience, and expertise, its review of literature and resources, consumer feedback, and collaboration with other partners of CB, the applicant will design and implement a training plan. The training plan must be designed to build individual competencies of specific members of the child welfare workforce and to develop key skills that are necessary for individuals to perform critical tasks that demonstrate a greater understanding of social and emotional well-being of children and families and the evidence-based treatment services that might best serve the identified needs. General overviews and frameworks describing trauma and evidence-based treatment processes and systems in “broad strokes” may be helpful, but they will not be sufficient to meet the training requirement of this award. 

At a minimum, the training plan will include the development of three unique curriculums over the project period. One curriculum will be aimed at the child welfare case managers working in public child welfare to make decision about what services are most appropriate given the social and emotional needs of particular family. One curriculum will be aimed at the mental health service providers to enhance their application of a particular parent-child evidence-based treatment program with the child welfare population. And finally, a model curriculum will be developed and implemented with state or county agency leadership aimed at helping them make important decisions about what evidence-based mental health treatment services to offer and how to practically measure their effectiveness in meeting child and family well-being outcomes. The applicant will articulate how this three-tiered approach (decision-making skills for case managers, clinical skills for treatment professionals, and macro-level policy skills for agency administrators) will result in a coherent and unified approach to learning across the career ladder.

Group-based Learning Program

The applicant must propose a plan for a group-based learning program for individuals or teams representing title IV-E child welfare agencies. The applicant must demonstrate that its plan will lead cohorts of participants from multiple jurisdictions through a program that builds individual capacity and facilitates the application of what has been learned to the “real world” practice of participants’ agencies. The proposed program design must include in-person and distance learning components, and the applicant must integrate training, coaching, and peer learning in a manner that will efficiently deploy resources and effectively increase knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes and behavior. 

The applicant’s plan is expected be informed by theory and best practices in adult education and training. CB expects the applicant to complement its training with individualized coaching for participants and practice with concrete tools. The applicant’s proposed program should build on promising and evidence-supported, group-based learning models that have been previously evaluated. The first cohorts in an applicant’s proposed plan must begin no later than October 1, 2014, and the applicant must demonstrate its ability to conduct multiple cohorts concurrently. 

The applicant must propose and justify its preliminary plans for cohorts, including: number of cohorts, group composition, cohort size, process for participant recruitment and selection, program duration, meeting frequency, learning objectives, target competencies and skills, and training methods and content. Cohorts may vary in content and may be organized by geographic region; professional role in the child welfare system; jurisdiction size, type, or administrative structure; current practice, resources, and capacity; or other criteria identified by the applicant. While program content may be adapted and customized based on participant composition, the applicant must explain how it will develop and refine a single, replicable program model during the project period. 

Distance Learning - Web Accessible Training Modules

The applicant must describe its preliminary plans to develop curricula and design a series of training sessions that can be easily accessed online and serve the needs of remote participants. The proposed design of these training modules must be informed by theory and best practices in adult education and training, knowledge transfer, and distance learning, as well as the best available research evidence. Proposed modules may build upon one another, taking a participant through a series of successive lessons and activities, and/or modules may be independent training sessions that a user can access without needing to follow any particular sequence. 

The applicant must clearly link its plans for web accessible training to its project objectives and the needs of its target users. The applicant must describe its preliminary plans for the number of modules, training duration, content and design, module format, learning objectives, and target competencies and skills.

Tailored Technical Assistance

Based on its assessment of need, the applicant must provide a preliminary plan describing the conditions under which tailored technical assistance (tailored TA) from The Center might be warranted and the types of technical assistance that the project would be prepared to provide.  Tailored TA may include one or more site visits to assist the jurisdiction with assessment, work planning, coaching, and consultation.  The applicant must provide an estimate of the quantity of tailored TA that would be available in light of other project activities.

Products and Tools

The applicant must propose a preliminary plan for the products that it intends to develop to provide targeted users with practical information and tools. All proposed product development activities must be aligned with the intended users’ needs, context, and behavior. Based on its knowledge of needs, review of related resources, collaboration, and input from target consumers, the applicant will develop products that provide targeted users with practical information and tools. CB encourages creative product designs that respond to the needs, characteristics, and behavior patterns of the project’s target consumers to maximize the potential for their use. Products may include, but are not limited to, written curriculum, information briefs, tools, guides, and/or presentations. 

