Frequently Asked Questions: National Centers Funding Opportunity Announcements

General Questions

1. If an applicant grant request is less than the award floor of $6,500,000 will the application be disqualified?

Application disqualification factors are included in Section III.3 Other. Grant requests for less than the Award Floor is not a disqualification factor.

2. We are interested in applying for a grant with your organization. Can you please provide us a copy of a past winning proposal?

A copy of a federally-funded application must be requested through the Freedom of Information Action (FOIA). FOIA is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. More information on FOIA can be found at /freedom-of-information-act.

3. Can applicants can propose to set up a project Web site, Facebook page or Twitter account; establish a password-protected site for Communities of Practice and listservs; and/or link either of these to the CCTAN site? Also can you provide any information about the anticipated process and length of time for approval of social media and other public-facing resources before posting?

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications. Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1 of the FOA. The review panels will use the FOA as their principal guidance available to them in the same way that it is the principal guidance for applicants.

4. In reference to the 6 FOA's posted under the National TA Center, are the centers new or existing?

You are encouraged to review Section I. Program Description of the funding opportunity announcements for information on the National Centers administered by the Office of Child Care and the Office of Head Start.

5. Please clarify:  Does an organization chart fall within the category of "table" and as such serve as an exempted element from the double-spacing requirement?

Per Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, Application Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements, only the following elements of the application submission are exempt from the double-spacing requirements and may be single-spaced: the table of contents, the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, required Assurances and Certifications, required SFs, required OMB-approved forms, resumes, logic models, proof of legal status/non-profit status, third-party agreements, letters of support,  footnotes, tables, the line-item budget and/or the budget justification.

6. Can you please at your earliest convenience provide clarification for the following questions:

Technological Capacity

  • What is the platform currently being used?
  • Is this platform expected to be used going forward with the next award?
  • Is this platform SCORM compliant?

Staffing Capacity

  • Would you be willing to share the staffing capacity of the current grant in terms of FTEs and responsibilities? (certainly I understand there are significant changes between the prior and current award)

Deliverables

  • Can you please share the prior reports produced and/or the location of these reports?

The Administration of Children and Families (ACF) does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications.  Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1 of the FOA.  The review panels will use the FOA as their principal guidance available to them in the same way that it is the principal guidance for applicants.

Indirect rates for partners

  • Partners have various indirect rates – just want to verify each partner can utilize their own rate for their own direct charges?

The response to this question depends on whether the individual “partner” is a subrecipient or contractor as defined in the fiscal regulations found at 45 CFR Part 75.  If the partner is a subrecipient and has an existing negotiated indirect cost rate or has adopted the de minimis rate, the partner can utilize its own indirect rate, subject to the 15% administrative cost limitation.  If the partner is a contractor the contracted amount must be reasonable and the extent of indirect charges which can be paid to the contractor is determined by the agreed upon price between the awardee and the contracted partner.

7. Could you please also clarify whether subgrantee budgets must also be proportionately split based on the same funding stream split as the lead applicant, or is it permissible for subgrantees to divide their budgets according to funding stream in a different manner than the lead applicant, as long as the global budget accords to the $5MM/$1.5MM split?

Applicants should reflect the Office of Head Start (OHS) and Office of Child Care (OCC) funding streams within the primary applicant entity’s 12-month budget narrative and justification. Applicants are not required to detail how the each program offices’ funding will be allocated within any potential subawards.

8. I want to request the Federal Entity Identifier if you would please contact me via email!!

You are encouraged to visit IRS.gov for information on applying for a Federal Entity Identifier. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) does not issue a Federal Entity Identifier.

National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment

1. We recently had a member of our city's administration bring the HHS National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment grant to our attention as a possible opportunity we'd like to pursue. However, I also noticed that only one award is going to be made. Is this correct?

Per Section II. Federal Award Information of the funding opportunity announcement, the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) expects to make one award.

2. I was wondering how I could apply for the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment funding opportunity. We are a before and after school program, and summer program within the local school district. We are struggling to generate enough income to cover the cost of our employees. I am looking at grants to help keep our rates low in order to meet the needs of the low income families in our area.

In applying for future awards from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), please ensure to fully review the funding opportunity announcement for specific instruction on submitting an application. ACF has developed a webpage on how to apply for a grant: the information given is applicable to cooperative agreement applications as well. For more information, please visit /grants/howto. Please also visit Grants.gov at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-faqs.html.

