Administration for Children and Families
 
 
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
 
Human Services Research Partnerships: Puerto Rico
HHS-2013-ACF-OPRE-YR-0609
Application Due Date: 07/30/2013

 

Human Services Research Partnerships: Puerto Rico
HHS-2013-ACF-OPRE-YR-0609
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
Human Services Research Partnerships: Puerto Rico
HHS-2013-ACF-OPRE-YR-0609
ANNOUNCEMENT PUBLICATION | VALIDATE & APPROVE
 
Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
 
Program Office:Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Funding Opportunity Title:Human Services Research Partnerships: Puerto Rico
Announcement Type:Initial
Funding Opportunity Number:HHS-2013-ACF-OPRE-YR-0609
Primary CFDA Number: 93.600
Additional CFDA Number: 93.647
Due Date For Letter of Intent: 07/16/2013
Due Date for Applications: 07/30/2013
 
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 for Children and Families (ACF) is soliciting applications for cooperative agreements to support policy-relevant research that will explore issues related to social service needs and public welfare systems in the U.S. territory, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Human Services Research Partnerships cooperative agreement program will support partnerships among researchers, local governments, and community-based organizations to define and address research questions regarding the social and economic well-being of low-income children and families in Puerto Rico and the human service needs in the region. The Research Partnerships are intended to improve understanding of the most promising human services approaches to improve the quality of life in the region, with particular focus on topics related to the Head Start and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programs such as early child care and education and services to promote family self-sufficiency and stability.

The grant will be funded through a cooperative agreement, which is part of broader ACF research efforts related to Office of Head Start (OHS) and Office of Family Assistance (OFA) priorities. The research priorities of the cooperative agreement are detailed in Section I.B, with particular emphasis on efforts to promote school readiness and family self-sufficiency among the children and families of Puerto Rico.

See Section II. Award Information for a description of the substantial involvement of the Federal Project Officer (FPO) in the performance of the successful applicant who is awarded this cooperative agreement.

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Statutory Authority

Awards under this FOA are authorized under Section 649 of the Head Start Act, as amended by the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 9844.

Awards are also authorized under Section 1110 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. §1310).

Description

 A. BACKGROUND

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) prioritizes addressing the needs of marginalized populations such as low-income and vulnerable residents of the U.S. territories in the Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. ACF has taken steps to strengthen services for underrepresented and underserved communities, with increased attention towards vulnerable groups, which includes residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Through programs such as Head Start and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), ACF provides services to support families and individuals to increase their economic stability and self-sufficiency as well as to encourage strong, healthy, and supportive communities that have a positive impact on quality of life and the development of children. By means of the Human Services Research Partnership: Puerto Rico cooperative agreement, ACF aims to support research partnerships.  These partnerships will consist of collaboration(s) between researchers and front-line service providers within U.S. territory localities.  These partnerships are expected to identify and implement solutions that transcend program boundaries, address the needs, strengths, and abilities of vulnerable populations; and seek to improve access to ACF programs in the region.

The unique history of Puerto Rico has shaped the complex and distinct social, political, and economic landscape in the region today. Low-income and vulnerable children and families in Puerto Rico who may need ACF services face barriers distinct from communities on the continental U.S. or even in other U.S. territories. The distinctiveness of the region's population and resources presents challenges and opportunities to ACF programs in the region. In keeping with ACF’s strategic plan, ACF aims to strengthen programming to meet the service needs in Puerto Rico and seeks improved understanding of the region's needs and assets related to poverty, family stability, and children's development and well-being.

 

Implications for ACF Programs

Key strategic goals of the Administration for Children and Families include supporting underserved and underrepresented populations and upgrading ACF’s capacity to make a difference for families and communities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012).  Toward these goals, ACF programs provide services that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities, while ACF concurrently sponsors research and evaluation to inform programming and program improvement efforts.  The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) within the ACF supports research and evaluation of important ACF social policy issues, with a particular focus on family self-sufficiency and employment as well as Head Start and Early Head Start. In addition to these programmatic areas, OPRE undertakes cross-cutting research, evaluation, and dissemination activities to inform outreach and programming efforts focused on particularly vulnerable or underserved populations.

Two ACF programs that provide support for low-income individuals, families and children are the TANF and Head Start programs. TANF is funded through the Social Security Act. The Social Security Act authorizes research and supporting activities that identify, develop and examine promising practices for increasing self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on public welfare programs. Typical research relevant to TANF focuses on employment training, transitional supports, and efforts to improve individuals’ self-sufficiency, income, employment and service uptake. Head Start research is expected to develop, improve and evaluate promising practices for furthering the purposes of Head Start that are detailed in the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act (2007). Head Start and Early Head Start programs focus on young children’s school readiness and development, but include focus on diverse goals that improve children’s well-being, such as family literacy, self sufficiency, parent training and facilitating parent utilization of community services. The funding for the Human Services Research Partnership: Puerto Rico is derived from TANF research funds and Head Start research funds. The activities proposed for the Human Services Research Partnership should reflect the research topics prioritized by these funding sources, See Section II. Award Information.

A substantial proportion of residents in Puerto Rico participate in ACF programs, but many more families and individuals in the area who could benefit from these services do not access ACF programs.  In Puerto Rico, approximately 26,812 children and 14,811 families receive TANF funds (OFA, 2013).  A number of families may receive other TANF funded trainings and services. About 11,000 families receive monthly child care assistance and 38,507 children are enrolled in Head Start programs (Office of Child Care, 2011; Office of Head Start, 2011). Additional children and families in Puerto Rico may need these services and programs but do not have access to them.

This project will provide data to ACF on its programs in the region and promote a better understanding of the social and economic dynamics and barriers of low-income individuals and families who reside in the Caribbean U.S. territories.

 

B. PROGRAM PURPOSE AND GOALS

The Human Services Research Partnerships cooperative agreement program will support research on Puerto Rico’s human service capacity, with particular focus on topics related to the Head Start and TANF programs, such as the healthy development and school readiness of children and self-sufficiency and stability among low-income families. ACF is interested in understanding the human service needs and how human service programs in the region are meeting these needs within the unique circumstances and challenges posed by economic, geographic, and developmental factors. In addition, ACF is interested in gaining more understanding of the unique strengths, assets, and cultural norms of the region.  Finally, the Human Service Research Partnership should inform how ACF can enhance the quality of life for residents in the U.S. territory through human services.

In addition to improving knowledge about human service needs and programs in Puerto Rico, ACF seeks to fund projects that will increase the capacity in the region to strengthen research and gather relevant data. To this end, ACF encourages applicants to propose innovative ways to develop local human services data and research capacity in the territory.

