Administration for Children and Families
 
 
Office of Family Assistance
 
Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants
HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FM-0985
Application Due Date: 07/07/2015

 

Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants
HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FM-0985
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
  1. Overview
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Program Description
  4. Federal Award Information
  5. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
    2. Cost Sharing or Matching
    3. Other - (if applicable)
  6. Application and Submission Information
    1. Address to Request Application Package
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission
    3. Submission Dates and Times
    4. Intergovernmental Review
    5. Funding Restrictions
    6. Other Submission Requirements
  7. Application Review Information
    1. Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process
    3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
  8. Award Administration Information
    1. Award Notices
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    3. Reporting
  9. Agency Contacts
  10. Other Information
 
Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants
HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FM-0985
ANNOUNCEMENT PUBLICATION | VALIDATE & APPROVE
 
Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
 
Program Office:Office of Family Assistance
Funding Opportunity Title:Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants
Announcement Type:Initial
Funding Opportunity Number:HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FM-0985
Primary CFDA Number: 93.086
Due Date for Applications: 07/07/2015
 
Executive Summary

Notices: 

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the entire funding opportunity announcement (FOA) carefully and observe the application formatting requirements listed in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission. For more information on applying for grants, please visit "How to Apply for a Grant" on the ACF Grants Page at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Family Assistance (OFA) is announcing the solicitation of applications for the competitive award of grants for demonstration projects that support “healthy marriage promotion” activities as authorized by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (CRA) (Pub. L. 111-291).

Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants (HMRE) awarded under this FOA will support programs that provide a broad array of services designed to support healthy marriage and relationships.  In order to achieve specified outcomes included in this FOA, applicants are strongly encouraged to provide comprehensive services, including services designed to improve marriage and relationship skills, as well as activities to promote economic stability and mobility.  Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with human services agencies and community organizations to integrate services to address the social, emotional, and economic stability needs of individuals and couples.  Social and emotional needs services include partnerships with and referrals to mental health, substance abuse treatment, and trauma-informed care systems. Economic stability activities include job and career advancement, and financial literacy activities, such as budgeting, financial planning and management, and asset development.  

ACF developed short- and long-term outcomes for all HMRE  programs.  ACF expects applicants to demonstrate how their proposed program elements and activities directly align with the desired programmatic outcomes contained in this FOA. (See Section I. Program Description, Program Purpose and Scope, Programmatic Outcomes.)

Grants under this FOA will provide for 1 year of funding based on currently available funds. ACF intends to continue successful programs through non-competitive continuation applications for a 5-year period, subject to the appropriation of additional funds not contained in the current authorizing legislation (See Section II. Federal Award Information, Non-Competitive Continuation for additional information).

This is one of four Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood FOAs.

The Healthy Marriage FOAs are:

Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants (HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FM-0985); and National Center for Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FH-0990).

The Responsible Fatherhood FOAs are:

New Pathways for Fathers and Families (HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FK-0993); and Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry and Mobility (ReFORM) (HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FO-0992).

I. Program Description

Statutory Authority

The statutory authority for this program is the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-291).

Description

BACKGROUND

In recent years, ACF-funded HMRE grantees have supported family strengthening through the provision of marriage and relationship education, parenting skills, and job and career advancement activities.  ACF’s HMRE grants will continue to support family-strengthening activities through the specified activities authorized under the CRA.  The CRA authorizes funding for eight “healthy marriage promotion” activities (the titles preceding the activities are intended only as an aid to summarize the activities and elements):

  • Public Advertising Campaigns - Public advertising campaigns on the value of marriage and the skills needed to increase marital stability and health.

 

  •  Education in High Schools - Education in high schools on the value of marriage, relationship skills, and budgeting.

 

  • Marriage and Relationship Education/Skills (MRES) - Marriage education, marriage skills, and relationship skills programs that may include parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement.

 

  • Pre-Marital Education - Pre-marital education and marriage skills training for engaged couples and for couples or individuals interested in marriage.

 

  • Marriage Enhancement - Marriage enhancement and marriage skills training programs for married couples.

 

  • Divorce Reduction - Divorce reduction programs that teach relationship skills.

 

  • Marriage Mentoring - Marriage mentoring programs which use married  couples as role models and mentors in at-risk communities.

 

  • Reduction of Disincentives to Marriage - Programs to reduce the disincentives to marriage in means-tested aid programs, if offered in conjunction with any activity described in this subparagraph.

Across the country, many families face social and economic barriers that make it difficult for them to survive and thrive. Despite declining unemployment, many families are affected by poverty, low educational attainment, financial instability, lack of job readiness, and joblessness.  Further, early trauma and adverse childhood experiences also may impact individuals’ relationships and contribute to family dysfunction.