3. May applicants include a single-spaced title page with a confidentiality statement that covers applicable pages of the application narrative and appendix?

All applications must adhere to the formatting, font and page limitation requirements within Section IV.2.  Content and Form of Submission of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Applications that fail to adhere to the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will be adjusted by the removal of page(s) from the application. Pages will be removed before the objective review. The removed page(s) will not be made available to reviewers. Any pages included in the application, such as title pages, are subject to the page limitation required stated in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission of the funding opportunity announcement.

4. Page 15 of the FOA (Accepted Font Style) specifies that applications must be in Times New Roman 12 point font. May applicants use a different typeface and size for graphics—e.g., logic models, organization charts, timelines, sidebars—which may not fit on 8.5 x 11 pages if Times New Roman 12 is used? We understand that the Government wants to ensure a level playing field for all bidders; giving all bidders the flexibility to choose an appropriate font for graphical elements does not impact a level playing field any more than allowing scanned documents with different font sizes and styles. We recommend that the Government use the same standard for such graphics that it uses for scanned documents as described on FOA page 14 (Accepted Application Format): “… the font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.”

Also regarding on page 15 of the FOA (Accepted Font Style), may applicants use a different typeface and size for budget-related tables (which may not fit across a single page if the Times New Roman 12 point font is used)? We understand that the Government wants to ensure a level playing field for all bidders; giving all bidders the flexibility to choose an appropriate font to make its budget-related tables most readable does not impact a level playing field any more than allowing scanned documents with different font sizes and styles. We recommend that the Government use the same standard for budget-related tables that it uses for scanned documents as described on FOA page 14 (Accepted Application Format): “… the font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.”

On page 15 of the FOA (Application Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements), it provides a list of items exempt from the double spacing requirements. One of the items specified is “logic models”. Could the Government confirm that other graphical elements, such as organization charts, timelines, process models, sidebars, etc. are also exempt from the double spacing requirement?

All applications must adhere to the formatting, font and page limitation requirements within Section IV.2.  Content and Form of Application Submission of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Applications that fail to adhere to the Administration for Children and Families’ FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will be adjusted by the removal of page(s) from the application. Pages will be removed before the objective review. The removed page(s) will not be made available to reviewers.

Per Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, Application Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements, only the table of contents, the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, required Assurances and Certifications, required SFs, required OMB-approved forms, resumes, logic models, proof of legal status/non-profit status, third-party agreements, letters of support, footnotes, tables, the line-item budget and/or the budget justification are exempt from the double spacing requirement.

5. On pages 24 and 35, the FOA provides requirements and evaluation criteria for a Dissemination Plan. However, according to FOA page 15 (Page Limitations and Content for All Submission Formats), a Dissemination Plan is not one of the elements required for the Project Description (Narrative file). Where within the Narrative file should applicants include the Dissemination Plan?

The Dissemination Plan can be included in the Narrative file.  

6. On page 23 of the FOA (Legal Status of Applicant Entity), there is a requirement that “Applicants must provide the following documentation…” and it seems to refer only to documents required for non-profit organizations. May applicants that are not non-profit organizations omit any reference to this section in their Narrative files?

For profit entities applying for this funding opportunity are not required to address the Legal Status of Applicant Entity in their application.

7. On page 25 of the FOA (The Project Budget and Budget Justification), the requirement that “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.” Because of the encouragement of a consortium, including all of this information in the Narrative file for each member of an applicant’s team will use many of the 200 pages, and does not result in a level playing field. Rather, it puts applicants with large teams at a disadvantage compared to others (since applicants with large teams will not have the same amount of space to respond to technical requirements). We respectfully request that the Government exempt the budget detail and narrative from the 200-page limit to enable all teams to complete on a level playing field.

On page 27 of the announcement (HHS-2015-ACF-OCC-TA-1000), it states the following: “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.” Is it possible for a subcontractor to provide a budget & NICRA directly to ACF with the intent of not revealing any proprietary information to the prime? If this is a viable option, can you please provide a POC to send our proprietary rates and budget directly to?

All information for an organization’s or consortia’s application must be submitted in one application through Grants.gov. ACF will not accept application information from another source for review.

8. If a sealed package is acceptable, what are the implications for the page count? Will this be outside of the 200 limit?  In our experience, it has not been included in the page count, will the government please confirm this?