ACF recognizes the compounding effects of social and economic barriers that affect the quality of life in Puerto Rico. The following topics and areas reflect ACF research priorities for this cooperative agreement program (list is not exhaustive or in any particular order):

1. Early childhood development: increasing the availability of safe, stable, and high-quality early care and education for low-income families; supporting the early childhood professional workforce; and improving the quality of care and the coordination of early care and education systems to support early learning and well-being.

2. Economic Self-Sufficiency: Incorporating strategies to support family economic self-sufficiency and improve stability in the specific context of the territory.

3. Social Capital: Investing in human and social capital to advance the social well-being of individuals, families, and communities while incorporating culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches that respect and build on the diversity of the community.

The Research Partnership projects are expected to address research questions of high priority for social services stakeholders and organizations in Puerto Rico, while adding to general knowledge about population needs and services in the insular areas to promote family economic self-sufficiency and children's healthy development and learning. Project teams are expected to develop their research questions and research designs within partnerships between researchers and local stakeholders. Projects can simultaneously examine questions of significance for ACF policies in Puerto Rico and increase long-term capacity among local human services stakeholders to address policy questions through research. Projects that build on existing resources and opportunities with innovative research designs can enhance capacity for social policy research locally and more broadly in the field. 

 

C. HUMAN SERVICE RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

Given the overarching program goals, proposed projects must address applied research questions that will inform and improve human services policies and programs in Puerto Rico:

1.      Research Partnerships.  Research teams must include researchers and at least one government or community-based agency administering Head Start and/or TANF funded programs in the region.  Research projects must be led by researchers affiliated with an accredited institution of higher education or with a research organization.  Therefore, successful applicants must be institutions of higher education or research organizations, and projects must feature strong partnerships with local organizations or policymakers administering human services. Applications from institutions of higher education must provide proof of their accreditation by one of the regional accrediting commissions recognized by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Evidence of accreditation must be provided, See Section IV.2, Part B. Appendices and Section IV. Approach.

Proposed research projects must be developed collaboratively with agencies involved in administering local human services and/or ACF programs. Broad-based partnerships are encouraged. For example, the following entities may be included as part of a research partnership project, in addition to the research organization: (1) agencies in the local government responsible for administering ACF programs; (2) community-based organizations providing social services; (3) early childhood programs, such as public or private child care centers or Head Start; (4) planning councils, commissions, advisory groups, and other organizations that participate in social services planning and policy making; (5) professional organizations and associations; (6) civic groups and community organizations; and (7) other appropriate organizations and individuals involved in addressing human service needs in Puerto Rico. Collaboration should be reflected throughout the project development, implementation, interpretation and dissemination.

2.      Increase data and research capacity in Puerto Rico.  Grantees are expected to use ACF funds creatively to improve local capacity to conduct applied research. Projects may support the training and development of local researchers or data management administrators or develop resources that will enhance the data and research available in the region. This may include developing a research fellowship program for graduate students in related fields such as social services. Sponsored research activities must result in information and/or practical tools that agencies and providers can utilize to inform their human service efforts; for example, an online database with reliable indicators of the population’s economic and social well-being, guidelines and protocols for community needs assessments, or valid survey instruments or observational tools that agencies can use to collect data in local communities.  

In support of the overarching program goals detailed above, the successful applicant will also be responsible for the following additional tasks:

1.      Network. Project teams are expected to participate in an annual grantee meeting in Washington D.C. This meeting will include a growing network of Human Services Research Partnership grantees that will meet annually. This network will (a) communicate regularly to identify commonalities and develop collective expertise; (b) participate in dissemination activities and develop resources to be shared with the field at large; and (c) create additional opportunities for collaboration. For example, two or more territories might collaborate and produce research papers or comparable data to better understand some cross-cutting themes. 

2.      Meetings with Federal Project Officer (FPO). To maximize the potential for the funded research to inform broader research, policy, and programming, the grantee will be expected to have bimonthly meetings with the FPO to share ongoing activities, develop and refine plans in discussion.  Research activities developed over course of the funding must be approved by OPRE prior to implementation.

3.      Conferences. Grantee is also expected to at least one ACF /OPRE sponsored conferences in Washington D.C.

Participation will be based on the project’s focus and chosen from the list below:

  • Head Start National Research Conference (Biennial) It is expected that key personnel of the Research Partnership will attend the biennial meeting of the Head Start National Research Conference, which is held in Washington, D.C., typically during June. The conference brings together researchers, federal administrators, and Head Start practitioners to discuss early childhood development and education policy research.
  • Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC). It is expected that key grantee personnel will attend the annual ACF WREC, which is held in Washington, D.C., typically at the end of May or beginning of June.  This conference brings together researchers and administrators to discuss cutting-edge research related to a range of anti-poverty programs and policies.

4.      Other opportunities to meet with ACF stakeholders. In addition, OPRE will identify and facilitate opportunities to present grantee work to federal and local policymakers or program administrators when project team members are in Washington, D.C. for other meetings. For example, the grantee may be asked to participate in the annual meeting of State, Territory, and Tribal Child Care administrators and/or the National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit, which are typically held in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Participation of the Principal Investigator(s) (PI) and key project team members at the required meetings and conferences will enhance grantee connections to other ACF-sponsored research and broader applied research efforts. Along with the required meetings, OPRE will identify additional opportunities for the project team to present the funded research to federal and state policymakers and administrators. All of the meetings are excellent opportunities for the grantee to build relationships with key stakeholders and to discuss implications of the grantee’s work. To the extent possible, ACF will work with the grantee to coordinate grantee meeting dates in order to efficiently utilize funds.

For information regarding the role of OPRE, please see Section II. Description of ACF's Anticipated Substantial Involvement under the Cooperative Agreement.

 

D.     DEFINITIONS

Budget Period - The intervals of time into which a multi-year period of assistance (project period) is divided for budgetary and funding purposes. Budget periods are usually 12 months long but may be shorter or longer, if appropriate.

Commonwealth: An organized United States insular area, which has established with the federal government a more highly developed relationship, usually embodied in a written mutual agreement. Currently, two United States insular areas are commonwealths, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. A United States insular area from April 11, 1899, the Philippine Islands achieved commonwealth status on March 24, 1934 (Public Law 73-127), and remained as such until the United States recognized the Philippine Islands' independence and sovereignty as of July 4, 1946.

Cooperative Agreement - An award instrument of financial assistance where "substantial involvement" is anticipated between the HHS awarding agency and the recipient during performance of the contemplated project or activity. "Substantial involvement" means that the recipient can expect Federal programmatic collaboration or participation in managing the award.