The Fragile Families and Child Well-being study, a joint venture by Princeton and Columbia Universities, indicates that intact parental relationships show positive outcomes for child well-being. Children from families where both parents are together and have a healthy relationship are less likely to become involved with criminal behavior, drop out of school, or become involved with drugs.  Data from the study has also shown the importance of positive co-parenting relationships for child well-being (Coparenting and Nonresident Fathers' Involvement with Young Children after a Nonmarital Birth, Calson, McLanahan, and Brooks-Gunn, 2008). Several studies have linked supportive and harmonious co-parenting to children’s socioemotional, academic, and self-regulatory outcomes (Family Dynamics, Preschoolers’ Family Representations, and Preschool Peer Relationships, McHale, Johnson, and Sinclair, 1999; New Directions in the Study of Family, McHale, Kuersten, and Lauretti 1996; Coparenting, Family Process, and Family Structure, Schoppe, Mangelsdorf, and Frosch 2001) (McHale, Rao, and Krasnow, 2000; Development of a Parenting Alliance Inventory, Abidin and Brunner, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1995; Coparenting Processes and Child Competence among Rural African-American Families, Brody, Flor, and Neubaum 1998).  Skills to effectively co-parent can be especially important in serving couples who have experienced divorce or have children from previous relationships. 

(See Section IV.2. The Project Description, Approach for more information.)

PROGRAM PURPOSE AND SCOPE

A strong family has many important implications for the health and well-being of both adults and children. Studies have shown that people live longer, have less stress, and are more financially stable in a healthy family environment where both parents are present, share the responsibility of the household, and raise the children (What Do “I Do”s Do?, Acs and Nelson, Urban Institute, 2004). In these households, children are healthier, both mentally and physically, and are better able to have their fundamental needs met. ACF’s HMRE grants are intended to help families achieve these outcomes, while also helping individuals to improve their relationship skills and increase the trajectory toward economic stability and mobility.

Well designed programs funded under this FOA will have the demonstrated ability to incorporate a broad array of community-centered strategies in their implementation of healthy marriage and relationship education activities. Well designed programs will also include strategies that improve healthy marriage and relationship skills and incorporate promising or innovative approaches for individuals and families to achieve economic stability and mobility. Well designed proposals will include performance outcomes, effective program implementation strategies, and mechanisms for continuous quality improvement.

Programmatic Outcomes

ACF has identified key short- and long-term outcomes for HMRE grants and has posted a link to proposed standardized performance measures at www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​.  Well designed programs funded under this FOA will include approaches, as described in their application narrative and logic model, that align with desired outcomes included in this FOA.  The emphasis on specific outcomes is intended to enhance evaluation of the HMRE grants (both local and national) and strengthen program design and effectiveness.  (See Section I. Program Description, Post-Award Performance Measure Data and Evaluation Requirements, Local Evaluations and Federal Evaluation.)  

ACF’s short-term outcomes under this FOA include:

  • improved healthy relationship and marriage skills;
  • improved parenting and co-parenting skills; and
  • progress toward greater economic stability for low-income participants, including increased skill attainment and employment. 

 ACF’s long-term outcomes include:

  • improved family functioning;
  • improved adult and child well-being;
  • increased economic stability and mobility;
  • reduced poverty;
  • successful youth transition to adulthood (where applicable); and
  • reduced recidivism (where applicable). 

Enhanced performance data collection, and local and national evaluations complement the emphasis on achieving short- and long-term programmatic outcomes. ACF has a learning agenda for this HMRE program that focuses on expanding the knowledge base to improve programming, ensure continuous quality improvement, and increase positive outcomes for individuals, couples, families, and children. (See Section I. Post Award Requirements, Performance Measure Data and Evaluation, Local Evaluations and Federal Evaluation later in this section for more information.)  

The following examples are designed to assist applicants in developing short-term outcomes that will be incorporated in their overall program design and logic model. These examples apply to healthy marriage and/or responsible fatherhood, and are not intended as a preferred or exhaustive list. Outcomes can be taken from the pre-post surveys, which may be found at www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​. For example:

  • “increased frequency of talking with a child about things s/he is interested in” would be an example of a parenting short-term outcome (other parenting measures may be found in section A of the pre-post survey);
  • “increased proportion of participants who use a written budget to plan spending” would be an example of an economic stability short-term outcome (other economic stability measures may be found in section B of the pre-post survey); and
  • “increase in the proportion of participants who are satisfied in the way they handle conflict with their partner/spouse” would be an example of a relationship/marriage short-term outcome (other healthy marriage/relationship measures may be found in section C of the pre-post survey).

Flexibility in Implementing Healthy Marriage Activities

The CRA specifies eight distinct activities designed to promote healthy marriage and relationships (see Section I. Program Description, Background).  In the previous program funding, these activities were independent of each other and did not allow the combining of elements to achieve program goals.   For example, only one of the activities, Marriage and Relationship Education/Skills, specifically includes parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement. Prior approaches only permitted these activities when the grantee was delivering them within a program of marriage and relationship education and skills.

In an effort to allow organizations to implement comprehensive approaches that more effectively meet the needs of program participants, ACF is interested in program designs that combine any of the specified eight activities, or the elements listed in them, to achieve ACF programmatic outcomes.  For example, programs may have a primary focus to serve married couples (under Marriage Enhancement) and include in their service provision the element of job and career advancement services and financial management (under Marriage Education and Relationship Skills) and mentoring services (under Marriage Mentoring). (See Section I. Program Description, Statutory Authority previously in this section for the list of authorized activities.) 