All information for an organization’s, or consortia’s, application must be submitted in one application through Grants.gov. ACF will not accept application information from another source for review. All applications must adhere to the formatting, font and page limitation requirements within Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Applications that fail to adhere to the Administration for Children and Families’ FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will be adjusted by the removal of page(s) from the application. Pages will be removed before the objective review. The removed page(s) will not be made available to reviewers.

9. Wanting to be responsive to the field as we proceed, will it be allowable allocate a pool of funding to a few designated sub-contractors for activities to be determined?  How might the designated sub-contractors provide detailed budget if the activities are not fully determined? P.27

The Administration for Children and Families does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement, whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications.

10. On page 27 on the HHS-2015-ACF-OCC-TA-1000, National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment funding opportunity announcement (FOA), it states the following: “2) Per 45 CFR § 75.414(f) Indirect (F&A) costs, “any non-Federal entity [i.e., applicant] that has never received a negotiated indirect costs rate, … may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely. As described in § 75.403, cost must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both. If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time.”

Does this wording suggest the grantee can charge a 10% indirect charge on all direct costs in our budget submission?  If not, what is allowable?

The de minimis rate is an alternative to the use of a negotiated indirect cost rate or cost allocation plan. The de minimis rate is available only to non-federal entities (awardees) who have never had a negotiated indirect cost rate. The de minimis rate can be applied to the full amount of an award (federal and nonfederal). For example, if an awardee receives $800,000 in federal funds and is required to provide 20% match ($200,000) the overall award is $1,000,000. An awardee that has adopted the de minimis rate could charge $100,000 (10% of $1,000,000) to the award so long as charging the full 10% does not cause the awardee to exceed the 15% administrative cost limitation when other administrative costs are taken into account. The awardee must formally adopt the de minimis rate and have that adoption reflected in its approved (governing body and policy council) fiscal policies and procedures.

11. Per the FOA on page 24, do we need to include all items listed under Organizational Capacity for each major subcontractor? If so, are these documents considered to be part of the 200 page limit? Organizational charts; Resumes (no more than two single-spaced pages in length); Audit reports or statements from Certified Public Accountants/Licensed Public Accountants, if available, submit statements for up to the two most recently completed fiscal years (this requirement does not apply to start-up organizations); Copy or description of the applicant organization's fiscal control and accountability procedures; Evidence that the applicant organization, and any partnering organizations, have relevant experience and expertise with administration, development, implementation, management, and evaluation of programs similar to that offered under this announcement; Evidence that each participating organization, including partners and/or subcontractors, possess the organizational capability to fulfill their role(s) and function(s) effectively.

Per Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, applicant organizations must provide information regarding their organizational capacity and if applicable, on any cooperating partners. All applications must adhere to the formatting, font and page limitation requirements within Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Applications that fail to adhere to the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will be adjusted by the removal of page(s) from the application. Pages will be removed before the objective review. The removed page(s) will not be made available to reviewers.

ACF does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications.

12. I am applying for your grant opportunity number HHS-2015-ACF-OCC-TA-1000. I am unsure what to input into the Estimated Funding section of the 424, can ACF offer any assistance?

You are encouraged to review Section II. Federal Award Information and Section V.I. Criteria of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). The Administration of Children and Families does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the FOA, whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications. 

For electronic application submission, all the required forms are available on the FOA's Grants.gov "Download Opportunity Instructions and Application" page under "Download Application Package" in the section entitled, "Mandatory." Also available at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms.html by using the link to "SF-424 Family."

13. Throughout the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment, it is stated that the National Center will support and work with “states, territories, and tribes” and that the primary recipient of resources and T/TA will be “state, territory, and tribal Child Care Lead Agencies” (elsewhere referred to in the FOA as “CCDF Lead Agencies”). We are trying to clarify precisely what bodies are implied by these references. Is this list of “CCDF Grantee State and Territory Contacts” on the OCC website the “CCDF Lead Agencies” referred to in the FOA as the primary recipient of resources and T/TA? /programs/occ/resource/ccdf-grantee-state-and-territory-contacts

Yes, The Child Care Development Fund’s (CCDF) Lead Agencies are listed on the following webpage: /programs/occ/resource/ccdf-grantee-state-and-territory-contacts

Per Section I. Program Description, “Training and technical assistance will be delivered to state, territory and tribal Child Care Lead Agencies and their designated networks and organizations, including, but not be limited to, state and local education agencies, state school-age care networks, child-care resource and referral agencies, and provider associations. Secondary recipients of T/TA include program administrators, program staff and parents of children in child-care settings. Some T/TA will be applicable to all T/TA users, while other T/TA topics may be role or setting specific. These users are considered “secondary recipients” not because they are less important, but because they will be reached through CCDF Agencies and dissemination networks mentioned above. In addition to primary and secondary users, the National Center will coordinate with OCC federal staff, OCC’s State Capacity Building Center and other designated OCC TA Centers in training and resource dissemination to facilitate T/TA reach and transfer to primary and secondary users.”