Technology

The applicant must describe how it would use new technologies in its proposed project activities and explain how it would determine when these approaches are feasible, practical, and appropriate. The applicant must justify why its proposed use of innovative technology is likely to increase access for target audiences and achieve project objectives.

Project Timeline and Milestones

Provide quantitative monthly or quarterly projections of the accomplishments 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.

Program Performance Evaluation Plan

Applicants must describe the plan for the program performance evaluation that will contribute to continuous quality improvement. The program performance evaluation should monitor ongoing processes and the progress towards the goals and objectives of the project.  Include descriptions of the inputs (e.g., organizational profile, collaborative partners, key staff, budget, and other resources), key processes, and expected outcomes of the funded activities. The plan must be supported by a logic model and must explain how the inputs, processes and outcomes will be measured, and how the resulting information will be used to inform improvement of funded activities. 

Applicants must describe the systems and processes that will support the organization's performance management requirements through effective tracking of performance outcomes, including a description of how the organization will collect and manage data (e.g. assigned skilled staff, data management software) in a way that allows for accurate and timely reporting of performance outcomes. Applicants must describe any potential obstacles for implementing the program performance evaluation and how those obstacles will be addressed.

The applicant’s proposed program evaluation activities must: 

  1. Be integrated into the project’s planning, decision making, and reporting to CB throughout the project period; 
  2. Answer key process and outcome questions related to satisfaction, accessibility, usability, participation, reach, use, and acquisition of competencies and skills; 
  3. Support The Center’s ability to clearly describe and specify key aspects of a single, replicable, group-based program model; monitor adherence to the model during program delivery; and assess the model’s ability to effect proximal learning and behavior-related outcomes; and 
  4. Calculate the costs of its knowledge management, distance learning, group-based learning, product development, and dissemination activities.
Funded Activities Evaluation Plan

Applicants must describe the plan for rigorous evaluation of funded activities. The evaluation must be supported by a logic model.  The evaluation must assess processes and progress towards the goals and objectives of the project, and whether the project is having the expected effects and impacts. The evaluation plan must specify expected outcomes and any research questions. The plan must discuss how the results of this evaluation will provide greater understanding and improvement of the funded activities. The plan must include a valid and reliable measurement plan and sound methodological design. Details regarding the proposed data collection activities, the participants, and data management, and analyses plans must be described. Applicants must describe any potential obstacles foreseen in implementation of the planned evaluation and how those obstacles will be addressed. 

The applicant must propose a rigorous, practical, and feasible evaluation design that will answer key questions about project performance and support the development and refinement of a replicable, group-based learning model.

The applicant must include a well-organized logic model in its proposal that clearly illustrates the links between the conditions and needs of each proposed target audience, the project activities intended to address these needs, project outputs, short-term outcomes, and long-term outcomes that are most likely to be achieved after the project period has ended. The applicant must identify clear and measurable objectives and outcomes for its knowledge management, distance learning, group-based learning, and product dissemination activities. 

The applicant must document the staff qualifications and organizational capacity of the proposed evaluator(s) to implement a rigorous evaluation of a project of this type within the project period, including documentation of experience and expertise.

Logic Model

Applicants must submit a logic model for designing and managing their project. A logic model is a tool that presents the conceptual framework for a proposed project and explains the linkages among program elements. While there are many versions of the logic model, they generally summarize the logical connections among the needs that are the focus of the project, project goals and objectives, the target population, project inputs (resources), the proposed activities/processes/outputs directed toward the target population, the expected short- and long-term outcomes the initiative is designed to achieve, and the evaluation plan for measuring the extent to which proposed processes and outcomes actually occur.
Project Sustainability Plan

Applicants must propose a plan for project sustainability after the period of federal funding ends. Grantees are expected to sustain key elements of their grant projects, e.g., strategies or services and interventions, which have been effective in improving practices and those that have led to improved outcomes for children and families.