Economic Stability and Mobility

In recent years, ACF has emphasized the importance of activities related to economic stability and job and career advancement for healthy HMRE programs, since economic pressures and instability often contribute to relationship and marital dysfunction. ACF will continue this emphasis in this program.  ACF is particularly interested in programs that will enhance the employability skills of low-income participants and help them secure employment, as well as in financial literacy activities to strengthen budgeting skills, financial planning and management, and asset development when offered in conjunction with any other activity(ies).

Programs that have a strong focus on employment, including subsidized and unsubsidized employment, are encouraged to consider approaches that: (1) build from a solid understanding of local economic conditions and growth economic sectors; (2) include connections to education and training opportunities aligned to these sectors; (3) incorporate partnerships with employers in targeted sectors to increase the likelihood of placement and retention in work; and (4) use evidence-based or research-informed programs and practices.

Applicants may propose job and career advancement and subsidized and unsubsidized employment activities directly or in collaboration with program partners. However, job and career advancement or employment activities cannot be provided as stand-alone services, but must be provided in conjunction with marriage and relationship skills, or any of the other eight healthy marriage promotion activities throughout the duration of the individuals' or couples' enrollment in the program. 

(See Section VIII. Other Information, Additional Resources, Employment and Economic Stability Resources for more information and a toolkit on strategies for improving family economic stability and Building Financial Capability for more information and an interactive resource guide on integrating financial capability into programs.)

Other Program Components

Overall Program Design

ACF seeks clear, well designed proposals that provide thorough descriptions of how the approach will be implemented.  Important factors to consider include:

  • reasonable plans for project marketing and outreach;
  • a participant recruitment plan;
  • description of the type of activities and services to be offered;
  • staffing and training plans;
  • partnerships with other organizations;
  • descriptions of curricula, intake and assessment process, frequency and/or intensity of services to be provided, and service delivery format; and
  • case management and program supportive services.

Partnerships and Program Collaboration

Partnerships are an important asset to consider in the design and implementation of a program. Strong partnerships are critical to maximizing the effectiveness of a program through leveraging resources, building community support, and increasing access to eligible target population(s).

It is important that the applicant's assessment of the community needs and target population align with those of partnering organizations.  Effective partnerships can contribute a wide array of knowledge and activities to each program, and should work together to ensure that they use each other's expertise and resources. ACF encourages applicants to consider including partnerships with federal initiatives, local agencies, and other community programs as part of the overall implementation plan and project design. Examples of key strategic partners include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminal justice agencies (including prisons, jails, pre-release centers, courts, probation, parole, etc.);
  • One-Stop Centers, workforce investment boards, and other Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act-funded employment training Programs (e.g., YouthBuild, Job Corps, Community College Career Training);
  • State, local and tribal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) agencies;
  • State, local, and tribal child support agencies;
  • Child welfare agencies and organizations;
  • Domestic violence agencies and state domestic violence coalitions;
  • Legal aid and community action agencies;
  • Local substance abuse and mental health services agencies; and
  • Public health services, including health insurance navigators and enrollment specialists.

Trauma-Informed Care System

Current Healthy Marriage grantees have observed that a number of program participants have experienced early trauma or adverse experiences that may affect their relationships as adults, their skills as parents, and their success in the workforce. Examples of adverse childhood experiences include abuse, neglect, and a range of other dysfunctions within the home, such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up in a home where substance abuse occurs.  ACF is interested in program designs that take into consideration lessons emerging from related fields, including trauma, or indicators of trauma, and how these experiences may influence the lives and behaviors of program participants. Through the incorporation of appropriate community-based trauma-informed support, ACF hopes to increase participant success in HMRE programs and improve interpersonal skills (including parenting), social skills, employment, and economic mobility.

While grantee organizations cannot use funds awarded under this grant to provide behavioral or mental health care or treatment related to trauma or early adverse experiences, ACF is particularly interested in applicants with a demonstrated ability to coordinate and integrate case planning and service delivery with appropriate providers within the community. 

Intake and Enrollment

Programs that employ thorough intake and enrollment processes can more accurately assess participant needs, skills, and interests to help shape service delivery strategy. Programs should use assessments to make decisions about: (a) the best strategies for each participant based on his or her abilities and need; and (b) the participant’s placement in training, education, and employment programs, when applicable. The intake and enrollment process that includes baseline assessments is critical to determining whether a program can meet the needs of participants and their families. 

Program Supportive Services and Case Management

ACF is particularly interested in funding projects that include case management strategies that either provide or link to a broad array of community-centered supportive services.  These components may range from regular participant contact to facilitate program retention, completion, and access to needed support services to more intensive services related to job and career advancement. 

At-risk youth with multiple and current concerns who find it difficult to access needed support services may particularly benefit from case management (School-based Case Management, Smith, National Dropout Prevention Center, 1995).  Therefore, programs providing targeted services to at-risk youth are expected to provide case management and support services. In contrast, programs that provide services to a broader youth population in a traditional high school setting may determine that the provision of supportive services and case management is unnecessary—given the duration of sessions and the limited interaction or access to the students. 