Insular Area: A jurisdiction that is neither a part of one of the several states nor a federal district. This is the current generic term to refer to any commonwealth, freely associated state, possession or territory and from July 18, 1947, until October 1, 1994, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Unmodified, it may refer not only to a jurisdiction that is under United States sovereignty, but also to one which is noti.e., a freely associated state or, 1947-94, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands or one of the districts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Federal Project Officer (FPO): Point of contact in ACF/OPRE who will review progress reports and all activities as well as provide technical assistance to advance goals of cooperative agreement and project objectives. FPO also assists Grants Management Officer in monitoring technical aspects of grant activities.

Local: Refers to the geographic and community-level areas within the U.S. territory that the project and resources will benefit (district, municipal, village, territory’s government, etc.)   

Project Director/Principal Investigator/Program Director - Individual(s) designated by the recipient to direct the project or program being supported by a grant. He/she is responsible and accountable to officials of the recipient organization for the proper conduct of the project, program, or activity. The PI is also university affiliated and the primary individual responsible for developing, conducting, and administering the sponsored research project. The PI is usually a faculty member or senior researcher of institutions that meet eligibility and holds a doctoral degree.

Project Period - The total time stated in the Notice of Grant Award (including any amendments) for which Federal support is recommended. The period will consist of one or more budget periods. It does not constitute a commitment by the Federal Government to fund the entire period.

A territory: An unincorporated territory; a United States insular area in which the U.S. Congress has determined that only selected parts of the U.S. Constitution apply. There are unincorporated United States insular areas, three in the Caribbean (Navassa Island, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands) and ten in the Pacific (American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Wake Atoll).

U.S. territories: American Samoa; Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands; Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Guam; United States Virgin Islands.

 

E. REFERENCES  

Administration for Children and Families. (2011). Office of Child Care. Child Care and Development Fund Statistics Data. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ/resource/ccdf-statistics

Administration for Children and Families. (2013) Office of Family Assistance 2012 TANF Caseload Data. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/resource/caseload-data-2012

Administration for Children and Families. (2007). Office of Head Start. Head Start Act. Retrieved from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/standards/Head%20Start%20Act

Administration for Children and Families. (2011) Office of Head Start.  Head Start Program Facts. http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/mr/factsheets/docs/hs-program-fact-sheet-2011-final.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012) HHS Administration for Children & Families Strategic Initiatives: Goals, Strategies & Objectives for Future Work of the Administration for Children & Families. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/about/strategic-initiatives.

U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs http://www.doi.gov/oia/index.cfm

II. Award Information
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Estimated Total Funding: $300,000
Expected Number of Awards: 1
Award Ceiling: $300,000 Per Budget Period
Award Floor: $300,000 Per Budget Period
Average Projected Award Amount: $300,000 Per Budget Period

Length of Project Periods:

36-month project with three 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.

Applications requesting an award amount that exceeds the Award Ceiling of $300,000 for the first 12-month budget period will be disqualified from review and from funding under this announcements. See Section III.3 Application Disqualification Factors.

Applicants must apply for project periods up to 36 months with three 12-month budget periods. Applicants proposing 36-month project periods will be awarded up to $300,000 for the first 12-month budget period and up to $300,000 for the second and third 12-month budget period.

Initial awards will be made for the first 12-month budget period. For 36-month projects, continuation awards for the second and third 12-month budget period will be subject to the satisfactory progress by the grantee and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the Federal Government. Supplements to the funding may be considered given the best interest of the Federal Government and availability of funds.

The 36-month project period should be noted in Item 17 on the Standard Form (SF) 424 and the plan for a 36-month project period should be reflected in the project narrative and budget and budget justification. However, the SF 424 should include a request only for first year of funding ($300,000 or less). The applicants proposing 36-month projects will receive instructions on how to submit non-competing continuation applications for subsequent years of funding.


Multiple Funding Streams:

The project will be supported by research funds from two related areas of ACF programming, and therefore activities funded by the Human Service Research Partnership: Puerto Rico will focus on the issues consistent with these two funding sources. In some cases, these topics may be cross cutting and fundable under both sources. They are: 

Prevention and reduction of dependency Section 1110 of the Social Security Act authorizes research and demonstration projects related to preventing and reducing dependence on public assistance, and increasing self-sufficiency.  Funds authorized by the Social Security Act for research activities contribute 33.33% of the total funds for the Human Service Research Partnership: Puerto Rico.

Supporting early child education, low income families and young children’s development. The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act (2007) authorizes research, demonstration and evaluation projects related to improving the quality of Head Start programs and addressing the needs of low income children, their families and communities as consistent with the purposes of Head Start outlined within the Act. Funds authorized under the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act (2007) contribute 66.66% percent of the total funds for the Human Service Research Partnership: Puerto Rico.

Consistent with the funding proportions, the proposed activities for the Human Service Research Partnership must be apportioned across topics consistent with each funding stream, see Section IV. Approach. Separate accounting records must be maintained for these funding streams, see Section VI.3. Reporting.

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

Cooperative agreements are assistance mechanisms that differ from regular project grants in that they require substantial programmatic involvement of ACF/OPRE above and beyond the levels required for traditional program management of grants.

The Federal Project Officer (FPO) (and other ACF staff, as appropriate) will collaboratively negotiate with the recipient of funds regarding the roles and responsibilities outlined in this FOA, prior to finalizing the Cooperative Agreement. This will include discussions regarding whether there are additional areas of expertise needed to fulfill the project goals, retirement of planned activities, and collaboration with applicants to identify additional investigators who might be included to fulfill any such needs.

The FPO and other ACF staff will cooperate with the grantee by:

  • Reviewing progress reports and all activities to ensure cooperative agreement objectives are being met.
  • Participating in bimonthly with the grantee to remain informed about project activities and progress, and to provide feedback on developing project activities.
  • Research activities developed over course of the funding must be approved by OPRE prior to implementation.
  • Providing technical assistance, information, and feedback or other support related to and assisting in the analysis, interpretation, and reporting/communication of findings, as needed.
  • Promoting collaborative relationships/partnerships and facilitating connections and the exchange of information among OPRE grantees and related efforts within the federal government to advance the goals of the grant program and project objectives (e.g., identifying available resources, technical assistance and training needs; emerging issues and research findings; developing research briefs and/or resources).
  • Supporting collaboration with ACF offices and programs and facilitating ACF program-generated research.
  • ACF/OPRE staff will collaborate with the recipients of the cooperative agreements in identifying the final research questions and study designs for this award and will provide feedback regarding research plans and products to ensure that they are relevant and translatable to the policy and practice communities.

The above responsibilities are in addition to, not in lieu of, the levels of involvement normally required for program stewardship of federal grant funds.

Work supported under the cooperative agreements must acknowledge ACF/OPRE and the grant program in a manner agreed upon and approved by the Federal Project Officer.

See Section I. Funding Opportunity Description, C. Human Service Research Partnership: Roles and Responsibilities, for a description of the roles and responsibilities of successful applicants under awarded projects.

