DATE: April 20, 2007
TO: Tribal IV-D Directors
FROM: Margot Bean
Office of Child Support Enforcement
SUBJECT: Moving from a Start-up Program to a Comprehensive Tribal IV-D Program
With the publication of the final Tribal Rule on March 30, 2004 [69 FR 16638], Tribes not operating comprehensive IV-D programs under §309.65(a) have the opportunity to apply for, and upon approval, receive funding to put a comprehensive IV-D program in place within two years of receipt of start-up funding. We have recently received questions concerning the timing of application for a Tribe to move from a start-up program to a comprehensive IV-D program, what constitutes an application, and when a Tribe should apply for a no-cost extension.
QUESTION 1 : When must a Tribe submit its application to apply for funding to move from a start-up program under §309.65(b) to a comprehensive IV-D program under §309.65(a)?
RESPONSE 1 : The regulation at 45 CFR 309.130(b) says: Tribes and Tribal organizations receiving Federal funding under this part are required to submit the following financial forms, and such other forms as the Secretary may designate, to OCSE: (1) Standard Form (SF) 424, “Application for Federal Assistance,” to be submitted with the initial grant application for funding under §309.65(a) and (b) (60 days prior to the start of the funding period); Therefore, a Tribe applying for approval to move from the start-up phase under §309.65(b) to operating a comprehensive IV-D program under §309.65(a) must submit its application 60 days prior to the start of the funding period in which the Tribe wishes to begin operating the comprehensive program.
QUESTION 2 : What is included in an application for approval to operate a comprehensive IV-D program under §309.65(a)?
RESPONSE 2 : The regulations at 45 CFR 309.15 mandate that an application for funding for a comprehensive IV-D program under §309.65(a) must include: (1) Standard Form (SF) 424, “Application for Federal Assistance;” (2) SF 424 A, “Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs,” including a quarter by quarter estimate of expenditures for the funding period, the indirect cost rate, a narrative justification for each cost category; and either a statement that the tribe will have the non-Federal share of program expenditures or a request for a waiver of the non-Federal share in accordance with §309.130(e), if appropriate; (3) Estimated indirect costs, if the tribe is requesting funding for indirect costs; (4) The Tribal plan. The application must include a statement identifying how the Tribe is meeting the requirements of subpart C of 45 CFR part 309.
QUESTION 3 : How long does it take for the Federal government to review and make a determination on an application to move from a start-up program under §309.65(b) to a comprehensive IV-D program under §309.65(a)?
RESPONSE 3 : The regulations at § 309.35 (a) say “the Secretary will promptly review a Tribal IV-D program application, plan or plan amendment to determine whether it conforms to the requirements of the Act and these regulations. Not later than the 90th day following the date on which the Tribal IV-D application, plan or plan amendment is received by the Secretary, action will be taken unless additional information is needed. If additional information is needed from the Tribe or Tribal organization, the Secretary will promptly notify the Tribe or Tribal organizations.”
While the answer to Question 1 above indicates that a Tribe must submit an application 60 days before the start of the desired funding period, the regulation also allows 90 days for the Federal government to review the application. Tribes should keep this in mind when preparing applications for funding of comprehensive programs. We will review applications and request any additional, necessary information or clarifications in a timely fashion. However, we encourage Tribes in the start-up phase to benefit from technical assistance made available by OCSE Regional Offices to ensure that codes and procedures comport with the requirements of the regulations.
Submitting the Tribal program’s codes and procedures during the second year of the start-up grant for Regional Office review will help ensure applications contain all elements required for approval of a grant for comprehensive program funding. All required elements must be in the Tribal plan and in compliance with the regulations before the Secretary will approve a move from a start-up program under §309.65(b) to a comprehensive IV-D program under §309.65(a).
Regardless of the timelines, plans that do not meet the requirements of the regulations will not be approved. Therefore, Tribes should be aware that there may be a gap in time between a start-up grant ending and the approval of a Comprehensive IV-D program.
QUESTION 4 : When should a Tribe apply for a no-cost extension of a start-up grant?
RESPONSE 4 : The regulations at §309.16(c)(1) allow the Secretary to grant a no-cost extension of time for a start-up grant if the Tribe or Tribal organization demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the extension will result in satisfaction of each requirement established in §309.65(a) by the grantee and completion of the program development plan required under §309.65(b)(2).
Tribes and Tribal organizations may experience unanticipated delays in getting required elements in place. These delays may be outside the control of the IV-D programs, e.g., the required codes are awaiting approval by Tribal Council or Congress that meets at a certain time each year. If it is clear that the approval of codes or laws will not be completed or a decision on a Tribe’s application for comprehensive program funding will not be forthcoming until after the end of the two-year start-up period, a Tribe should apply for a no-cost extension prior to the end of the two-year period.
To request a no-cost extension, the Tribe or Tribal organization must submit a written request and detail the actions the Tribe will take to meet the plan requirements in order to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the extension will result in the completion of the requirements established in §309.65(a) by the end of the time period in which the no-cost extension is granted. The request must be submitted to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, Attention: Tribal Child Support Enforcement Program, 330 C Street SW, 5th Floor, Washington DC 20201.
If an application is approved for funding of a comprehensive IV-D program under §309.65(a), the funding will be retroactive to the first day of the quarter in which the application was approved.
Inquiries should be directed to the appropriate Regional Office.
cc: ACF/OCSE Regional Program Managers