14. Can you please confirm that this is an award ceiling of $2M total over 5-year period?  

Please note the Award Ceiling for the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment funding opportunity announcement has been modified to read “$2,000,000 Per Budget Period.” The modified FOA is available at: /grants/open/foa/index.cfm?switch=foa&fon=HHS-2015-ACF-OCC-TA-1000

15. Our agency currently operates licensing and training programs that already work with afterschool programs that are at least in part funded through our state, a would be Lead Agency under this grant funding. Under this grant award, would it be allowable for an agency that currently manages Lead Agency funds and programming to provide T/TA to that same Lead Agency under cover of a separately funded program?

The Administration for Children and Families does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications. Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1 of the FOA.  The review panels will use the FOA as their principal guidance available to them in the same way that it is the principal guidance for applicants.

16. Can we use our agency's Research and Evaluation department to do the evaluation, or do we need to identify a third-party partner? 

You are encouraged to review Section I. Program Description, Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, and V.I. Criteria of the funding opportunity announcement for information regarding evaluation.

17. Are the ages of targeted youth 5 to 12 or 5 to 13? 

Per Section I. Program Description, the goal of the National Center is to facilitate grantees’ efforts to move toward the Administration for Children and Families vision that all early childhood education (ECE) settings reach similar levels of quality that ensure safety, healthy development, and school success for all children birth to school age (through age 12).

18. Should the proposed web-based components of the work plan and dissemination plan be developed such that they can be built ONTO the CCTAN website or could we propose a discrete website that the CCTAN website would "point to?"

ACF does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the FOA, whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications.  Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1 of the FOA.  The review panels will use the FOA as their principal guidance available to them in the same way that it is the principal guidance for applicants.

19. What is the age range of the HHS-2015-ACF-OCC-TA-1000, National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment grant?

Per Section I. Program Description, the goal of the National Center is to facilitate grantees’ efforts to move toward the Administration for Children and Families vision that all early childhood education (ECE) settings reach similar levels of quality that ensure safety, healthy development, and school success for all children birth to school age (through age 12).

20. Are transportation and building cost a part of the HHS-2015-ACF-OCC-TA-1000, National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment grant?

You are encouraged to review Section. IV.2 Content and Form of Application Submission, Project Budget and Budget Justification for information on costs such as transportation.

21. Is the HHS-2015-ACF-OCC-TA-1000, National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment grant, limited to one state or multiple?

Per Section II. Federal Award Information of the funding opportunity announcement, the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) expects to make one award.

22. I am in the process of completing the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment grant application package for my nonprofit organization, however it does have an other attachments form that needs to be completed. It does not state in the instructions what other additional mandatory forms are required. Could you specify what other forms are needed in order for me to complete the application process?

You are encouraged to review Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications; pages 19 through 20 list the required forms to be included in the application.

23. Regarding the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment, we need clarification. Will the afterschool program be conducted at one site location or multiple locations in neighboring areas using different staff?

You are encouraged to review Section I. Program Description and Section V.I Criteria of the funding opportunity announcement for an overview of the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment and evaluation criteria the objective panel will utilize to review all applications received in response to the funding opportunity announcement.

National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning

1. Please advise on the following questions concerning the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning:

a) For overall budget, should we submit (in addition to the SF 424A) a detailed budget for all 5 years, or for only year 1?

The budget narrative and justification should focus on the first 12 month budget period.

b) For subcontracts, should we include an SF424A OR a detailed budget OR BOTH?

Only the applicant organization is required to submit a SF 424.

c) If a detailed budget is required for the subcontracts, should it be for all 5 years or for only year 1?

The budget narrative and justification should focus on the first 12 month budget period for the applicant organization.

d) There is room in the application for only FOUR key contact forms. The FOA (page 21) says key contact forms should be   included for "project direct and/or principal investigator, Lead Partners and/or Consortium Project Lead(s), if applicable." We have six consortium (subcontract) partners, in addition to our PI, which means there is not enough room to include all of them. What is the solution?