Some support services that address needs of program participants cannot be funded by this grant.  ACF expects that program designs will likely include strategies to provide and manage support services through other funding, or partner with organizations that can provide the services. For example, since providing trauma-informed behavioral health care, mental health treatment (as stated previously), and substance abuse treatment are not allowable uses of funds, grantees are encouraged to partner with public and community-based organizations to provide participants with access to these services. 

POPULATIONS OF INTEREST

While participant eligibility is not limited to these populations, ACF has a particular interest in services targeting the following:

  • Individuals receiving, or who previously received,TANF, and/or individuals that are eligible for TANF assistance;
  • Non-custodial and custodial single parents;
  • Active duty military and veteran individuals and couples;
  • Low-income at-risk individuals, including high school dropouts and youth in or aging out of foster care, youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and runaway and homeless youth;
  • Individuals with disabilities;
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, as appropriate; and
  • Other low-income families and individuals, including refugees and other immigrants. 

Special Interest in Serving At-Risk Youth

Over the past 3 years, ACF program data for Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grantees reveals that nearly one third of the 306,570 program participants are high-school aged youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.  A reported 100,545 youth under 18 have participated in healthy relationship education, budgeting, and value of marriage activities provided by Healthy Marriage grantees from April 2012 – March 2014, with an additional 26,243 participants aged 18 - 24.  These numbers and additional analyses summarized below suggest that there remains significant interest in serving broad youth populations within these programs. 

Youth approaching adulthood face complex life decisions with long lasting consequences. In particular, the choices they make regarding education, employment, and family formation can affect their likelihood of becoming productive, well-functioning, and self-sufficient adults (Labor Market Outcomes and Transition to Adulthood, Danziger and Ratner, Future of Children, 2010). At-risk youth (including youth in and aging out of foster care, runaway and homeless youth populations, and youth involved in the juvenile justice systems) face even greater obstacles in their transition to adulthood, including lack of support for education, housing, health care, and employment. Additionally, these youth face significant challenges in establishing and maintaining positive and healthy relationships—including connections with caring adults. They are at risk of early parenting, intimate partner violence, and sexual exploitation and/or human trafficking. They often lack stable, supportive home environments and caring adults, which serve to support and benefit members of the general population in the same age range. 

To respond to these issues, ACF has an interest in funding organizations that are adept at serving at-risk youth.  The goal is to help youth successfully transition to young adulthood by strengthening their relationship skills and their employability.  Relevant relationship activities include relationship education and skills, healthy marriage education, and parenting education (where applicable). Employment and economic mobility strategies include job readiness, employment training, career pathways, subsidized and unsubsidized employment, and other job and career advancement activities appropriate for or targeted to youth. ACF encourages applicants to provide these services through strong partnership and collaboration efforts. However, applicants with demonstrated experience may themselves provide these services. Emphasis on this population in the HMRE program also reflects the priorities articulated in the President's My Brother's Keeper initiative, which focuses on identifying methods for young people to reach their full potential, including by removing barriers to success and economic mobility for men and boys of color. (See https​://www​.white​house​.gov​/my​-broth​ers​-keepe​r​ for more information.)  

POST-AWARD REQUIREMENTS

Program Access

In providing services to eligible persons, grantees may not discriminate on the basis of the potential participant's race, gender, age, disability, or religion. Grantees cannot, on the basis of race, gender, age, disability, or religion, discriminate in determining eligibility, benefits, or services provided, or applicable rules.

Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment

Addressing domestic violence, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and child maltreatment are important components in HMRE programs.  The 2010 National Survey of Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that more than one in three women (35.6 percent) and more than one in four men (28.5 percent) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  Given these high rates, it is likely that HMRE grantees will serve one or more individuals who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence. 

Working collaboratively with domestic violence experts, HMRE programs can ensure that: (1) all program participants are provided accurate information about domestic violence/dating violence, including where to go for needed support or services; (2) all program participants are provided appropriate and safe opportunities to disclose if they are or have been victims of domestic violence or dating violence; and (3) program staff and volunteers receive adequate training to respond effectively by offering referrals to domestic violence services with confidence whenever domestic violence or dating violence issues arise.  Examples of a comprehensive approach to address domestic violence may include, but are not limited to:

  • Comprehensive training to staff on how domestic violence impacts their program participants and what to do if domestic violence is disclosed by either the perpetrator or the victim, either after initial screening or later in the program;
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a local domestic violence agency that describes the role(s) and responsibilities of each entity (including training, protocol development, and reporting) and identifies the resources that each will be responsible for bringing to the program;
  • Safety planning to prepare for and respond to possible disclosed incidents of domestic violence or dating violence and crisis intervention, and referrals to other community-based domestic violence services;
  • Comprehensive domestic violence screening and assessment as a first step in providing services and interventions. Those grantees that lack the organizational expertise to respond to matters of domestic violence are expected to make referrals to appropriate community agencies;
  • Consistent and effective development and implementation of domestic violence protocols and collaboration with service providers;
  • Cross-agency referrals; using a screening tool during the intake process that focuses on the safety and support of domestic violence victims; incorporating curriculum modules that focus on healthy relationships and identifying domestic violence; and
  • Providing regular staff training on domestic violence; developing training on reporting of child abuse; integrating a domestic violence staff provider on site; or providing cross-agency training that would include providing domestic violence program staff with training on HMRE programs.