Describe the approach to project sustainment that will be most effective and feasible. Describe the key individuals and/or organizations whose support will be required in order to sustain program activities. Describe the types of alternative support that will be required to sustain the planned program. If the proposed project involves key project partners, describe how their cooperation and/or collaboration will be maintained after the end of federal funding.

Organizational Capacity

Provide the following information on the applicant organization and, if applicable, on any cooperating partners:

  • Organizational charts;
  • Curricula Vitae (CV);
  • Biographical Sketches (short narrative description);
  • Copy or description of the applicant organizationís fiscal control and accountability procedures;
  • Evidence that the applicant organization, and any partnering organizations, have relevant experience and expertise with administration, development, implementation, management, and evaluation of programs similar to that offered under this announcement;
  • Evidence that each participating organization, including partners and/or subcontractors, possess the organizational capability to fulfill their role(s) and function(s) effectively;
Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information

If any confidential or sensitive information will be collected during the course of the project, whether from staff (e.g., background investigations) or project participants and/or project beneficiaries, provide a description of the methods that will be used to ensure that confidential and/or sensitive information is properly handled and safeguarded. Also provide a plan for the disposition of such information at the end of the project period.

Dissemination Plan

Applicants must propose a plan to disseminate reports, products, and/or grant project outputs so that project information is provided to key target audiences. Dissemination plans must include:

  • Dissemination goals and objectives;
  • Strategies to identify and engage with target audiences;
  • Allocation of sufficient staff time and budget for dissemination purposes;
  • A preliminary plan to evaluate the extent to which target audiences have received project information and have used it as intended.
Third-Party Agreements

Third-party agreements include Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and Letters of Commitment. General letters of support are not considered to be third-party agreements. Third-party agreements must clearly describe the project activities and support to which the third party is committing.  Third-party agreements must be signed by the person in the third-party organization with the authority to make such commitments on behalf of their organization.

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.
Collaboration/consortia applicants must provide letters of commitment or MOU identifying the primary applicant that is responsible for administering the grant. The primary applicant must provide documentation of the commitments made by partnering organizations and describe in detail their roles and responsibilities as partners in the collaboration/consortia.
Plan for Oversight of Federal Award Funds

Provide a plan describing how oversight of federal funds will be ensured and how grant activities and partner(s) will adhere to applicable federal and programmatic regulations. Applicants must identify staff that will be responsible for maintaining oversight of program activities, staff, and partner(s). Applicants must describe procedures and policies used to oversee staff and/or partners/contractors.

Describe organizational records systems that relate financial data to performance data by identifying the source and application of federal funds so that they demonstrate effective control over and accountability for funds, compare outlays with budget amounts, and provide accounting records supported by source documentation.

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, according to the directions provided with the SFs. The budget justification consists of a budget narrative and a line-item budget detail that includes detailed calculations for "object class categories" identified on the Budget Information Standard Form. The line-item budget detail and the budget narrative must be submitted as a single Budget Justification application component.

Project budget 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). See the table in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications listing the appropriate budget forms to use in this application.

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 benefits 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 budget justification using the 424A and/or 424C, as applicable, for each year of the proposed project. Provide a budget justification, which includes a budget narrative and a line-item detail, for each year of the proposed project. The budget narrative should describe how the categorical costs are derived. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocation of the proposed costs.

NOTE: CB-SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS OF ALL APPLICANTS UNDER THIS FOA

  • Allocate sufficient funds in the budget to support required travel: (a) within six weeks after the award, the project director, evaluator and/or other key staff/partners must attend a 1- to 2-day kick-off meeting in Washington, D.C.; (b) within 4 months after the award, the project director, evaluator and/or other key staff/partners must attend a 1- to 2-day working meeting with CB staff and other project stakeholders in Washington, D.C.; and (c) the project director, evaluator, and/or other key staff/partners will attend two additional 2- to 3-day working meetings in Washington, D.C., during the project period.
General

Use the following guidelines for preparing the budget and budget justification.  When a match or cost share is required, both federal and non-federal resources must be detailed and justified in the budget and budget narrative justification. "Federal resources" refers only to the ACF grant funds for which the applicant is 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. Contractors and consultants should not be placed under this category.

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, and taxes.