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

III. Eligibility Information
III.1. Eligible Applicants

Eligibility under this FOA is limited to:

  • profit and nonprofit businesses with research as a primary organizational activity or
  • public, state-controlled, and private institutions of higher education that are accredited

Eligibility includes but is not limited to historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally-controlled Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions applying on behalf of a qualified PI. Institutions of higher education must be fully accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions recognized by the Department of Education and the Council of Post-Secondary Accreditation and provide proof of accreditation at the time of application.

If an applicant is an institution of higher education, they must provide evidence that they are fully accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions recognized by the Department of Education and the Council of Post-Secondary Accreditation and provide proof of accreditation at the time of application. Any applications received from public, state-controlled, and private institutions of higher education that do not include proof of accreditation by one of the regional accrediting commissions recognized by the Department of Education and the Council of Post-Secondary Accreditation will be disqualified from review and from receiving awards under this FOA. See Section III.3 Application Disqualification Factors.

If an applicant is a profit or non-profit business, the applicant must provide documentation supporting that research is a primary organizational activity. Any applications received from businesses that do not include evidence that research is a primary organizational activity will be disqualified from review and from receiving awards under this FOA. See Section III.3 Application Disqualification Factors.

Principle Investigator for the project must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in their field. Research must be a primary portion of their work, and they must have published at least one article in a peer-review journal.

Faith-based and community organizations that meet eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement. Individuals, foreign entities, and sole proprietorship organizations are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement.

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

Faith-based and community organizations that meet eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.
See "Legal Status of Applicant Entity" in Section IV.2 for documentation required to support eligibility.
 
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.

 

Additional Disqualification Factors-Applicant Type

Applicants must be from an institute of higher education or from a non-profit or for-profit business.

Applicants that are from an institute of higher education must provide evidence of accreditation; If applicant is a higher education institute and evidence of accreditation is not provided, applicant will be disqualified from review and from funding under this FOA.

Applicants that are from a non-profit or for-profit business must provide evidence that research is a primary organizational activitity. If applicant is a non-profit or profit business and does not provide evidence that research is a primary organizational activity, the applicant will be disqualified from review and from funding under this FOA.

IV. Application and Submission Information

IV.1. Address to Request Application Package

Rellani Ogumoro
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050
Phone: (877) 350-5913
Fax: (703) 934-3740
Email: ResearchPR@icfi.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:

As stated above, only two document files can be uploaded for your application in grants.gov: a) Project Description and b) Appendices. Please note page limits and content for each below. 

1. Page Limits and Numbering. Applicants must combine their entire application to 125 pages. This includes 75 pages for the Project Description and 50 pages for the Appendices. See description in this Section for Electronic Application Submission Instructions.

a) As described above in this section, the required Standard Forms (SF), assurances, and certifications are counted separately from the Project Description and Appendices files and, therefore, are not included in the 125-page limit. 

b) Applicants must limit the file containing the “Project Description” to 75 pages total. Applicants must number the pages of the file, beginning with the Table of Contents. References and Budget Justification may be single-spaced, as described in this section in Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements

c) The “Appendices” file is limited to 50 pages. Applicants must number the pages in the file.

2. Writing Style. The proposal should be consistent with the format and style guidelines of the current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

3. Organization of Application

Applicants are strongly advised to use headings and subheadings that correspond to the required information, application sections, and evaluation criteria. Sections must be carefully labeled to ease reviewers' identification of information relevant to the application review criteria. Additional headers and subheaders may also be used to organize the content of each section. References must be included in this section, not in the appendices. 

A. Project Description: The project description should be carefully developed in accordance with ACF's grant program goals and requirements as described in Section I. Funding Opportunity Description and attend to the criteria that will be used to evaluate the applications as described in Section V.I. Criteria. We suggest organizing the Project Description (narrative) file according to the sections presented below. See additional instructions later in this section (under "The Project Description") for details on preparing the full project description. 

a) Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications (listed in table below)

b) Table of Contents

c) Project Summary/Abstract (single-spaced, one page maximum)

d) Background

e) Approach

f) Communication and Engagement Plan

g) Staff Qualifications

h) Organizational Capacity and Partnership

i) Management Plan

j) Budget and Budget Justification (single-spaced)

B.  Appendices should include any documentation of eligibility status, resumes/curriculum vitaes, letters of support, Memoranda of Understanding or other evidence of agreements or partnerships described in the proposed project. We suggest organizing the Appendices file in the order presented below (as applicable).

a) Table of Contents

b) Required Documentation of Eligibility Status

c) Resumes/Curriculum Vitaes

d) Memoranda of Understanding and/or Letters of Agreement

e) Letters of support

f) Other Materials in Support of the Proposal

g) Evidence of Accreditation (for applicants that are institutions of higher education)

h) Evidence of Research as a Primary Organizational Activity (for applicants that are profit or non-profit businesses)

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.

Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants

Submission is voluntary.
Submission may be made with the application by the application due date listed in the Overview
and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.  Or, it may be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Private, non-profit organizations (not including private universities) are encouraged to submit the survey with their applications. Submission of the survey is voluntary.  Applicants applying electronically may submit the survey along with the application as part of an appendix or as a separate document.  Hard copy submissions should include the survey in a separate envelope.

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).

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. 

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 at

http:// fedgov. dnb.com / webform

and registration at SAM.gov

at http://www.sam.gov.

Evidence of Research History

Required for for applicants that are profit or non-profit businesses

Documentation of organization's research history; evidence of research as primary organizational activity of applicant  

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.

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.

Evidence of Accreditation

Required for applications affiliated with institutions of higher educations

Documentation of accreditation by one of the regional accrediting commissions recognized by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

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.


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.

Letter of Intent

Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify ACF of their intention to submit an application under this announcement. Please submit the letter of intent by the deadline date listed in Section IV.3 Submission Dates and Times.

 The letter of intent should include the following information: number and title of this announcement; the name and address of the applicant organization; and/or Fiscal Agent (if known); and the name, phone number, fax number and email address of a contact person.

 Letter of intent information will be used to determine the number of expert reviewers needed to evaluate applications. The letter of intent is optional.  Failure to submit a letter of intent will not impact eligibility to submit an application and will not disqualify an application from competitive review.

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.

Outcomes Expected

Identify the outcomes to be derived from the project.  Outcomes should relate to the overall goals of the project as described in Section I. Funding Opportunity Description. If research is part of the proposed work, outcomes must include hypothesized results and implications of the proposed research.

Background for Human Services Research Partnership Proposal

Applicants should describe their proposed research objectives and demonstrate the significance of their proposal in the context of the existing knowledge base and research in Puerto Rico. Specifically, applicants should explain how the proposed project will improve current human service programs and expand knowledge regarding family self-sufficiency and stability and early childhood education and development in Puerto Rico.