ACF requires applicants to identify one Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) per application. However, the applicant organization may submit multiple Key Contact Forms in order to include the partners’ information.

2. What is the best grant to apply for HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0996 that would assist us in opening our child care facility? On the Grant application it is asking for "Mandatory other attachments" I am including my business plan but, was not sure what other attachments are needed. I also had a question about the "Mandatory Project Narrative file". Do you have a specific template or specific information that you are needing me to include in the Project Narrative?

Items that must be included in the Project Description (Narrative file) are listed on page 17 of this funding opportunity announcement.

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness

1. If the intention is to apply for a 5-year project, would we budget $6,682,500 per year (total $33,412,500 over the life of the grant)?     

Per Section II. Federal Award Information, the award per 12 month budget period is $6,682,500.

2. We are submitting a proposal for the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0998).  We are requesting clarification on the specific age range, should some activities also include school age children or should all activities focus on pregnant women through age 5 and their families?

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1. of the FOA. The review panels will use the FOA as their principal guidance available to them in the same way that it is the principal guidance for applicants. Per Section V.I., Criteria, Objectives “The applicant has clearly identified the T/TA needs of HS/EHS agencies and State, Territory, and Tribal Lead Child Care Agencies that serve high-risk children in high poverty communities, pregnant women, children from birth to age 5, inclusive of children with disabilities.”

3. I would like to determine if I am eligible to apply for the grant listed as National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness funding opportunity, HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-0998. I am the sole proprietor of my organization, however I am working in partnership with a nonprofit organization to provide the services that can possibly be funded by this grant.  Can you please let me know if or how I might submit the grant under this partnership.                   

Per Section III.1. Eligible Applicants, “Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.”

4. My organization will be participating as a sub-recipient on a proposal to the Office of Head Start/Health and Human Services opportunity HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0998.  We will be providing training as its part on the grant.  While preparing our budget, a question regarding the Facilities & Administrative Rate to use has arisen.

In the RFP the following is listed: 1) The applicant currently has an indirect cost rate approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or another cognizant federal agency. Note: An applicant must enclose a copy of the current approved rate agreement.  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.2) Per 45 CFR  § 75.414(f) Indirect (F&A) costs, “any non-Federal entity [i.e., applicant] that has never received a negotiated indirect costs rate, ... may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely. As described in § 75.403, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both.  If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time.”                  

From the HHS website there is the following link  http://www.hhs.gov/asfr/ogapa/aboutog/ogpoe/gpd3-01.pdf regarding training grants:  Exceptions. Indirect costs under training grants to organizations other than State, local or Indian tribal governments will be budgeted and reimbursed at 8 percent of modified total direct costs rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement, and are not subject to upward or downward adjustment. Direct cost amounts for equipment (capital expenditures), tuition and fees, and subgrants and subcontracts in excess of $25,000 are excluded from the actual direct cost base for purposes of this calculation.      

Can you please confirm if the 8% rate should be used, as our organization will be providing training, or if our full training negotiated rate would apply?

  • Cooperative agreements are not training grants, and the 8% training grant negotiated indirect cost rate is not the applicable rate for a cooperative agreement.
  • If the nonfederal entity which is party to a cooperative agreement has negotiated an indirect cost rate, that rate is applicable to the cooperative agreement.
  • Application of a negotiated indirect cost rate to the cooperative agreement is subject to the 15% administrative cost limitation in the Head Start Act, so the full negotiated indirect cost rate cannot be charged to the extent it would cause administrative costs under the cooperative agreement to exceed 15%.

5. I am completing an application for National Center on Early Childhood Health & Wellness HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0998 CFDA 93.60 Administration for Children & Families – OHS. There is a section “Other Forms”. This is a mandatory section but there are no instructions on what is required here. I searched through the instructions and spoke with the folks at grants.gov and they did not have this information and suggested I contact you.  Can you please tell me what I need to attach here? Also on the project narrative, typically there is some instructions about what needs to be included, how long it can be, etc. I have the same situation here where I cannot find instructions on this. This will be my first federal grant so these instructions probably exist somewhere but I have tried everything I know and have not had any success getting these answers. If you could provide any guidance on this I would be grateful. 

