Currents Spring 2016 Issue

In this issue:


What You Should Know About the Zika Virus

Contributions by CDR Harvey Ball, ACF OHSEPR Recovery Coordinator and Julie Gallagher, ACF Communications Intern

Close up of a mosquito on someone's arm.Most people have heard about the Zika virus in the news, likely related to Brazil and birth defects.  So far, the continental United States has not been identified as a high-risk area with the mosquito-carrying virus. Some cases have been reported among travelers returning to the United States after traveling in Zika-affected areas. 

The Zika virus has been found in Mexico, several countries in Central and South America, Cape Verde, and several islands in the Pacific and Caribbean. Anyone traveling to Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands should check with the CDC for Zika Travel notices, as each of these islands have had cases recently.

Specifically, there have been over 100 cases of Zika reported in Puerto Rico, which has heightened concern for top CDC officials that the outbreak may increase in the territory. Scientists are still learning about the virus and the CDC website provides the latest information about the illness it causes. 

The Administration for Children and Families, Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) has created two fact sheets, in English and in Spanish, with information about the Zika virus for parents and ACF providers. These have some great ideas about how to protect you and your family, especially if you are traveling to high-risk areas. 

The CDC has issued travel health notices about Zika. To prevent Zika infections, travelers should review these recommendations before their trip and follow mosquito bite preventive measures. The CDC updated their travel health precautions to include male partners of pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant, as sexually transmitted Zika infections have been confirmed. 

Further information on the Zika virus and CDC recommendations can be found at the CDC’s Zika website. Due to a possible link between Zika infection in mothers and a birth defect called microcephaly, the CDC recommends precautions for women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or those who have traveled to or live in Zika affected areas. 

Until we know more, the CDC recommends that women who are pregnant consider postponing travel to any area with a Zika outbreak. Four out of five people infected with the Zika virus experience no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are usually mild and may include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon, and death is rare.

OHSEPR is participating in weekly HHS-led Zika conference calls to enhance ACF human service integration with the overall federal response to the Zika virus. For additional emergency preparedness and response information and resources, please check out the OHSEPR website. Please contact the CDC phone line at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or by email Visit disclaimer page .

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OUTREACH

Joyce A. Thomas, Regional Administrator, Region 2"This is an excellent opportunity to help build upon our relationships with our partners in the USVI, before an event occurs" - Joyce A. Thomas, Region 2, (New York)

Disaster Planning Workshop


On March 1-4, ACF Region 2 partnered with the HHS Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Recovery Coordinator and FEMA to deliver a workshop on disaster recovery planning for health and social services in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Region 2 was pleased to be on the cutting edge--this was the first time the course, “National Disaster Recovery Framework: Leadership Workshop,” was offered anywhere.   

The workshop brought together 28 stakeholders from the federal government and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) to discuss: emergency management coordination across levels of government and non-government, and stakeholder engagement in building health and social services objectives into a community pre-disaster recovery plan. Natalie N. Grant, Recovery Coordinator with the ASPR Office of Emergency Management (OEM), was the lead instructor. ACF Region’s 2 Regional Emergency Management Specialist (REMS) Glen Karpovich presented on two of ACF’s major initiatives, the Immediate Disaster Case Management (IDCM) and the Child and Youth Task Forces in Disasters.  

The course covered the principles and practices associated with disaster recovery planning, including resource identification, partnership development, coordination roles and responsibilities. Training participants also explored how territorial emergency management planning efforts can be enhanced and supported through the structure outlined in the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF).  

Both Glen and Natalie were able to share their experience and insight gained from working on past disasters, including Hurricane Sandy.  ACF was especially pleased that USVI Department of Human Services Commissioner, Vivien Ebbesen-Fludd sent several members of her leadership team to the training.  In addition to the training, federal representatives visited the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency headquarters, toured the Emergency Operations Center and saw the earthquake/tsunami warning system.

In collaboration with the ASPR OEM Division of Recovery and FEMA, CAPT Mary Riley, Director of the ACF Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR), will be supporting the effort to expand the National Disaster Recovery Framework: Leadership Workshop model nationwide. ACF OHSEPR promotes the resilience, and rapid and equitable recovery of vulnerable individuals, children, families, and communities impacted by disasters and public health emergencies, and provides expertise in human services preparedness, response and recovery. For additional information, people can contact Glen Karpovich, REMS, ACF/IORA/Region 2 at glen.karpovich@acf.hhs.gov.