Travel

Description:  Costs of out-of-state or overnight project-related travel by employees of the applicant organization. Do not include in-state travel or 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 project staff to attend ACF-sponsored workshops/conferences/grantee orientations 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 per unit 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 applicant organization's regular written accounting practices.) 

Justification:  For each type of equipment requested applicants must provide a description of the equipment; the cost per unit; the number of units; the total cost; and a plan for use of the equipment in the project; as well as a plan for the 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.  This includes office and other consumable supplies with a per-unit cost of less than $5,000.

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 (with budget detail), including delegate agencies and specific project(s) and/or businesses to be financed by the applicant.  This area is not for individual consultants.

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 CFR Part 92 procedures, must justify any anticipated procurement action that is expected to be awarded without competition and exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold fixed by 41 U.S.C. § 134 and 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 contractor/sub-contractor, by agency title, along with the same supporting information referred to in these instructions.  If the applicant plans to select the contractors/sub-contractors post-award and a detailed budget is not available at the time of application, the applicant must provide information on the nature of the work to be delegated, the estimated costs, and the process for selecting the delegate agency.

Other

Enter the total of all other costs.  Such costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to:  consultant costs, local travel; insurance; food (when allowable); medical and dental costs (noncontractual); professional services costs (including audit charges); 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.

Program Income

Description:  The estimated amount of income, if any, expected to be generated from this project. Program income includes, but is not limited to, income from fees for services performed, the use or rental of real or personal property acquired under federally-funded projects, the sale of commodities or items fabricated under an award, license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights, and interest on loans made with award funds. 

Justification:  Describe the nature, source, and anticipated use of program income in the budget or refer to the pages in the application that contain this information.

Paperwork Reduction Disclaimer

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3521, the public reporting burden for the Project Description is estimated to average 60 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 10/31/2015. 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

  • Additional guidance on the submission of electronic applications can be found at http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
  • 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 always retain Grants.gov Contact Center service ticket number(s) as they may be needed for future reference.
  • Contact with the Grants.gov Contact Center prior to the listed application due date and time does not ensure acceptance of an 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 application has been successfully submitted to www.Grants.gov, it still must pass a series of validation checks.  After an application is submitted, Grants.gov generates a submission receipt via email and also sets the application status to "Received." This receipt verifies that 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 opportunity is still open, and 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 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 are transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged.

Applicants will be provided with an acknowledgement from 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 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 that must state that the applicant qualifies for the exemption for one of the two following reasons:

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

Requests for exemption from required electronic application submission will be acknowledged with an approval or disapproval.

Requests that do not state one of the two listed reasons will not be approved.

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 must request a new exemption from required electronic submission for any succeeding FFY.

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

All exemption requests must include the following information:

  • 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 (i.e., the Point of Contact), and
  • The reason for which the applicant is requesting an exemption from electronic application submission. The request for exemption must state one of the following two reasons: 1) lack of Internet access or Internet connection; or 2) 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 the preceding section on "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.


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: 06/10/2013

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.

Applications submitted to www.Grants.gov at any time during the open application period 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.

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

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 application's submission. Receipt of this email does not indicate that the application is accepted or that is has passed the validation check.

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 receipt of a paper format application

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.

Note: Costs incurred for grant application preparation are not considered allowable costs under an award and may not be included in the project budget or budget justification.

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

CB Operations Center
c/o Lux Consulting Group
8405 Colesville Road, Suite 600
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Hand Delivery

CB Operations Center
c/o Lux Consulting Group
8405 Colesville Road, Suite 600
Silver Spring, MD 20910

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

Please note: Reviewers will not access, or review, any materials that are not part of the application documents.  This includes information accessible on websites via hyperlinks that are referenced, or embedded, in the application.  Though an application may include web links, or embedded hyperlinks, reviewers will not review this information as it is not considered to be part of the application documents.  Nor will the information on websites be taken into consideration in scoring of evaluation criteria presented in this section. Reviewers will evaluate and score an application based on the documents that are presented in the application and will not refer to, or access, external links during the objective review.

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.
 