Applicants should make clear how their project will tackle issues of significance related to Head Start and TANF. Strong applications will describe how the project will inform specific programmatic and policy decisions of the territory’s human service programs and contribute to policy, practice, and future research more broadly, suggesting practical applications as well as longer-term benefits that might be derived from the project’s activities or findings.

Applicants should consider the significance, reliability, and validity of existing data pertaining to key questions and identify important gaps and limitations in the literature. Applicants should demonstrate that the project will contribute to the family self-sufficiency, stability programs, as well as research and early childhood education, child development research, and knowledge base on the U.S. territory.

Applications should outline a strong understanding of the social, economic, historical, and/or political factors specific to the territory that are relevant to the project’s proposed objectives. Strong applications will provide evidence of their commitment to enhancing the quality of life for residents in the U.S. territory. Applications should demonstrate that the research team has established connections and expertise on the U.S. territory or Caribbean region. Strong applications will also display how the population and geographic area(s) for the proposed research, data collection, and/or other research activities are within the scope of the Human Services Research Partnership project’s proposed objectives.  

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.

Consistent with these statutory authorities, the applicant’s proposal must describe activities and budget that are demarcated proportionately to reflect the purposes of the two funding streams supporting the project. The expected proportions of the funding streams are specified in Section II. Award Information. The applicant should also clearly acknowledge the additional accounting requirements for multi-funded project; see Section VI.3 Reporting and Section II. Award Information.

As building research capacity is central to this grant, and applicants are expected to work with a broad range of stakeholders on items related to family self-sufficiency and stability issues and/or early childhood education and child development, applications must demonstrate the applicant’s ability and capacity to assemble and synthesize stakeholder participation and interests necessary to work across multiple research and evaluation areas relevant to family self-sufficiency and stability and early childhood education and child development. Developing research partnerships, building data capacity and dissemination activities are also expected to be key activities for this FOA, see Section I.C.

Research teams of eligible institutions or organizations located in the U.S. territory will be given precedence over non-U.S. territory or regionally based institutions or organizations. Should the proposed project team not be located in the territory, the application must demonstrate how the team will successfully achieve the goals of this grant program (described in Section I.B.). Applicants from institutions of higher education must provide evidence of accreditation by one of the regional accrediting commissions recognized by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (see Section IV.2, Part B. Appendices).

Applicants should clearly explain how the expected results will achieve the cooperative agreement program goals described in Section I.B. of this FOA. Specifically, applications should demonstrate how the proposed project will (a) develop research partnerships in the territory; (b) increase data and research capacity in the territory; (c) increase knowledge about the population’s human services needs and programs; (d) benefit TANF, Head Start, and local human services programs on issues of current relevance in family economic self-sufficiency and children's healthy development and learning in the territory.

Applicants should fully describe the technical approach for addressing the key issues and achieving the project objectives proposed. The methodological discussion must include technical details of the proposed research design, including a description of the following elements, at a minimum: (a) conceptual framework; (b) research questions, hypotheses, and variables; (c) data sources, sampling (i.e., approach and expectations); (d) data collection procedures; (e) analytic plan; (f) human subjects protection (Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification/IRB Certification/Declaration of Exemption); and (g) data security. It may be helpful to include diagrams or tables that portray the interrelationships among the proposed research issues, questions, variables, and data elements.

Projects employing qualitative and/or quantitative methodology are acceptable, as appropriate to rigorously meet the research objectives and needs of the research partnership. Applicants should discuss the strengths and limitations of the proposed approaches and techniques, as well as realistic strategies for the resolution of potential challenges in completion of the research.

Applicants should identify important research priorities for the first budget period, the degree to which early findings would be useful for policy and practice, and the potential significance of the preliminary data for the continuing research. The applicant should clearly demonstrate their ability to produce significant and practical results within the first 12-month budget period in the event that federal funding is not available for subsequent periods. How these early findings would influence decisions about subsequent stages of the research and contribute to an ongoing project should be addressed.

To meet Human Subjects’ Protection requirements, applicants must include proof of Federalwide Assurance issued by the HHS Office of Human Research Protections held by the applicant or a major partner organization that will have lead responsibility on any evaluation activities involving human subjects. The Federalwide Assurance (FWA) is the only type of assurance of compliance accepted and approved by the HHS Office of Human Research Protections for institutions engaged in research involving human subjects. Through the FWA, an institution commits to HHS that it will comply with the requirements in the HHS Protection of Human Subjects regulations at 45 CFR part 46. Applicants must submit the “Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification/IRB Certification/Declaration of Exemption” form.

Applications should demonstrate sensitivity to technical, logistical, cultural, and ethical issues that may arise, and offer feasible situation strategies. Applicants should utilize collaborative strategies, as appropriate to the project goals and design. Projects involving administrative or other existing data sets in any way must include an implementation plan fully describing how the data will be accessed—which agencies, organizations, and/or individuals are involved in acquiring permissions, facilitating access, processing, and managing data. Projects involving existing data sets should provide clear evidence that they have access to the data (i.e., agreements, licenses, or memoranda of understanding).

If applicable, applications should include full description of the following:

(a)  Administrative Data.  If the applicant proposes to utilize records of state or local agencies, resource and referral files, records maintained by child care facilities, or other primary data sources for any purpose in the project (e.g., sampling, background, comparisons, linking), describe the nature of the data and how the data  would be accessed; characteristics of the sample and how it would be constructed; variables or data elements to be used and how these fit within the research plan; characteristics of the data (including data quality); and how confidentiality of individual records would be maintained. The application must provide clear proof that the research team has the authority to access the data, including written permissions and/or agreements from the offices or agencies that authorize access.

(b)  Secondary Analysis of Existing Data Sets.  If the applicant proposes analyses of secondary data sources for any purpose in the project (e.g., sampling, background, comparisons, linking), describe the objectives of the original research and its appropriateness and limitations for this study; the nature, scope and representativeness of the data; how the data would be accessed; the ability to access appropriate data and resources to support the proposed research; variables or data elements to be used and how these fit within the research plan; and characteristics of the data (including data quality). Applicants who propose to analyze nationally or regionally representative data sets, such as data from the Census Bureau or Bureau of Labor Statistics, should discuss how their analyses could address national, regional, State or territory-level child care market or policy parameters and/or trends.