Grantees are required to consult with experts in domestic violence or relevant community domestic violence coalitions in developing the programs and activities. Grantees are also expected to consult with expert or relevant organizations on the prevention, detection and appropriate response to child maltreatment, including developing familiarity with their state's reporting requirements for child abuse and neglect.

Geographic Location

Grantees must directly or through their affiliates or project partners have a physical presence in a community, city, or county where services are provided. For purposes of this FOA, ACF defines physical presence as a demonstrated ability to provide direct monitoring and oversight of the service provision, staff and facilitator training, and programmatic, legal and regulatory compliance in the geographic area or areas an applicant proposes to serve. 

Voluntary Participation

Grantees are required to ensure that participation in the program is voluntary and that they will inform potential participants that their involvement is voluntary.

Entrance Conference, Biennial Peer Meeting, and Roundtables

Grantees are expected to attend the entrance conference and biennial peer meetings in Washington, DC. The entrance conference will be held approximately 90 days from the date of grant award. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR), Project Director, fiscal officer, the program’s local evaluator (described under Performance Measure Data and Evaluation, Local Evaluations later in this section), and the person responsible for inputting data must attend this conference.

Biennial training and technical assistance meetings will occur in the 2nd and 4th years of the project period.  The Project Director and up to two additional key staff (e.g., facilitators, case managers, or local evaluator) must attend the biennial meetings.

During the 3rd and 5th years, OFA expects to host regional roundtables to provide peer-focused technical assistance and training. The Project Director and up to two additional key staff must attend the regional roundtables.

Planning Period

Grantees will be given up to 9 months for intensive and comprehensive planning. Planning activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Finalizing MOUs, interagency, and/or third-party agreements;
  • Undertaking procurement activities;
  • Hiring and training staff;
  • Obtaining security clearances for program staff to work within correctional facilities (where applicable);
  • Training staff and setting up operations for collection of performance measure data; and
  • Refining local evaluation plans and obtaining Institutional Review Board approval (to be conducted in coordination with a local evaluator).

POST-AWARD PERFORMANCE MEASURE DATA AND EVALUATION REQUIREMENTS

ACF is engaged in a learning agenda to increase understanding of what works and why in HMRE programs. The learning agenda activities will also provide valuable information to grantees on performance and outcomes that will facilitate continuous quality improvement. Activities include performance measure collection/reporting and local evaluation. They also include federal evaluation, which will involve a subset of (not all) grantees.

Performance Measure Data

Grantees are required to collect, store, and report data on standardized performance measures in four areas:

(a) Program applicant characteristics (i.e., clients that apply to the program)

(b) Program operations

(c) Enrollment and participation (service delivery)

(d) Participant outcome measures (i.e. attitudes, beliefs, and actions), both at beginning of the program (pre-test) and at program exit (post-test).

Standardized measures and reporting across grantees will enable ACF to track programming outputs and outcomes across programs to inform current and future program design, operation, and oversight. Cross-site analyses will further describe programming and outcomes across the grant program.To view measures, please visit www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​.

 

Grantees will need to obtain and maintain data in the MIS developed by ACF to comply with the requirement of performance measure data collection, nFORM. nFORM will be capable of managing data for all performance measures required for this grant program and is available free of charge to grantees. Grantees will be required to ask participants to complete pre- and post-tests via an audio-computer assisted self-interview, or ACASI enabled online survey on a computer or a specified tablet, which will link to the nFORM system (a paper and pencil version of pre- and post-tests will be available in the rare case of technology failure, e.g., absence of sufficient connectivity or power outage).

Through its contractors, ACF will provide technical assistance to grantees on using nFORM. nFORM will facilitate analysis for internal review of progress and for required federal reporting. Further information on nFORM may be found at www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​.

Note: Consistent with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3521, under this FOA, OFA will not conduct or sponsor - and a person is not required to respond to - a collection of information covered by such Act, unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. OFA is seeking approval of its performance measures and the “Information, Family Outcome, Reporting, and Management system,” or, simply, “nFORM" Management Information System through the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). OFA will not request this information if these performance measures and the nFORM Management Information System (MIS) are not approved at the time that reports are due.

Local Evaluations

As another component of the learning agenda, grantees are expected to conduct grantee-specific evaluations, called “local evaluations” to answer one or more grantee-specific research questions.  The purpose of these evaluations is to learn from programs in order to improve future programming.  ACF is interested in supporting good quality, well designed evaluations from which programs will learn and expand the evidence base, as well as help ACF learn more about what does and does not work.

Grantees are expected to conduct either a descriptive or impact local evaluation as follows.

  • Grantees funded from $350,000 to $699,999 per year are expected to conduct a descriptive local evaluation.
  • Grantees funded from $700,000 to $999,999 per year are expected to conduct either a descriptive or impact local evaluation;
  • Grantees funded from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 per year are expected to conduct an impact local evaluation.