OBJECTIVES AND NEEDS FOR ASSISTANCE Maximum Points: 20

In reviewing the objectives and need for assistance, reviewers will consider the extent to which:

  1. The applicant demonstrates a strong understanding of the goals of this FOA: 
  2. The applicant demonstrates a strong conceptual and theoretical understanding of the child welfare workforce and the need for curriculum across the career ladder to improve the understanding of social and emotional needs of children and the particular evidence-based treatment services needed to meet these needs. Citing relevant literature, theory, and experience, the applicant identifies and explains key concepts, steps, and activities. The applicant identifies core competencies and skills necessary for the child welfare workforce to perform effectively and provides a well-reasoned explanation for their critical importance; 
  3. The applicant demonstrates an in-depth understanding of curriculum development in the context of child welfare systems. The applicant provides a concise but thorough review of key evidence-based treatment approaches in child welfare, highlighting similarities and significant differences. The applicant identifies essential components of the three well-designed child welfare curriculums required for this project, including a discussion of necessary activities, organizational capacities, and tasks; 
  4. The applicant offers a sound and convincing assessment of need related to case managers, treatment providers, and agency administrators in child welfare. The applicant provides a clear and well-reasoned explanation for the barriers, challenges, and needs it has identified and makes a strong case for related training, tools, and technical assistance in title IV-E jurisdictions. Citing studies, reports, evaluation findings, and/or other sources, the applicant provides credible evidence for its assessment; 
  5. The applicant specifies its target participants and consumers for service delivery and dissemination and offers a thorough description of the characteristics, roles, responsibilities, and needs of the targeted group(s). The applicant provides a strong rationale that justifies the selection of these target participants and users based on the applicant’s assessment and explanation of the barriers, challenges, and needs. The applicant includes a clear explanation of the core competencies and skills that its target audiences require; and 
  6. The applicant clearly states measurable objectives which are realistic, feasible, and achievable during the project period. The applicant explicitly links each objective to the project goal (described in this FOA) it is expected to help achieve.
APPROACH Maximum Points: 40

In reviewing the approach, reviewers will consider the extent to which:

  1. The applicant describes its commitment to partnering with CB and other CB-supported projects to develop a  coherent approach to building capacity in child welfare workforce during the project period. The applicant understands its responsibilities for collaboration and has a reasonable approach for jointly reviewing, revising, and developing key project strategies with CB and planning working meetings with its partners;
  2. The applicant provides a convincing plan for performing outreach and engaging target participants and consumers in the development and refinement of its training activities and products. The applicant’s plan is likely to solicit regular and meaningful feedback that will improve the quality, accessibility, and usability of the project’s training modules, group-based learning program, and tools, and increase the effectiveness of its dissemination strategies; 
  3. The applicant describes a sensible preliminary plan for collecting and managing relevant resources and products from child welfare and other fields. The applicant describes in detail the areas of discipline and sources for its search and presents a sound process for obtaining resources, determining their utility, and ensuring access. The applicant sufficiently explains how its plan will avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and why the plan is likely to result in easily accessible and navigable resources that will address the identified needs and be useful to its target audience(s) and the public; 
  4. The applicant clearly describes how its training plan will build the core competencies and skills that the applicant has described in its statement of need. The applicant’s training methods and approaches are likely to generate measurable gains in participants’ knowledge and skills and changes in attitudes and behavior that can be expected to support the development and implementation of evidence-based treatment systems and improve the performance of case managers, treatment providers, and agency administrator to address social and emotional well-being of children and families and improve well-being outcomes.
  5. The applicant provides a detailed description of its preliminary plans for a group-based learning program that builds on promising and evidence-supported models (which have been cited) and are likely to meet the workforce development needs of participants representing title IV-E child welfare agencies. The applicant’s proposed program will integrate research-informed training, coaching, and peer learning strategies into a replicable program model by the end of the project period; 
  6. The applicant’s plan for its group-based learning program is coherent and reasonable. The applicant sufficiently describes and justifies the number of proposed cohorts, group composition, cohort size, process for participant recruitment and selection, program duration, meeting frequency, learning objectives, target competencies and skills, and training methods and content; 
  7. The applicant provides a convincing preliminary plan for distance learning that will result in the creation of training modules that will be easily accessible and meet the needs of target users. The applicant specifies its target participants, the number of proposed modules, training duration, content and design, module format, learning objectives, and the competencies and skills that will be targeted by the training. The applicant provides sound justification for its proposed activities, citing theory, best practices, and research evidence for its training methods.  The applicant gives sufficient detail about how modules will be made available online via the web; 
  8. The applicant provides a reasonable preliminary plan describing how, when, to whom, and under what conditions tailored TA from The Center might be provided. The applicant explains the types of TA that it could provide and makes a strong case that it will be prepared and qualified to offer these services. The applicant provides a clear and realistic estimate of the quantity of tailored TA that can be expected over the project period; 
  9. The applicant identifies its target users and presents a promising plan for product development and dissemination that is likely to result in the creation of practical tools and resources that will both reach and be used by the target consumers. The applicant specifies the products and tools to be developed and offers a convincing explanation for why they will appropriately respond to the needs, characteristics, and behaviors of its target consumers;   
  10. The applicant presents a sensible, coherent, and strategic dissemination plan. The applicant’s proposed dissemination activities are based on the careful study of its target participants and users, and are informed by past dissemination approaches as well as feedback from its target audiences. The applicant sets measurable goals for participation, reach, and use, and the plan seems likely to achieve them; 
  11. The applicant offers sound plans for utilizing innovative technologies in its training, technical assistance, and product development and dissemination activities when practical and feasible. The applicant’s proposal is likely to increase access to target participants and consumers and achieve project objectives. The applicant provides a strong rationale for choosing not to use technology in its design and dissemination strategies, if applicable; 
  12. The application provides a clear and reasonable timeline for implementing the proposed project, including completing start-up activities and reaching major milestones and target dates on schedule. The application describes the factors that could speed or hinder project start up, implementation, and dissemination and explains how these factors will be managed; and 
  13. The applicant includes a comprehensible (easily read), well-organized, and concise logic model that clearly illustrates the links between the conditions and needs of each proposed target audience, the project activities intended to address these needs, project outputs, short-term outcomes, and long-term outcomes that are most likely to be achieved after the project period has ended. The applicant’s logic model demonstrates a strong theory of change that is well-reasoned and grounded in the best available evidence.
EVALUATION Maximum Points: 20

In reviewing the evaluation plan, reviewers will consider the extent to which: 

  1. The evaluation plan is strongly guided by the project's logic model. The applicant proposes clearly stated evaluation questions that will answer key process and outcome questions for each of the project’s major areas of activity, including but not limited to, knowledge management, group-based learning, web accessible training, technical assistance, product development and dissemination;  
  2. The applicant proposes a clear, convincing, and feasible plan for evaluating the project. The project's evaluation plan can be expected to answer the evaluation questions with sufficient rigor to provide credible, meaningful, and timely feedback to the project and to CB to report progress, inform decision making, and facilitate adjustments, if necessary. The applicant proposes a sound plan that will measure process and proximal outcomes, including the achievement of project objectives, satisfaction, accessibility, usability, participation, reach, use, and acquisition of competencies and skills;  
  3. The applicant’s evaluation plan will help The Center to clearly describe and specify key aspects of a replicable, group-based program model and to assess the model’s effect on proximal learning and behavior-related outcomes. The applicant provides a strong rationale for its design, discussing strengths and limitations and explaining why the proposed evaluation plan is the most appropriate, rigorous, and practical based on the goals, objectives, and context of the project;    
  4. The applicant proposes a sound plan for calculating the costs of its knowledge management, distance learning, group-based learning, product development and dissemination activities. The applicant’s approach will yield accurate and useful data about unit costs (e.g., costs per trained participant, costs per online module developed, etc.); 
  5. The applicant proposes a convincing plan for collecting high-quality data on the process and outcomes described above. The evaluation includes measures of outcomes, in addition to measures of inputs and outputs. The measures are objective and have strong reliability, validity, and internal consistency. There is a sound plan for securing informed consent and implementing an Institutional Review Board, if applicable; and 
  6. The applicant either demonstrates that it has the in-house capacity to conduct an objective and rigorous evaluation of the project or presents a reasonable plan for contracting with a third-party evaluator. The proposed evaluator has sufficient experience with research and/or evaluation, understands the population of interest, and demonstrates the necessary independence from the project to assure objectivity.
ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY Maximum Points: 15