You are encouraged to review Section IV.2 Content and Form of Application Submission and Section V.1 Criteria of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA); pages 19 through 20 list the components to be included in the narrative file.

National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance

1. In reading through the National Center for Early Childhood Quality Assurance funding opportunity announcement (FOA), I noted that the level of competitiveness is very high, and that only one organization per category would be granted funding.  Additionally, it seems that organizations that operate programs across multiple states might be given competitive preference. Can you please elaborate more on the nature of competition under this category and let me know whether an application from a locally-based agency might meet the level of competition that you expect from other applicants?

The Administration anticipates a robust competition. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), and whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA. All applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1 Criteria of the FOA.

2. May applicants include a single-spaced title page with a confidentiality statement that covers applicable pages of the application narrative and appendix?   

All applications must adhere to the formatting, font and page limitation requirements within Section IV.2. Content and Form of Submission of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Applications that fail to adhere to the Administration for Children and Families’ FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will be adjusted by the removal of page(s) from the application. Pages will be removed before the objective review. The removed page(s) will not be made available to reviewers. Any pages included in the application, such as title pages, are subject to the page limitation required stated in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission of the funding opportunity announcement.

3. Page 18 of the FOA (Accepted Font Style) specifies that applications must be in Times New Roman 12 point font. May applicants use a different typeface and size for graphics—e.g., logic models, organization charts, timelines, sidebars—which may not fit on 8.5 x 11 pages if Times New Roman 12 is used? We understand that the Government wants to ensure a level playing field for all bidders; giving all bidders the flexibility to choose an appropriate font for graphical elements does not impact a level playing field any more than allowing scanned documents with different font sizes and styles. We recommend that the Government use the same standard for such graphics that it uses for scanned documents as described on FOA page 19 (Accepted Application Format): “… the font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.”

All applications must adhere to the formatting, font and page limitation requirements within Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Applications that fail to adhere to the Administration for Children and Families’ FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will be adjusted by the removal of page(s) from the application. Pages will be removed before the objective review. The removed page(s) will not be made available to reviewers.

4. Also regarding page 18 of the FOA (Accepted Font Style), may applicants use a different typeface and size for budget-related tables (which may not fit across a single page if the Times New Roman 12 point font is used)? We understand that the Government wants to ensure a level playing field for all bidders; giving all bidders the flexibility to choose an appropriate font to make its budget-related tables most readable does not impact a level playing field any more than allowing scanned documents with different font sizes and styles. We recommend that the Government use the same standard for budget-related tables that it uses for scanned documents as described on FOA page 19 (Accepted Application Format): “… the font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable.”

On page 18 of the FOA (Application Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements), it provides a list of items exempt from the double spacing requirements. One of the items specified is “logic models”. Could the Government confirm that other graphical elements, such as organization charts, timelines, process models, text boxes, sidebars, etc. are also exempt from the double spacing requirement?    

Per Section IV.2 Content and Form of Application Submission, Application Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements, only the table of contents, the one-page Project Summary/Abstract, required Assurances and Certifications, required SFs, required OMB-approved forms, resumes, logic models, proof of legal status/non-profit status, third-party agreements, letters of support, footnotes, tables, the line-item budget and/or the budget justification are exempt from the double spacing requirement.

5. On pages 27 and 40, the FOA provides requirements and evaluation criteria for a Dissemination Plan. However, according to FOA page 19 (Page Limitations and Content for All Submission Formats), a Dissemination Plan is not one of the elements required for the Project Description (Narrative file). Where within the Narrative file should applicants include the Dissemination Plan? 

The Dissemination Plan can be included in the Narrative file.  

6. On page 26 of the FOA (Legal Status of Applicant Entity), there is a requirement that “Applicants must provide the following documentation…” and it seems to refer only to documents required for non-profit organizations. Please confirm that applicants that are for profit companies may omit any reference to this section in their Narrative files.

For profit entities applying for this funding opportunity are not required to address the Legal Status of Applicant Entity in their application.

7. On page 30 of the FOA (The Project Budget and Budget Justification), the requirement that “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.” Including all of this information in the Narrative file for each member of an applicant’s team will use many of the 200 pages, and does not result in a level playing field. Rather, it puts applicants with large teams at a disadvantage compared to others (since applicants with large teams will not have the same amount of space to respond to technical requirements). We respectfully request that the Government exempt the budget detail and narrative from the 200-page limit to enable all teams to complete on a level playing field.