The proposed research questions must relate to their specific programming approach and that will expand the evidence base. The following are examples of priority topic areas for research investigation: 

  • Recruitment and Program Participation - whether certain kinds of recruitment activities are linked to better participation (more engagement in the program’s services);
  • Programming  - whether certain program components or program structures, variations in the intensity and duration of programming, or modifications to increase cultural competency are linked to better outcomes for participants;
  • Program Supports - whether transportation, child care during classes or sessions, or employment-related clothing or tools (in addition to core services), are linked to better outcomes for participants; and
  • Overall program outcomes.

For the topic areas listed here, descriptive studies would not have a control/comparison group; impact studies would have a control/comparison group. For example, a program offering three types of services could look for associations between participants’ use of those services and outcomes: this would be a descriptive study. On the other hand, the program could randomly assign participants to be eligible to use one, two, or all three services, and then analyze whether the groups had different outcomes: this would be an impact study.

Local evaluations must be designed to help inform future programming and expand the evidence base. Analyses of data must clearly support final reported results, and descriptions of the results must clearly communicate the implications of the study to others in the field.

Local evaluations must be conducted by an independent evaluator, referred to as the “local evaluator.” Local evaluators may be universities, research organizations, evaluation consultants, or other institutions with experience in conducting rigorous evaluations. An impact evaluation must have a comparison group who does not receive the services of interest and all impact evaluations must include a component to document the program being evaluated (sometimes called an “implementation study” or a “process study”). Applicants proposing control or comparison group research designs are strongly encouraged to consider the standards of the Stren​gthen​ing​ Famil​iesEv​idenc​eRevi​ew​, specifically the study​ratin​gcrit​eria​ for high and moderate ratings.

The first 9 months of the grant can be used as a planning period, including the refinement of a research plan. Grantees and their local evaluators are required to work with ACF to refine, improve, develop or select assessments, pilot (if possible), and make necessary changes to the evaluation design/methods. A final evaluation design and budget will be drafted and submitted. ACF approval will be required prior to implementation of a proposed evaluation plan. A federal contractor may review the evaluation funding for each of the evaluation activities and recommend an adjustment to the proposed level of funding.  Where necessary, ACF may adjust the level of local evaluation funding post award. In the event that a local evaluation is not approved, budget and staff that would have supported the local evaluation will instead be directed toward rigorous performance measure data collection, storage, and monitoring and reporting.

At the end of evaluations, grantees will be required to submit (a) final reports; and (b) de-identified datasets according to standards that ACF will distribute.

During the planning period or afterwards, grantees will be required to obtain a Federal-wide Assurance (for more information, see http​: // www​ .hhs​. gov​/ ohrp​/ assur​ances​/ assur​ances​ /filas​ ​;urt​. html​) and submit their research projects to an IRB. Given this grant program's requirement for collecting and reporting data on performance measures and for local evaluation, it is highly likely that most grantees will either need IRB approval for collecting performance measures and evaluation data or a waiver from an IRB stating that such approval is not needed.  Often local programs use the IRBs of their local evaluators, partner universities, or evaluation organizations to provide oversight. IRBs provide guidance regarding participant privacy and rights. General information about the HHS Protection of Human Subjects regulations can be obtained at http​://www​.hhs​.gov​/ohrp​/. Applicants also may contact the Office for Human Research Protections by email at ohrp​@csoph​s​.dhhs​.gov​, or by phone at (240) 453-6900.

After local evaluation research plans have been approved, grantees are expected to implement robust evaluations lasting throughout the grant period, including data collection instrument development (and possibly pre-testing), data collection, analysis, drafting of reports, and multiple dissemination efforts to inform many audiences.

Resources and Consultation 

In implementing performance measure data and local evaluation plans, grantees are strongly encouraged to attend webinars (or review archived webinars stored on www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​) that will be offered during the grant period, and to consult and coordinate with the proposed local evaluator, partner agencies, and community partners.

Technical assistance on aspects of performance measure data and evaluation will be provided to grantees by ACF contractors.

Federal Evaluation 

In addition to local evaluations, the federal government is sponsoring federally-led evaluations. The federal evaluations will be conducted by independent contractors with experience mounting small- and large-scale demonstrations and/or descriptive and impact evaluations. As a condition of acceptance of an award under this FOA, all grantees that are asked are required to participate fully in ACF-sponsored evaluations and adhere to all evaluation protocols established by ACF to be carried out by its designee contractors. In the event that a grantee is selected for a federally led evaluation, the federal government may incorporate the local evaluation into the federally led evaluation, or it may waive the local evaluation requirement. In all cases, grantees will still be required to collect performance measures. 

The federal evaluations may provide additional funds to grantees to support programming and study participation – for example, to support enhancements to services – as well as technical assistance. Funds may be provided per a separate MOU between the grantee organization and the federal contractor.

(Please see Section IV.2. The Project Description for the application requirements related to this FOA.)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ACF expects to host a webinar series on information contained in this FOA.  See Section VIII. Other Information, for more information on the proposed webinars.