In reviewing the organizational profiles, reviewers will consider the extent to which:

  1. The applicant provides strong evidence that its organization (alone or in partnership with other organizations) possesses the necessary experience, technical expertise, infrastructure, and capacity to successfully perform the major requirements of this project, such as curriculum development, knowledge management, training, product design, and strategic dissemination. This includes the capacity and expertise to design professional training curricula; host, deliver, and eventually transfer online training modules; and develop, organize, and deliver an evidence-informed, group-based learning program. In addition to citing prior projects, publications, awards, letters of support, and other evidence, the applicant provides sufficient description of its organizational credentials to convincingly demonstrate that it is fully capable of producing high quality, effective services and products, and meeting the purpose and objectives of this announcement. Each partnering organization (including subcontractors) possesses the organizational capability to fulfill its assigned functions effectively and demonstrates the strength of its commitment to its role and the success of the project with a signed letter of commitment or memorandum of understanding, if applicable; 
  2. The proposed project director and key project staff demonstrate sufficient relevant knowledge, experience, and skills (e.g., resumes, curricula vitae) to effectively institute and manage a project of this size, scope, and complexity. The role, responsibilities and time commitments of each proposed project staff position, including consultants, subcontractors, and/or partners, is clearly defined (e.g., job description) and appropriate to the successful implementation of the proposed project; 
  3. Key project staff or consultants demonstrate sufficient interdisciplinary knowledge, experience, and expertise (e.g., resumes, curricula vitae) in four principal areas: 1) adult education and training 2) knowledge management and transfer 3) evidence-based treatment services to address social and emotional well-being of children and families in the child welfare system; and 4) public child welfare to effectively assess needs, organize information, design high quality curricula and products, deliver distance and group-based learning opportunities, provide tailored consultation, and communicate and disseminate information. The expertise of the proposed staff is likely to ensure the success of the project; and 
  4. There is a sound management plan for achieving the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks and ensuring quality. The plan clearly defines the role and responsibilities of the lead agency. The plan clearly describes the effective management and coordination of activities carried out by any partners, subcontractors, and consultants (if applicable).
BUDGET AND BUDGET JUSTIFICATION Maximum Points: 5

In reviewing the budget and budget justification, reviewers will consider the extent to which:

  1. The applicant’s project is feasible based upon its line item budget and budget narrative. The resources allocated to each proposed activity are sufficient to meet the applicant’s objectives and to meet the requirements described in this FOA. The costs of the proposed project are reasonable and appropriate in view of the activities to be conducted and expected results; and 
  2. The applicant's fiscal controls and accounting procedures would ensure prudent use, proper and timely disbursement, and accurate accounting of funds received under this program announcement.
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 or sub-recipient that does not have a DUNS number (www.dbn.com) and an active registration at SAM (www.sam.gov). See Section III.3. Other.
 
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.

ACF may refuse funding for projects with what it regards as unreasonably high start-up costs for facilities or equipment, or for projects with unreasonably high operating costs.
Please refer to Section IV.2. of this announcement for information on non-federal reviewers in the review process.

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.

Applications will be reviewed during the summer 2013. Funded projects will have a start date no later than September 30, 2013.

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 CFR Part 74 (Awards And Subawards To Institutions Of Higher Education, Hospitals, Other Nonprofit Organizations, And Commercial Organizations) or 45 CFR Part 92 (Grants And Cooperative Agreements To State, Local, And Tribal Governments).  The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 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 CFR Part 74, Subpart E-Special Provisions for Awards to Commercial Organizations (45 CFR § 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 CFR § 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 worship, religious instruction, 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/r egulations/. 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 Capacity BuildingToolkits 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- and-condition-for-trafficking- in-persons.  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. §§ 8101-8106) 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 CFR part 182; HHS implementing regulations are set forth in 2 CFR § 382.400. All recipients of ACF grant funds must comply with the requirements in Subpart B - Requirements for Recipients Other Than Individuals, 2 CFR § 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.sam.gov/, although checking the EPLS is not required. More information is available at  https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants-forms.