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NEWS BRIEFS


Stop. Observe. Ask. Respond to Human TraffickingSOAR Technical Working Group Kickoff

Karla Gonzalez, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Alliance Against Human Trafficking and Vivian St. Juste, Executive Director, Family Resource Center from the U.S. Virgin Islands joined Katherine Chon, OTIP Director, 25 other TWG members and 9 federal staff on February 3, 2016, in Washington, DC for the SOAR Technical Working Group (TWG) kickoff meeting.  

In 2015, HHS Region II Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office on Women’s Health, Office of Minority Health, and the Administration for Children and Families piloted a Human trafficking awareness and response training initiative tailored to the HHS Region 2 jurisdictions of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, New Jersey and New York. Many of the stakeholders and subject matter experts from the pilot were invited to participate on the 2016 TWG for the SOAR training enhancements. For information and updates on Human Trafficking events and activities, please join the ACF Region 2 Human Trafficking listserv at  ACF-R2-HT-request@LIST.NIH.GOV.  

Subscribe to the ACF Office of Trafficking in Persons listserv Visit disclaimer page .

Image removed.Compact of Free Association Migrants (COFA) and the ACA— Health Care Options & Eligibility


Listen in on the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) webinar for an overview on COFA migrants’ eligibility for Marketplace coverage and available financial assistance.

Self Determination in the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam

Listen to the recent panel discussion Visit disclaimer page hosted by DOI Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia'aina.

ANA Announces Two New Funding Opportunities

The Administration for Native Americans will soon be releasing two new funding opportunities for Fiscal Year 2016, centered on Native youth and Native languages:

  • Native Youth Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (I-LEAD)
  • Native Language Community Coordination Demonstration Project (NLCC)

I-LEAD will focus on the implementation of community programs and local models that promote Native youth resiliency and development. Awarded projects must utilize a comprehensive and culturally appropriate approach that strengthens intergenerational relationships and builds leadership skills.

NLCC will fund place-based demonstrations to strengthen the Native language learning continuum within a community. By filling these coordination gaps, communities can ensure high-quality Native instruction to their members from early childhood through university.

Image removed.HHS’s Regional Health Administrator Region 2 Michelle Davis

New USVI Health Commissioner

By Nicole Meyers, Administration for Children and Families, Region 2

During the U.S. Virgin Islands State of the Territory address on Monday, January 25, 2016, Governor Mapp introduced federal official Dr. Michelle Davis (HHS’s Regional Health Administrator) as his nominee for Health Commissioner. Through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program, Dr. Davis would be on loan to the territory for a two-year term and assist the Virgin Islands in addressing health needs in the territory. 

I had the privilege of working with Dr. Davis on an IGNITE project which focused on addressing challenges the Virgin Islands Health and Human Services departments, were facing in fiscal management. Before departing for the Virgin Islands, I interviewed Dr. Davis to learn more about the IPA arrangements and her plans during the temporary assignment.  

Q: Earlier this month, Governor Mapp asked the 31st Legislature to approve a measure that would allow the Territory to fully participate in the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program or IPA. Could you provide some insight on what this means and what impact (if any) this legislation has on the two-year partnership between the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the United States Virgin Islands?

A:  The IPA Mobility Program provides for the temporary assignment of highly skilled personnel between the Federal Government and states and territories. Through this program, I will be able to assist with building up the infrastructure of the Public Health system on the Virgin Islands. It tides the Virgin Islands over and provides an opportunity to grow or find individuals with the necessary skills to continue to move the Virgin Islands forward. I envision this process will be a model program for other territories to consider.

Q: The Virgin Islands has faced a wide spectrum of challenges in recent years as it relates to healthcare delivery in the territory (staff recruitment, professional development, outbreak responses, public health communication and data collection). Have you had an opportunity to hear directly from the impacted communities and healthcare professionals about needed changes?

A: Yes. The Governor held several community town hall meetings last September that I participated in. In January 2016, I met with over one hundred employees of the Health Department to hear their concerns and suggestions. As you know, during the IGNITE process, we interviewed thirty stakeholders throughout the territory, many of whom expressed concerns about the delivery of health services. In addition, I toured the territory’s health clinics and hospitals and met with medical providers at each location. The overwhelming response was the need to fill vacancies and provide training.

Q: Do you envision incorporating those discussions into a plan of action?

A: Absolutely! In fact, the University of the Virgin Islands developed a survey to evaluate the needs and I am in the process of developing a training curriculum alongside the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. In addition, the Governor is committed to filling vacant positions with qualified staff.

Q:  The Virgin Islands has 4 confirmed cases of the Zika virus.  What precautionary measures have you put in place?