Further on page 30 of the FOA (The Project Budget and Budget Justification), is it possible for a subcontractor to provide a budget & NICRA directly to ACF with the intent of not revealing any proprietary information to the prime? If this is a viable option, can you please provide a POC to send our proprietary rates and budget directly to?

All information for an organization’s or consortia’s application must be submitted in one application through Grants.gov. ACF will not accept application information from another source for review.

National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement

1. I am writing with a question about Funding Opportunity Number HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0999 (National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement). Are organizations that are currently Early Head Start/Head Start grantees permitted to apply as either a lead partner or as a subcontractor?

Per Section III.1. Eligible Applicants of the funding opportunity announcement, “Eligible applicants include the following: state governments; county governments; city or township governments; special district governments; independent school districts; public and state controlled institutions of higher education; Native American tribal governments (federally recognized); public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities; Native American tribal organizations (other than federally recognized tribal governments); nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education; nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education; private institutions of higher education; for-profit organizations other than small businesses; small businesses; and faith-based organizations.” Further, eligible applicants may apply on their own or as the lead applicant for a consortium.

2. We are thinking about applying for the National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement. I see that another organization is currently serving as this center. I am assuming they would re-apply. In general, if a current center already exists, and the incumbent applies, are they likely to be successful? I would hate to pursue this funding opportunity if there is no chance we can compete.

The Administration anticipates a strong competition. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), and whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA. All applications will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using the criteria described in Section V.1 Criteria of the FOA.

3. I am writing with two questions about Funding Opportunity Number HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0999 (National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement). The RFP states that we are limited to 225 pages in total. Are there page limits for the project and budget description narrative? In other words, is there guidance for the limit on the number of pages in the narrative vs. the appendices? Is there a requirement or preference for us to use the SF424R-R Biosketch format, or, are we permitted to use the resume format of our preference?

The RFP states that resume's should not exceed two pages. Per Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, “The entire application, which includes the Project Description/Budget and Budget Justification and the Appendices is limited to 225 pages.” The Administration for Children and Families has not established page limits for each section that comprises the total application submission. Further, ACF does not have a preference for resume formats.

4. Please clarify the funding and budget periods listed in the funding opportunity announcement for the National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement. Is it $6,500,000 over five years, or $6,500,000 per budget period of 12 months over five years (contingent on satisfactory progress)?

Per Section II. Federal Award Information, the award per 12 month budget period is $6,500,000. Non-competitive continuation awards will be offered for each of years 2 through 5 of the project period. Funding levels for years 2 through 5 will be equal to that awarded in year 1 of the project. Continuation funding will be subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory progress, and a determination that continued funding is in the best interest of the federal government.

5. Would you please advise us about the format for these two page resumes? Is there a suggested template we should use?  One option might be to use a specific resume format or to modify the NIH biosketch. 

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) does not have a preference for resume formats.

6. Which staff need to provide resumes – key personnel only, or all program and administrative staff involved in the project?

Per Section V.1. Criteria, applicants should provide, “The applicant provides detailed information on staff qualifications that clearly demonstrates the applicant’s expertise in parent, family, and community engagement and early learning programs, strongly documenting the ability and expertise of the applicant to carry out the activities as described in this FOA. The applicant clearly describes a feasible plan for recruiting staff with expertise in working with low-income families.”

7. Do you have specific guidance about the letters of support (number to include, any required letters, any restrictions, etc.)?

Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission states letters of support and testimonials from concerned interests other than the applicant, may be included in the Project Description.

ACF does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement, whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications. 

8. Regarding HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0999, I noticed you are only asking for Project Summary/Abstract, Objectives and Needs for Assistance, Approaches, Outcomes Expected, Outcomes Expected, Timeline and Milestones, Program Performance Evaluation Plan, Organizational Capacity, Plans for Oversight for Federal Funds, and the Budget. You are asking for a one page Project Summary/Abstract of the proposed project, our project has over 7 community program and we have detailed descriptions of each program and the descriptions of these programs will not fit on one page, and we are using the Approach section to describe our work plan for each program, my question is can we add the descriptions of our programs to the appendices, or do you suggest we make the approaches a two part section with the descriptions as part one and the work plan as part two of the approaches.

The Administration for Children and Families does not provide direct guidance or instruction in the development of an applicant’s project design or in writing their applications. Applicants should use their best judgment in determining whether they are able to meet the requirements contained in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), whether they are able to develop an application they believe to be responsive to the FOA and in designing and writing their applications.

