June 2014 Infórmate

 

Photo of girls domitory showing rows of beds inside a temporary shelter that houses unaccompanied children.

Our Work with Unaccompanied Children

 

The unaccompanied children who are arriving from Central American countries are vulnerable children with significant needs. They are young, they are separated from their families and they have just survived a hazardous journey.

The Department of Health and Human Services has the responsibility to temporarily take care of these children, protect them, and work to place each child in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child.
 
We fund a set a network of state-licensed facilities operated by non-profit organizations to care for unaccompanied children, mostly in group homes. When children arrive at these facilities, they receive medical screenings and all needed immunizations to protect against communicable diseases. They are screened for tuberculosis, and receive a mental health exam, as they’ve often experienced trauma in their home country or on the journey or both.

In the facilities, along with receiving mental and medical health services, they also receive

  • Nutrition
  • Information on their legal rights
  • Classroom education
  • Opportunity for physical activity
  • Placement services that facilitate safe and timely release to family members or other sponsors who can care for them

Their average stay with us is less than 35 days.

The safety of the children, and the safety of the American public are our foremost concerns. 

Until the last several years, we used to receive referrals from the Department of Homeland Security of about 7,000 to 8,000 unaccompanied children each year. This number has steadily increased. In 2012, we served more than 13,000 children, in 2013, over 24,000. The projection for this year was 60,000 before the recent increases.

We are currently using multiple temporary facilities to receive the increased numbers of children. With the help of the Department of Defense, we have grantees that are operating facilities at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas and Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme, California. We’ll shortly be opening an additional facility in Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

We greatly appreciate the collaboration and cooperation of our federal partners and state and local officials, and the overall coordination effort by FEMA as we work together to address the urgent humanitarian needs of these children.

-- Acting Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg, remarks delivered in a joint press conference on June 12, 2014 Visit disclaimer page .

For background information on the Unaccompanied Children’s Program, please visit our website.

On this “About Unaccompanied Children’s Services” page you will find:

  • Statistics about the numbers of unaccompanied children entering the United States
  • Demographics of the children, including age, gender and country of origin
  • The responsibilities of the Office of Refugee Resettlement relative to these children 

Please also see our Fact Sheet (PDF) about this program and Frequently Asked Questions.

For Information on volunteering and donations to help refugees, please visit this link.

And here is a flow chart Visit disclaimer page that describes what happens to the children after they are brought into custody, and which federal agency is responsible each step of the way.

For the latest ACF information and news, visit The Family Room Blog.


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

 

Care Provider Agencies Needed for Unaccompanied Children Program

ACF's Office of Refugee Resettlement's Division of Children's Services recently posted a funding opportunity announcement on www.grants.gov Visit disclaimer page for its unaccompanied children program. ORR seeks residential care providers. Care providers must be licensed by an appropriate state agency to provide residential, group or foster care services for dependent children, including a program operating group homes, foster homes or facilities for special needs minors. If your agency is interested in providing services to the UAC population, please click on this link for detailed information regarding the grant, as well as instructions on how to apply. Deadline to apply is Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014.


OUTREACH

 

Photo of father pushing his daughter on a playground swing.Changing a Child Support Order

The Office of Child Support Enforcement is pleased to announce the release of the Changing a Child Support Order Guide, which includes accompanying state-specific modules. This product offers information to help parents, and people who work with parents, better understand the child support review and modification process. It explains how parents can request to have their child support order changed when their financial situation changes. Much of this guide relates to changes handled by the child support agency, although some state-specific information addresses court processes. Parents, and others, can find phone numbers, websites, and forms (where available) to help start the modification process. The guide was designed for parents, and partners, who do not know a lot about the child support system, and who may not have access to the Internet, such as incarcerated parents. The guide is available here.

Be sure to review both the “main” guide which provides an overview of the child support process and the state materials. The guide highlights the take-home message that if a parent has a significant change in their income or living situation, and they have a case with a child support office, it is important to contact that child support office as soon as possible to ensure that the child support order is accurate with regard to the new circumstance. For example, child support orders are not typically automatically reduced when a parent enters prison, even if a parent doesn’t have the ability to pay the order anymore. If parents wait until they are no longer incarcerated, they will still owe the full amount of child support. Some information in the guide focuses on how incarcerated parents can ask to have a child support order changed.  But, the information applies for anyone who is interested in finding out how to have an order changed.

To read more information about the guide, and OCSE’s collaboration with the Bureau of Prisons, check out the Child Support Report.

And, please check out OCSE’s new compilation of reentry resources.