A:  We have been working closely with CDC and EPA to highlight mosquito control efforts taking place on the Virgin Islands. We have conducted public outreach by utilizing social media, television spots and radio announcements to keep the community informed. Local healthcare professionals were trained on identifying patients with the Zika virus. Weekly Surveillance Reports are posted on the Department of Health’s website. Our staff attends town hall meetings to update community members on efforts to fight the virus. In addition, mosquito nets and repellents were made available to community residents, particularly pregnant women.

As the Regional Health Administrator, Dr. Davis and her team have been strong partners of ACF in promoting healthy outcomes for children, families and communities in our region. We look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Davis.

More information on the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Visit disclaimer page .

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QUICK LINKS

Here is a partial list of ACF programs and ways to connect. For a complete overview of all ACF programs, visit our ACF Directory, which is also available in Spanish.

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GRANTS

ACF programs have a variety of funding opportunities available to support social service programming at the state, local and tribal levels. Our grantees include:

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • For-profit Organizations
  • Government
  • Educational Organizations
  • Public Housing Groups

ACF funds an array of activities that support the economic and social well-being of people throughout the country. See below for funding opportunities available today.

New Grants

The following opportunities are scheduled to be funded by ACF for fiscal year 2016. Review the full forecast and sign up for updates if you are considered eligible for funding.

Program Office: Administration for Native Americans
Funding Opportunity Title: Native Youth Initiative for Leadership Education and Development (Native Youth I-LEAD)
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ANA-NC-1167
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: March 14, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 13, 2016

Program Office: Administration for Native Americans
Funding Opportunity Title: Native Language Community Coordination Demonstration Project (NLCC)
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ANA-NS-1168
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: March 14, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 13, 2016

Program Office: Administration on Children, Youth, and Families
Funding Opportunity Title: Grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Migrant Programs for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ACYF-CA-1119
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: January 15, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: April 14, 2016

Program Office: Office of Refugee Resettlement
Funding Opportunity Title: Refugee Microenterprise Development (MED) Program Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ORR-RG-1117
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: February 12, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: April 12, 2016

Program Office: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Funding Opportunity Title: Family Strengthening Scholars Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-OPRE-PD-1114
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: March 19, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: May 19, 2016

Program Office: Office of Refugee Resettlement
Funding Opportunity Title: Ethnic Community Self Help Program Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ORR-RE-1129
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: March 22, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: May 23, 2016

Program Office: Administration for Children, Youth, and Families
Funding Opportunity Title: Foster/Adoptive Parent Preparation, Training and Development Project Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ACYF-CO-1122
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: March 28, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: May 27, 2016

Program Office: Office of Refugee Resettlement
Funding Opportunity Title: Preferred Communities Program Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ORR-RP-1116
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: April 4, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 3, 2016

Program Office: Office of Community Services
Funding Opportunity Title: Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Organizational Standards Center of Excellence (COE) Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-OCS-ET-1127
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: April 10, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 10, 2016

Program Office: Office of Community Services
Funding Opportunity Title: Community Services Block Grant Training and Technical Assistance Program: Regional Performance and Innovation Consortium (RPIC) Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-OCS-ET-1128
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: April 10, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 10, 2016

Program Office: Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Funding Opportunity Title: Basic Center Program Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ACYF-CY-1121
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: April 12, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 13, 2016

Program Office: Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Funding Opportunity Title: State and Tribal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Implementation Partnership Grants Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ACYF-CT-1123
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: April 12, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 13, 2016

Program Office: Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Funding Opportunity Title: Street Outreach Program Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ACYF-YO-1124
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: April 12, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 13, 2016

Program Office: Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Funding Opportunity Title: Quality Improvement Center on Permanency and Placement Stability for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care Visit disclaimer page
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2016-ACF-ACYF-CW-1126
Estimated Opportunity Post Date: April 12, 2016
Estimated Application Due Date: June 13, 2016

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EMPLOYMENT

Interested in Working with ACF?

ACF is working hard to increase diversity within its workforce and to enhance the cultural competency of the agency, its employees and its contractors. One sure way to reach its goal is to hire more people from diverse backgrounds. Please visit www.usajobs.gov Visit disclaimer page and search for vacancies in the Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services. Keep up to date on recent federal job openings by following the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's job site on social media: Facebook Visit disclaimer page , Twitter Visit disclaimer page , YouTube Visit disclaimer page and App Visit disclaimer page .

ACF Job Openings (partial list, for complete list visit usajobs.gov):


HHS Job Openings. Apply here:

Are you a Federal Employee with Status? Apply here:

Are You a Student or Recent Graduate Who Wants to Work in the White House?

Interested in Student or Summer Internships in the Federal Government?

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