Applicants may review additional resources listed in Section VIII. Other Information, Reference Websites, Additional Resources.

II. Federal Award Information
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Estimated Total Funding: $53,846,875
Expected Number of Awards: 53
Award Ceiling: $2,000,000 Per Budget Period
Award Floor: $350,000 Per Budget Period
Average Projected Award Amount: $1,015,987 Per Budget Period
Anticipated Project Start Date: 09/30/2015

Length of Project Periods:

60-month project with five 12-month budget periods

Additional Information on Awards:

Awards made under this announcement are subject to the availability of federal funds.

Applications requesting an award amount that exceeds the Award Ceiling per budget period or per project period, as stated in this section, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. This disqualification applies only to the Award Ceiling listed for the first 12-month budget period for projects with multiple budget periods. If the project and budget period are the same, the disqualification applies to the Award Ceiling listed for the project period. Please see Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

Note: For those programs that require matching or cost sharing, grantees will be held accountable for projected commitments of non-federal resources in their application budgets and budget justifications by budget period or by project period for fully funded awards, even if the projected commitment exceeds the required amount of match or cost share. A grantee's failure to provide the required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds. See Section III.2. of this announcement for information on cost-sharing or matching requirements.

Non-competitive Continuation

Non-competitive continuation grants will be offered for each of years 2 through 5 of the project period. Funding levels for years 2 through 5 will not exceed the amount 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. 

Local Evaluation Costs

  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $350,000 and $699,999 are expected to allocate at least $35,000 per year for a descriptive local evaluation, but no more than 10 percent of the total budget.
  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $700,000 and $999,999 are expected to allocate at least $100,000 per year for a descriptive or impact local evaluation, but no more than 15 percent of the total budget for either evaluation.
  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 are expected to propose an impact evaluation and allocate at least 10 percent, but no more than 15 percent of their total annual funding for local evaluation per year, or at least 15 percent, but no more than 20 percent per year, if proposing a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) impact evaluation.

Award Floor Disqualification

Applications with funding requests that fall below the Award Floor on the amount of the individual awards will be deemed non-responsive and will not be considered for competitive review or funding under this announcement. (See also Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.)

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

III. Eligibility Information
III.1. Eligible Applicants

All public and private entities are eligible to apply under this FOA (including, but not limited to, state, territorial, local, and quasi-governmental agencies, Native American tribal governments and tribal organizations, nonprofit organizations, independent school districts, public, private or Tribal institutions of higher education, and for-profit entities).

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. See Section III.3. Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement. Faith-based organizations are encouraged to review the ACF Policy on Grants to Faith-Based Organizations at: http: //www.acf.hhs.gov/acf-policy-on-grants-to-faith-based-organizations.
See "Legal Status of Applicant Entity" in Section IV.2 for documentation required to support eligibility.
 
III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost Sharing / Matching Requirement: No
 
III.3. Other

DUNS Number and System for Award Management Eligibility Requirements (SAM.gov)

All applicants must have a DUNS Number (http:// fedgov. dnb.com /webform) and an active registration with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) on the System for Award Management (SAM.gov, www.sam.gov).

Obtaining a DUNS Number may take 1 to 2 days.

All applicants are required to maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete. If a grant is awarded, registration at SAM.gov must be active throughout the life of the award.

Plan ahead. Allow up to 10 business days after you submit your registration for it to become active in SAM and an additional 24 hours before that registration information is available in other government systems, i.e. Grants.gov.

This action should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your application through Grants.gov or prevent the award of a grant. Applicants should maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register for, or renew a registration, at SAM. User Guides are available under the “Help” tab at https://www.sam.gov.

HHS requires all entities that plan to apply for, and ultimately receive, federal grant funds from any HHS Agency, or receive subawards directly from recipients of those grant funds to:   

  • Be registered in the SAM prior to submitting an application or plan;
  • Maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active award or an application or plan under consideration by an OPDIV; and
  • Provide its active DUNS number in each application or plan it submits to the OPDIV.

ACF is prohibited from making an award until an applicant has complied with these requirements.  At the time an award is ready to be made, if the intended recipient has not complied with these requirements, ACF:

  • May determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award; and
  • May use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

Application Disqualification Factors


Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Award Ceiling Disqualification

Applications that request an award amount that exceeds the Award Ceiling per budget period or per project period as stated in Section II. Award Information, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. This disqualification applies only to the Award Ceiling listed for first 12-month budget period for projects with multiple budget periods. If the project and budget period are the same, the disqualification applies to the Award Ceiling listed for the project period.

Required Electronic Application Submission

ACF requires electronic submission of applications at www.Grants.gov. Paper applications received from applicants that have not been approved for an exemption from required electronic submission will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Applicants that do not have an Internet connection or sufficient computing capacity to upload large documents to the Internet may contact ACF for an exemption that will allow the applicant to submit applications in paper format. Information and the requirements for requesting an exemption from required electronic application submission are found in "Request an Exemption from Electronic Application Submission" in Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission.