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 https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants/ discretionary-competitive-grants

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Applications funded by federal grant programs are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and are frequently requested under the FOIA.  In accordance with the FOIA requirement to proactively disclose frequently requested materials at 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2)(D), and as part of on-going efforts to promote openness in government programs, ACF will post some of the top-ranked applications funded under this FOA in its online FOIA Reading Room at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/ e-reading-room. As required under the FOIA, each of the top-ranked applications will receive appropriate redaction of specific information to protect personal privacy and competitively sensitive commercial information. Applications chosen for posting to the FOIA Reading Room will be placed on the internet website without further notice to the applicants.

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)

Notice of Award documents will inform grantees of the appropriate performance progress report form or format to use.  Grantees should consult their Notice of 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.  For awards that implement the use of the SF-PPR, that form may be found under "Reporting" at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants-forms.

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 at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants-forms. 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.

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

 
Program Progress Reports: Semi-Annually
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 CFR 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 at https:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants/ discretionary-competitive-grants.

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


As of April 1, 2012, the Administration for Children and Families has been 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 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 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 has been/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 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 are required to submit (as applicable) an SF-428 and SF-429 report as frequently as required in the terms and conditions of their award(s).


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

VII. Agency Contacts

Program Office Contact

Randi Walters
Administration for Children and Families
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Children's Bureau Headquarters
Portals Building
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202) 205-5588
Fax: (202) 260-9345
Email: Randi.Walters@acf.hhs.gov
 

Office of Grants Management Contact

Robin Bunch
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Grants Management/Division of Discretionary Grants
Aerospace Building 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW
6th Floor East
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: (202) 401-5513
Fax: (202) 205-3449
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 - GRANTS homepage https:// www.acf.hhs.gov /grants.           

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) https:// www.cfda.gov/.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)  http:// www.gpo.gov.  

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

All required Standard Forms (SF), assurances, and certifications are available on the ACF Grants-Forms page at https:// www.acf.hhs.gov /grants -forms.

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

Versions of other Standard Forms (SF) 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.

Application Checklist

Applicants may use the checklist below as a guide when preparing your application package.
 
What to Submit Where Found When to Submit

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

"Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying" is referenced in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. Found at
http://www. acf.hhs.gov /grants-forms
.

If applicable, 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 applicable, 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.

Certification of Filing and Payment of Federal Taxes

Referenced in Section IV.2. Forms, Assurances, and Certifications of the announcement. The Certification may be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants-forms.

If applicable to the applicant, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification/IRB Certification/Declaration of Exemption (Common Rule)

Referenced in Section IV.2. Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.  Additional information and necessary forms are available at

http://www.hhs.gov/ ohrp/assurances/   forms /index.html.

Submission of the required information and forms is due with the application package by the due date listed in the Overview and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. If the information is not available at the time of application, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Certification Regarding Lobbying

Referenced in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. Found at

http:// www.acf.hhs.gov /grants-forms

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.

Project Sustainability Plan

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description

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

SF-424 Key Contact Form

Referenced in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. Found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants-forms 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.

DUNS Number (Universal Identifier) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration..

Referenced in Section III.3. Other in the announcement. To obtain a DUNS number, go to
http:// fedgov. dnb.com/ webform.

To register at SAM, go to 

http:// www.sam. gov.

A DUNS number and registration at SAM.gov are required for
all applicants. Active registration
at SAM must be maintained throughout the application and
project award period.

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

and

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

Referenced in Section IV.2.Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. Found at 

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants-forms

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. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. Found at

http://www. acf.hhs.gov /grants-forms.

For electronic application submission, these forms are available on the FOA's Grants.gov "Download Opportunity Instructions and Application" page under "Download Application Package" in the section entitled, "Optional Documents."

These forms are required for applications under this FOA:

  • Projects that include only non-construction activities must submit the SF-424A and SF-424B, along with the SF-424 and SF-P/PSL.

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

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) 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

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. The Project Summary/Abstract is limited to one single-spaced page.

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. 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.

Logic Model

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.  

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

Appendices