9. We are currently preparing an application in response to HHS-2015-ACF-OHS-HC-0999, and our application will include subawards to other institutions. Per the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), our submitted budget has to show allocations across OHS at 75% and OCC at 25%. Do the individual subaward budgets have to adhere to this 75/25 break-down? Or can a subaward allocate OHS at 50% and OCC at 50% (or even 100% OHS). Please advise.

Applicants should reflect the Office of Head Start (OHS) and Office of Child Care (OCC) funding streams within the primary applicant entity’s 12-month budget narrative and justification. Applicants are not required to detail how the each program offices’ funding will be allocated within any potential subawards.

10. We understand that the budget and budget justification are limited to a total of 15 single-spaced pages for applications in response to the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement funding opportunity announcement (FOA).  Also, “provide a budget justification, which includes a budget narrative and a line-item detail, for the first year of the proposed budget” and “applicants must provide additional detail in their budget and budget justifications that proportionately reflects the percentages and types of costs and activities by funding stream.” Could you please clarify if one line-item budget and budget narrative that delineate costs apportioned to each funding stream is sufficient. Or do we need to provide two completely separate budget narratives (one for OHS and one for OCC) and two detailed budgets? 2. In the budget detail, are we expected to show staff names?  The FOA does not give clear guidance. 3. In the budget narrative, are we expected to show staff names and annual and grant salary amounts?  The FOA does not give clear guidance.

Per Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, The Project Description of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), “The grant awarded under this FOA is made up of multiple funding streams; therefore, applicants must provide additional detail in their budget and budget justifications that proportionately reflects the percentages and types of costs and activities by funding stream.”

Applicants should detail annual and grant salary amounts within the budget narrative and justifications: staff names can be included, if available.

11. Can ACF provide clarity regarding the breakdown between Office of Head Start (OHS) and Office of Child Care (OCC) funds that applicants should be listing in their budget documents for proposals responding to the National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement funding opportunity announcement (FOA). On page 28 of the FOA, the funding streams are listed as “OHS = 75 percent / $5,000,000” and “OCC = 25 percent / $1,500,000”. This breakdown is reiterated on page 12 of the FOA. However, 75 percent of  $6,500,000 is actually $4,875,000, and 25 percent of $6,500,000 is actually $1,625,000.

So, if we are applying for the full amount per budget period, should our total OHS funding, as reflected in SF 424A, be $5,000,000 or $4,875,000?

Likewise, also if we are applying for the full amount per budget period, should our total OCC funding, as reflected in SF 424A, be $1,500,000 or $1,625,000?

Applicants should use the dollar amounts listed in Section II. Federal Award Information, Additional Information on Awards and Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, Budget Development by Funding Stream of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) as they accurately reflect the level of funding each program office is contributing to the National Center. The percentages are offered only to illustrate the proportionate share of the funding. For example, if the FOA states that the Office of Head Start will provide 75 percent/$5,000,000 and the Office of Child Care will provide 25 percent/$1,500,000 of the total Budget Period funding, applicants should provide detail about they will allocate $5,000,000 and $1,500,000 respectively.

National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations

1. The OMB OmniCircular defines “equipment” as costing $5,000 or more.  However, some federal awards define computer and/or presentation devices (laptops, projectors, phones, etc.) costing less than $5,000 – as equipment and disallow the cost. Are computer and presentation devices considered allowable expenses under this award?

In accordance with the definition for equipment in 45 CFR 75.2, computer and presentation devices are allowable expenses in a grant award.

2. Are supplies an allowable expense?    

Yes, supplies are also an allowable expense.  

3. The FOA states “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.” Does this mean that periods 2-5 can exceed the $6M budget?   

A project period and budget period have separate definitions. Please note the full reference to the statement included in Section II. Federal Award Information, “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. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.”      

4. Per the instructions on how to complete the SF-424A, only one copy of the form is needed for multiple budget periods (up to 5 budget periods); Section A, B and D apply to the first year and Section E applies to years 2-5. However, on page 30 of the FOA it says to “Provide a budget justification using the 424A and/or 424C, as applicable, for each year of the proposed project.” Is it acceptable to fill out SF 424A for Year 1 including Section E for years 2-5; and then attach a detailed budget and budget justification for each year 1 through 5?

The budget narrative and justification should focus on the first budget period.