NEWS

 

 

Hispanic toddler playing with blocks.Early Head Start Expansion and Child Care Partnerships Announce Funding Opportunity

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced a new $500 million funding opportunity to expand access to high-quality, comprehensive services for low-income infants and toddlers and their families. This funding will support the creation of Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships and the expansion of Early Head Start services to children and families.  Funding for EHS-CC Partnerships will encourage collaboration between new or existing Early Head Start grantees and child care providers to improve the quality of existing child care programs and expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers.

All agencies eligible to apply for EHS funds can apply for competitive partnership or expansion grants Visit disclaimer page including  territories, community organizations, non-profit or for-profit organizations, and state and local governments.

Organizations interested in applying for funding can find the funding announcement on ACF’s funding opportunities site.

The application due date is Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014.

 


SUCCESS STORIES

 

Teens in circle, smiling.Prep Youth for the Future

The U.S. teen birth rate is now at a record low. During the past 20 years, teen pregnancy rates have declined with more than a 50 percent reduction from 1991 to 2012. Although these numbers are the lowest in U.S. history, the costs associated with teen childbearing continue to be high not only for teens, but their parents, communities, and our nation as a whole.

In 2010, teen childbearing cost taxpayers $9.4 billion. Compared to 10, 15 or 20 years ago, more teens are using contraception and fewer teens are having sex. But researchers rightly point out that some teens may be more focused than others on avoiding pregnancy by abstaining or using contraceptives. Many young people are ambivalent about becoming parents at a young age.

They may not see viable opportunities to “move up the economic ladder.” Learn more on how ACF is addressing teen pregnancy:

 


PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT

 

 

Mother and daughter eating grapes in the park.Combating Food Deserts: The Healthy Food Financing Initiative

Today 2.3 million Americans live more than a mile from a supermarket and do not have access to a vehicle, which fits the definition of an urban food desert. Rural food deserts occur in areas where grocery stores with affordable healthy foods are more than five miles away. The term food desert also includes areas where the goods are priced too high for people to purchase within their budget. Food deserts, then, are a health disparity coming from the built environment — the manmade landscapes and neighborhoods — that limit a family’s abilities to improve their health. See how ACF takes on the problem with its Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

 


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. Find out which ACF grants are available today: Funding Opportunities. To learn how to apply for a grant, view this guide to resources for community and faith-based organizations. To learn how to become a grant reviewer, view the ACF Grant Review Guide. To learn more about grant and funding opportunities within the individual ACF programs, visit these links:

Grants

  • National Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Tribes: The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to establish by cooperative agreement a National Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Tribes. CBCT will work collaboratively with other Children’s Bureau supported initiatives to improve child welfare systems and to support Tribes and states in achieving sustainable, systemic change that results in greater safety, permanency, and well-being for children, youth and families.  CBCT will serve as the focal point for coordinated and culturally competent training and technical assistance to title IV-B and title IV-E programs in American Indian and Alaska Native Nations. Deadline: Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
  • Grants to Address Trafficking within the Child Welfare Population: The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to solicit proposals for 60 month projects that will address trafficking within the child welfare population by implementing existing recommendations to prevent, identify, and serve victims of trafficking. This funding is designed to continue the development of child welfare systems’ response to trafficking through infrastructure building, and to create an evidence base of effective interventions and practices that promote better outcomes for children involved in the child welfare system. Funded projects will be required to use a multi-system approach and coordinate with local law enforcement, juvenile justice, courts systems, runaway and homeless youth programs, Children’s Justice Act grantees, child advocacy centers, and other necessary service providers. Deadline: Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
  • National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption/Guardianship Support and Preservation: The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to establish, by awarding a cooperative agreement, one Quality Improvement Center that will conduct six to eight projects in partnership with state child welfare systems to produce a multi-faceted system of successful supports and interventions that support the permanency and stability of youth from the child welfare system in adoptive and guardianship homes. The project period for this cooperative agreement is 60 months. Deadline: Monday, July 7, 2014.
  • Intensive Child-Focused Adoptive Parent Recruitment: The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to test, by awarding eight discretionary grants, intensive and exhaustive child-focused adoptive parent recruitment strategies for children in foster care. Intensive recruitment strategies have been shown to move foster youth into permanent families at a higher rate than traditional recruitment approaches. These programs will focus on children/youth that are the hardest to place from the child welfare system due to age, disability, or sibling group membership. Deadline: Monday, July 7, 2014.
  • Standing Announcement for Tribal Title IV-E Plan Development Grants: The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to solicit applications for one-time grants to tribes, tribal organizations, or tribal consortia that are seeking to develop, and within 24 months of grant receipt, submit to HHS a plan to implement a title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance and, at tribal option, guardianship assistance program. Grant funds under this funding opportunity announcement may be used for the cost of developing a title IV-E plan under Section 471 of the Social Security Act (the Act) to carry out a program under Section 479B of the Act. The grant may be used for costs relating to the development of data collection systems, a cost allocation methodology, agency and Tribal court procedures necessary to meet the case review system requirements under Section 475(5) of the Act, or any other costs attributable to meeting any other requirement necessary for approval of a title IV-E plan. Deadline: FY 2014 - Wednesday, June 25, 2014; FY 2015 - Thursday, April 30, 2015; FY 2014 - Friday, April 29, 2016.
  • Performance Management System Development and Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting for the Community Services Block Grant Program: The Office of Community Services will support one three-year cooperative agreement for the Community Services Block Grant Training and Technical Assistance Program - Performance Management System Development and Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting. This three-year funding opportunity will support a process to update CSBG performance management systems which will be available to states to meet annual state reporting requirements of the CSBG as outlined in Section 678E(a). As specified in the CSBG Act, all states must participate in a performance management system and to report on performance and also account for expenditure of funds received through CSBG. Deadline: Friday, July 25, 2014.
  • Community Economic Development Projects: The Office of Community Services will award up to $17.9 million in Community Economic Development discretionary grant funds to Community Development Corporations for well-planned, financially viable, and innovative projects to enhance job creation and business development for low-income individuals. CED grants will be made as part of a broader strategy to address objectives such as decreasing dependency on federal programs, chronic unemployment, and community deterioration in urban and rural areas. CED projects are expected to actively recruit low-income individuals to fill the positions created by CED-funded development activities, and to assist those individuals to successfully hold those jobs and ensure that the businesses and jobs created remain viable for at least one year after the end of the grant period. Deadline: Monday, July 21, 2014.
  • Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects: The Office of Community Services will award up to $9.5 million in Community Economic Development discretionary grant funds to Community Development Corporations for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts.  Additionally or as an alternative, applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of low-income residents, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Deadline: Monday, July 21, 2014.
  • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Legal Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Center: The Office of Community Services will support one three-year cooperative agreement for the Community Services Block Grant Legal Training and Technical Assistance Center. The core functions of this cooperative agreement will be to support enhanced state, regional and national T/TA to strengthen and expand the capacity and ability of Community Action Agencies and other CSBG-eligible entities to deal with legal issues, especially those dealing with the financial management and governance of their agencies funded under CSBG. This cooperative agreement will support the implementation of ongoing T/TA to help CSBG-eligible entities address legal issues. Deadline: Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • National Center for Legal and Judicial Excellence in Child Welfare: The Children's Bureau offers this funding opportunity announcement to establish, by cooperative agreement, a National Center for Legal and Judicial Excellence in Child Welfare. The Center will work collaboratively with other Children’s Bureau supported technical assistance providers to improve child welfare systems in achieving measurable, sustainable systemic change that results in greater safety, permanency, and well-being for children, youth, and families. The expected project period is five years. Deadline: Monday, June 23, 2014.
  • Ethnic Community Self Help Program: The Office of Refugee Resettlement invites eligible entities to submit competitive grant applications for funding of the Ethnic Community Self-Help Program to provide services to newly arriving refugees.  The objectives of this program are to strengthen organized ethnic communities comprised and representative of refugee populations, and to ensure ongoing support and culturally appropriate services to refugees within five years of their initial resettlement. Deadline: Friday, June 27, 2014.
  • Assets for Independence Demonstration Program: The Office of Community Services announces that competing applications will be accepted for grants to administer projects for the national Assets for Independence of Individual Development Accounts. The projects will provide IDAs and related services to individuals and families with low incomes. Deadline: Several, first being Monday, July 14, 2014.

EMPLOYMENT

 

Interested in Working with ACF?
ACF is working hard to increase diversity in its workforce and enhance the cultural competency of the agency, its employees and its contractors. One sure way to reach that goal is to hire more people from diverse backgrounds. Please visit www.usajobs.gov and search for vacancies in the Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services.

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

 

HHS Job Openings. Apply there:
 

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?
 


FUTURE EMAILS

 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about ACF opportunities. For more information, or to sign up a new recipient for Infόrmate, contact Special Assistant Jesus Garcia in the ACF Office of Public Affairs at jesus.garcia@acf.hhs.gov. For past issues, click on this link: Infόrmate.