(c)   Linkage(s) With Other Research Projects. If the proposed project would involve linkage with ongoing research, the applicant should explain how linking the studies would accomplish more towards meeting the goals of this grant program. Applicants should also describe the design and status of the ongoing research study; how the proposed study would benefit from and/or contribute to the ongoing work; how the technical aspects of the linkage would be structured and carried out; and the timeline for completion of the ongoing research and linking of the research studies. Description of the status of the ongoing study should detail the status of the data collection and other phases of the study and the implications for the proposed project (e.g., if proposed project would rely on analyses of data from an ongoing study, what is status/timeline for data cleaning and how would delays affect proposed project). If applicable, the application should describe procedures to ensure data quality and security and access to the data. Applicant should clearly describe how the proposed research would make a distinct contribution while building on ongoing research. If applicable the application should include a letter of agreement or support as evidence of cooperation from individual(s)/organization(s) conducting the other research project.

 

Communication and Engagement Plan  

Proposals should include a detailed communication and engagement plan, including specific activities and products, such as: (a) identification of appropriate ACF offices, programs, and potential key stakeholders at the local levels; (b) potential communication and engagement challenges and methods to address them; (c) potential resources (time or otherwise) and/or products available to provide research and program evaluation support to key stakeholders in the territory; (d) participation in OPRE/ACF conferences and/or meetings for the project team to present the funded research to federal and State policymakers and administrators; (e) specific activities to communicate project results, as appropriate, to the local community; (f) potential collaborative activities or products involving the territory’s government or local community stakeholders to enhance existing human services and programs or long-term needs for the U.S. territory.

 

Staff Qualifications

Applicants should demonstrate that the project team has the experience, expertise and commitments to carry out the proposed project on time, within budget, and with a high degree of quality. More specifically, applicants must:

(a)  Provide evidence that individuals proposed for key positions have the necessary technical skill and experience, as well as demonstrate experience/expertise of related work in the U.S. territory, and knowledge of ACF programs and related initiatives, to successfully carry out their assigned roles (e.g., resumes and/or CV).

(b) Provide evidence that individuals proposed for key positions have research experience in broader early childhood education and/or family self-sufficiency and stability issues and/or research and evaluation in the region (e.g., resumes and/or CV).  

 (c)  Identify all key staff positions for this project, the professional and/or technical qualifications for each, the proportion of time staff holding these positions will be committed to the project, the period of time they will be employed, and whether their continued employment will be dependent solely on the funds to be awarded under this FOA.

(d)   Where key positions are currently vacant, include a position description outlining the qualifications necessary to carry out the duties and responsibilities of each. Include letters of commitment from any individuals who have been selected but not yet hired. If a data collection team must be assembled, describe the expected composition of the team, what expertise will be represented, and how individuals will be selected.

(e)  Identify all proposed consultants or advisors, document their expertise, and describe their roles and responsibilities or how their services will be utilized. Include letters of commitment or intent if possible.

(f)  Identify the authors of the proposal and describe their continuing role in the project if funded.

(g) Identify team members who will be monitoring expenditures and reporting amounts of federal fund disbursements. Provide evidence that the individual(s) are able to manage the allocation of costs and maintain separate accounting records of funds provided by each of the funding streams awarded under this FOA. See Section II. Award Information for more information on separate the funding streams. See Section IV. Approach and Section VI.3. Reporting.

 

Organizational Capacity and Partnership

The applicant should demonstrate that the proposed grantee organization has the organizational capacity and resources to successfully carry-out the project on time and to a high standard of quality, including the capacity to resolve a wide variety of technical and management problems that may occur. Applications should include organizational plans for the project, including description of the organizational structure and linkages among project partners, and the respective roles and resources contributed by each partner organization. More specifically, applicants must:

(a)    Applicants that are from an institute of higher education must provide evidence of accreditation; If applicant is a higher education institute and evidence of accreditation is not provided, applicant will be disqualified from review and from funding under this FOA.

Applicants that are from a non-profit or for-profit business must provide evidence that research is a primary organizational activitity. If applicant is a non-profit or profit business and does not provided evidence that research is a primary organizational activity, the applicant will be disqualified from review and from funding under this FOA.

See Section III.3 APPLICATION DISQUALIFICATION FACTORS.

(b)    Provide evidence of organizational resources to ensure successful project management, compliance with terms and conditions of the grant, and oversight of the proper use of federal funds.

(c)  Provide evidence that all partners have the experience, willingness, and flexibility to collaborate effectively with one another in carrying out the proposed project. Possible examples of evidence include description of how each partner contributed to the planning of the project and/or development of the proposal; a description of past or current partnerships among project team members that demonstrate the ability to carry out collaborative research; and/or letters of specific commitment or support from each partner. Describe all cooperative agreements, subcontracts, and other formal relationships within the partnership. Partners who will provide access to data or records must provide a letter stipulating the terms of their agreement with the project team. Describe the future commitment each partner will make to ensure success of the collaboration as it evolves. If agreements not yet established, describe plan for achieving agreements.

(d)   Describe the organizational capability of each participating organization, demonstrating each organization’s ability to carry out its assigned roles and functions (e.g., staffing, resources, and previous achievements).

(e)  Describe the relationship between this project and other relevant work planned, anticipated, or underway by the applicant or its partners. Describe funding sources for relevant work in progress.

(f)  Provide a list of partners including the name and address of each organization; and the name, telephone number and email address of each organization’s director and primary contact for this project.

 (g) Provide evidence that the proposed grantee organization has the capacity to monitor expenditures and report cumulative amounts of federal fund disbursements; the ability to allocate costs and maintain separate accounting records of funds provided by each of the funding streams awarded under this FOA. See Section II. Award Information for more information on separate the funding streams. See Section IV. Approach and Section VI.3. Reporting.  

 

Management Plan

Applicants must provide a management plan that describes a sound and feasible plan of action for how the proposed project will be carried out. This section should detail how the project will be structured and managed, how the timeliness of activities will be ensured, how quality control will be maintained, and how costs will be controlled. Applicants should discuss their management of the project as a whole, and the management and coordinating roles of any partners.

The plan should also include the following, as appropriate:

(a)  A project timeline that clearly presents the sequence and timing of the major activities, milestones, end products of value, and estimated completion dates within the proposed project period.

(b)  Organizational and/or management chart(s) detailing roles, responsibilities, and functional relationships among partners and components of the project. Staff for each task should be clearly identified.

(c)  A description of how the project will be managed by the grantee/lead organization to ensure that members of the partnership operate as a cohesive team and that cross-cutting goals of the project are carried out efficiently and cost-effectively.

(d)  A description of the composition and roles of any steering or management committees, technical work groups, review panels, or other coordinating bodies.

(e)  Clear and practical plans for communication and consultation among team members and key stakeholders to, at a minimum, interpret research findings and results. However, projects would benefit from planned discussions and milestones to further develop plans, monitor progress, troubleshoot difficulties encountered, develop products, and communicate results of project.

(f)   Discussion of potential problems or challenges to accomplishing the project’s objectives; including factors that may affect the quality of the research or its outcomes, may undermine the ability of partners to collaborate effectively; and may hinder the sharing, review and dissemination of information. This description should include plan for addressing obstacles as they arise.

Legal Status of Applicant Entity
Non-profit organizations applying for funding are required to submit proof of their non-profit status. Proof of non-profit status is any one of the following:
  • A reference to the applicant organization's listing in the IRS's most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in the IRS Code.
  • A copy of a currently valid IRS tax-exemption certificate.
  • A statement from a state taxing body, state attorney general, or other appropriate state official certifying that the applicant organization has non-profit status and that none of the net earnings accrue to any private shareholders or individuals.
  • A certified copy of the organization's certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes non-profit status.
  • Any of the items in the subparagraphs immediately above for a state or national parent organization and a statement signed by the parent organization that the applicant organization is a local non-profit affiliate.

When applying electronically, it is strongly suggested that the applicant attach proof of non-profit status with the electronic application.

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.

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.

The application’s budget and budget justification (i.e., budget narrative) should reflect the full project period, with each twelve month budget period presented separately. Applicants should include a detailed budget table by line item and narrative budget justification clearly describing estimated costs for completion of the project, consistent with the budget categories and amounts reported in Standard Form (SF) 424-A(It should be possible to devise the numbers in the SF 424-A from the information provided in the Budget Justification form). The Budget and Budget Justification should be sufficiently detailed to demonstrate how the budget supports the proposed research, partnership, and capacity building activities, as well as the necessary management and oversight functions, linking clearly to the grant funding level. The discussion should include the appropriate levels of funding for addressing ACF objectives (as described in Section I.B.) and additional grantee responsibilities (e.g. meetings and other items as described in Section I.C.) over the course of the project period. Indirect costs are counted towards the award ceiling.

Because funds are limited, applicants should carefully consider the resources needed to implement the project and present a realistic budget that accurately reflects the costs involved for a 36-month budget.  Budgets should include all personnel, travel, and any other expenses that are vital to successfully achieving the project’s proposed objectives. Applicants should use the anticipated project start date of October 1, 2013.

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

Description: 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.

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 Letter of Intent
Due Date for Letter of Intent: 07/16/2013
Due Date for Applications: 07/30/2013

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

Rellani Ogumoro
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050

Hand Delivery

Rellani Ogumoro
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050

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.

Application components should be organized such that a reviewer will be able to follow a seamless and logical flow of information (i.e., from a broad overview of the project, to more detailed information about how it will be completed).  In addition, it is recommended that the application be carefully labeled to ease reviewers' identification of information relevant to the review criteria. 

 
Background Maximum Points: 15

1. The proposed project addresses both of the specific research areas of interest to ACF: family self-sufficiency and stability, early childhood education and child development, or a topic that is clearly significant to ACF’s Head Start or TANF programs in Puerto Rico.

2. The application demonstrates understanding of ACF/OPRE research priorities pertinent to the missions and goals of the Head Start and TANF programs in Puerto Rico.  

3. The application is territory-specific and focused, as well as outlines the population and geographic area(s) in which the applicant proposes to conduct the research, data collection, and/or other activities are clearly identified. The proposal demonstrates the significance of the area(s) for achieving the project’s proposed objectives and the grant program’s overall goals.

4. The overall application displays strong understandings of the social, economic, historical, and/or political factors specific to the territory or area(s) proposed that are relevant to the project’s proposed objectives and consistent with an analysis of the critical issues, existing research and data, and current information needs in the territory.

5. The applicant articulates the current state of knowledge relevant to the issues being addressed, demonstrating:

(a)  a thorough understanding of the relevant literatures, including important gaps and limitations of existing data and research;

(b)  how the project will clearly contribute to the family self-sufficiency and stability and early child care and education research infrastructure and knowledge base in the U.S. territory.

6. The project team is based in the U.S. territory or regional area and holds research experience in the specific territory of proposed research. If the proposed project team is not entirely located in the territory, the application demonstrates convincingly how the team will successfully achieve the goals of this cooperative agreement program.

7. The application displays established partnerships in Puerto Rico or the ability and capacity to build partnerships related to family self-sufficiency and stability and/or early childhood education and child development. The applicant outlines how the team will establish additional partnerships.

8. The application outlines a project that involves a broad range of stakeholders, related to TANF, family self-sufficiency and stability, Head Start and Early Head Start and early childhood education and development.

9. The application’s plan demonstrates the ability to build research capacity in the U.S. territory related to family self-sufficiency and stability and early childhood education and child development.

Approach Maximum Points: 25

1. The application includes a conceptual framework that is appropriate, feasible, and would significantly contribute to the importance, comprehensiveness, and quality of the proposed research and that is specific to Puerto Rico.

2. The proposed research design:

(a)  adequately links critical research questions, hypotheses, and variables;

(b)  sufficiently describes and links data sources, sampling, data collection, and analytic plan;

(c)   employs technically sound, rigorous, and appropriate design, methods, and procedures to meet the project’s research objectives;

(d)  reflects deep understanding to technical and logistical issues in Puerto Rico;

(e)  reflects deep understanding to cultural and ethical issues;

(f)   identifies potential difficulties that may arise in completion of the research and proposes realistic strategies for resolution; and  

(g)  adequately protects human subjects and security of all data; Submission of Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification/IRB Certification/Declaration of Exemption Form

3. The applicant describes important research priorities to be addressed during the first budget period, the degree to which early findings would be useful for policy and practice, and the potential significance of the preliminary data for the ongoing research. The plans for completion of the activities are feasible and of high quality.

4. The applicant employs sound and appropriate methods and procedures to meet the needs of the research partnership.

5.  The applicant demonstrates access to the existing data sets and/or necessary data resources to support him/her in the proposed research.

6. For a project involving administrative or other existing data sets, the application includes:

(a)  An implementation plan that fully describes how the data will be accessed; details regarding which agencies, organizations, and/or individuals are involved in acquiring permissions, facilitating access, processing, and managing data; and evidence that the research team has access to the data (i.e., agreements, licenses, or memoranda of understanding are included in application).

(b)  Sufficient description of the nature of the data to support potential for successful analysis; characteristics of the sample; variables or data elements to be used and how these fit within the research plan; characteristics of the data (including data quality); and how confidentiality of individual records will be maintained.

7. For a project involving linkage(s) with ongoing research, the applicant fully demonstrates:

(a)  how linking the studies would accomplish the goals of this cooperative agreement while building on ongoing research;

(b)  the design and status of the ongoing research study, including the status of data collection and other phases of the ongoing study, and the implications for the proposed project;

(c)  how the technical aspects of the linkage would be structured and carried out, providing evidence of cooperation from individual(s)/organization(s) conducting the other research project (i.e., application includes a letter of agreement or support, if appropriate). Include a letter of agreement or support as evidence of cooperation from individual(s)/organization(s) conducting the other research project.

(d) potential collaborative activities or products involving the territory’s government or local community stakeholders to enhance existing human services and programs or develop long-term needs.

Communication and Engagement Plan Maximum Points: 15

The application:

(a) includes an understanding of cooperative agreements and the partnership with ACF/OPRE;

(b) identifies appropriate ACF offices and programs and potential key stakeholders;

(c) reflects a thorough understanding of potential communication and engagement challenges and methods to address them;

(d) demonstrates the ability provide research and program evaluation support to key stakeholders in the territory;

(e) identifies specific activities to communicate project results, as appropriate, to the local community and displays mechanisms to participate in OPRE/ACF conferences and/or meetings for the project team to present the funded research to federal and State policymakers and administrators;

(f) highlights potential collaborative activities or products involving the territory’s government or local community stakeholders to enhance existing human services and programs or long-term needs;

(g) includes an effective plan to maintain communication and engagement from all partners and stakeholders.

Staff Qualifications Maximum Points: 15

1. The application demonstrates that the project team has the experience, expertise and commitments to carry out the proposed project on time, within budget, and with a high degree of quality. 

2.  The application demonstrates that the PIs and other individuals proposed for lead positions have the expertise required to successfully accomplish the goals of the cooperative agreement program, including:

(a)  the technical skills and experience to meet the project’s proposed research objectives;

(b)  adequate knowledge of ACF programs and initiatives related to the issues identified;

(c) research experience in broader early childhood education and/or family self-sufficiency and stability issues;

(d) research experience on the U.S. Territory and/or  Caribbean region.

3.  The application proposes adequate staffing and clearly identifies all key staff positions for this project, adequately describing:

(a)  the professional and/or technical qualifications for each position,

(b)  the proportion of time staff holding these positions will be committed to the project, the period of time they will be employed, and whether their continued employment will be dependent solely on the funds to be awarded under this FOA.

4.  The application identifies all proposed consultants or advisors and sufficiently documents their expertise, roles, and responsibilities on the project.

5. The application demonstrates that the PI(s) and/or other team members are able to monitor expenditures and report amounts of federal fund disbursements (i.e. SF 425 forms). Application identifies individual(s) able to manage the allocation of costs and maintain separate accounting records of funds provided by each of the funding streams awarded under this FOA.

Organizational Capacity and Partnerships Maximum Points: 15

1.  The application demonstrates that the proposed grantee organization has the organizational capacity and resources to successfully carry out the project on time and to a high standard of quality.

2.  The proposed grantee demonstrates the capacity to coordinate activities with other organizations to successfully accomplish the project objectives. There are letters of commitment, third party agreements, and/or memoranda of understanding from each partner authorizing the applicant to apply on behalf of the consortium and agreeing to participate if the proposal is funded.

3.  The partnership is well structured, with clear and significant roles for all participating organizations.

4.  Partners are appropriate and demonstrate sufficient organizational commitment and support for the project’s proposed research objectives.

5. The application demonstrates that the proposed grantee organization has the capacity to monitor expenditures and report amounts of federal fund disbursements. Application identifies organization’s ability to manage the allocation of costs and maintain separate accounting records of funds provided by each of the funding streams awarded under this FOA.

6. The organization evidences strong capacity and capabilities for designing, implementing and disseminating high quality research projects. 

Management Plan Maximum Points: 10

1.  The application presents a sound, workable, and cohesive management plan demonstrating how the work will be carried out on time and within budget.

2.  The application includes:

(a) a reasonable project timeline, presenting a clear schedule of milestones, major activities and products, with feasible target dates;

(b) an adequate plan for maintaining quality control over the implementation and ongoing operations of the project;

(c)  an organizational and/or management framework that clearly defines roles, responsibilities, and functional relationships among partners and components of the project.

3.  The applicant provides a sound plan for coordination of activities carried out by all partners on project team, demonstrating an effective approach to team building among project staff, consultants and advisors, and partnering organizations.

4.  The application includes clear and practical plans for communication and consultation among team members and key stakeholders.

Budget and Budget Justification Maximum Points: 5

1. The applicant provides a detailed budget that contains reasonable research, administrative data/partnership, communication, and travel cost estimates. Please see Meetings and Conferences, Section I. C. Program Structure and Project Requirements

2. The budget and budget justification sufficiently support the necessary management, coordination, and oversight functions to accomplish ACF’s partnership goals for the cooperative agreement.

3. The applicant has sufficient fiscal capacity within the grantee organization to ensure that unanticipated problems can be resolved and that the project will be completed on time and with a high degree of quality.

4. The budget and budget justification for the project separates allocation of funds provided by each of the funding streams awarded under this FOA.

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.

The Director of OPRE will make the final selection of the applications to be funded. Applications may be funded in whole or in part depending on: (1) the ranked order of applications resulting from the objective review; (2) staff review and consultations; (3) the combination of projects that best meet the needs of ACF’s Head Start and TANF programs; (4) the federal funds available; and (5) other relevant considerations, such as whether applicants have additional non-federal funding sources to contribute for the proposed project.

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
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.

The successful applicant will report overall federal fund disbursements in their semi-annual SF 425; maintain separate accounting records which identify the source and allocation of funds proportionate to the funding streams of the award made under this FOA. Proportions of the funding streams for this award are specified in Section II. Award Information.

VII. Agency Contacts

Program Office Contact

Rellani Ogumoro
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050
Phone: (877) 350-5913
Fax: (703) 934-3740
Email: ResearchPR@icfi.com
 

Office of Grants Management Contact

David Kadan
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Grants Management
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050
Phone: (877) 350-5913
Fax: (703) 934-3740
Email: ResearchPR@icfi.com
 

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

 
What to Submit Where Found When to Submit

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.

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.

Letter of Intent

Referenced in Section IV.2. Project Description.

Submission is due by the Letter of Intent due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.3.

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.

Proof of Non-Profit Status

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description, Legal Status of Applicant Entity

Proof of non-profit status should be submitted with the application package by the due date listed in the Overview and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.  If it is not available at the time of application submission, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

"Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying" is referenced in Section IV.2. 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.

Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants

Private, non-profit organizations (not including private universities) are encouraged to submit the survey with their applications. Applicants applying electronically, may submit this survey along with the application as part of the appendix or as a separate document. Applicants submitting in paper, please place the completed survey in an envelope labeled "Applicant Survey." Seal the envelope and include it along with the application package.

The survey is referenced in Section IV.2. The survey may be found at
https://www .acf.hhs.gov /grants-forms
.

The survey will not count in the page limitations.

Submission is voluntary.
Submission may be made with the application by the application due date listed in the Overview
and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.  Or, it may 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 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.

Evidence of Accreditation

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.

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.

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.

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.

Evidence of Research History