Application Deadlines

The deadline for electronic application submission is 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. Electronic applications submitted to www.Grants.gov after 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, as indicated by a dated and time-stamped email from www.Grants.gov, will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. That is, applications submitted to www.Grants.gov, on or after 12:00 a.m., ET, on the day after the due date will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Applications submitted to www.Grants.gov at any time during the open application period, and prior to the due date and time, which fail the www.Grants.gov validation check, will not be received at, or acknowledged by, ACF.

Each time an application is submitted via www.Grants.gov, the submission will generate a new date and time-stamp email notification. Only those applications with on-time date and time stamps that result in a validated application, which is transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged.

The deadline for receipt of paper applications is 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.
Paper applications received after 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement. Paper applications received from applicants that have not received approval of an exemption from required electronic submission will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Limit on the Number of Application Submissions

An applicant organization may submit only one application in response to this announcement. ACF will accept only the last, on-time application submitted for the competitive review.

Award Floor Disqualification

Applications with funding requests that fall below the Award Floor on the amount of the individual awards, as stated in Section II. Federal Award Information, will be deemed non-responsive and will not be considered for competitive review or funding under this announcement.

Notification of Application Disqualification

Applications that are disqualified under these criteria are considered to be “non-responsive” and are excluded from the competitive review process. Applicants will be notified of a disqualification determination by email or by USPS postal mail within 30 federal business days from the closing date of this funding opportunity announcement.

IV. Application and Submission Information

IV.1. Address to Request Application Package

Grants Operations Center ATTN: HHS-2015-ACF-OFA-FM-0985
1401 Merchantile Lane
Suite 401
Largo, MD 20774
Phone: (888) 242-0684
Email: OFATech@reviewops.org


Electronic Application Submission:
The electronic application submission package is available in the FOA's listing at www.Grants.gov.

Applications in Paper Format:
For applicants that have received an exemption to submit applications in paper format, Standard Forms, assurances, and certifications are available in the Application Package available in the FOA's Grants.gov synopsis at www.Grants.gov. They are also available at http:// www.grants.gov/web/ grants/forms/sf-424- family.html. See Section IV.2.Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission if applicants do not have an Internet connection or sufficient computing capacity to upload large documents (files) to www.Grants.gov.

Standard Forms that are compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794d):
Available at the Grants.gov Forms Repository website at http:// www.grants.gov/web/ grants/forms/sf-424- family.html.

Federal Relay Service:
Hearing-impaired and speech-impaired callers may contact the Federal Relay Service for assistance at 1-800-877-8339 (TTY - Text Telephone or ASCII - American Standard Code For Information Interchange).

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

FORMATTING ACF APPLICATIONS

In FY 2013 ACF implemented a new application upload requirement. Each applicant applying electronically via www.grants.gov is required to upload only two electronic files, excluding Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms. No more than two files will be accepted for the review, and additional files will be removed. Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms will not be considered additional files.  

FOR ALL APPLICATIONS:

Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR)

AOR is the designated representative of the applicant/recipient organization with authority to act on the organization’s behalf in matters related to the award and administration of grants. In signing a grant application, this individual agrees that the organization will assume the obligations imposed by applicable Federal statutes and regulations and other terms and conditions of the award, including any assurances, if a grant is awarded.

AOR authorization is part of the registration process at www.Grants.gov. where the AOR will create a short profile and obtain a username and password from the Grants.gov Credential Provider. AORs will only be authorized for the DUNS number registered in the System for Awards Management (SAM).

Point of Contact

In addition to the AOR, a point of contact on matters involving the application must also be identified.  The point of contact, known as the Project Director or Principal Investigator, should not be identical to the person identified as the AOR.  The point of contact must be available to answer any questions pertaining to the application.

Application Checklist

Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials.

Details concerning acknowledgment of received applications are available in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times of this announcement.

Accepted Font Style

Applications must be in Times New Roman (TNR), 12-point font, except for footnotes, which may be TNR 10-point font.

Page Limitations

Applicants must observe the page limitation(s) listed under "PAGE LIMITATIONS AND CONTENT FOR ALL SUBMISSION FORMATS:".  Page limitation(s) do not include SFs and OMB-approved forms.

All applications must be double-spaced.  An application that exceeds the cited page limitation for double-spaced pages in the Project Description file or the Appendices file will have the last extra pages removed and the removed pages will not be reviewed.

Application Elements Exempted from Double-Spacing Requirements

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.

Adherence to FOA Formatting, Font, and Page Limitation Requirements

Applications that fail to adhere to ACF’s 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.   

In instances where formatting and font requirements are not adhered to, ACF uses a formula to determine the actual number of pages to be removed. The formula counts the number of characters an applicant uses when following the instructions and using 12-point TNR and compares the resulting number with that of the submitted application. For example, an applicant using TNR, 11-point font, with 1-inch margins all around, and single-spacing, would have an additional 26 lines, or 1500 characters, which is equal to 4/5 of an additional page. Extra pages resulting from this formula will be removed and will not be reviewed.

Applications that have more than one scanned page of a document on a single page will have the page(s) removed from the review. 

For applicants that submit paper applications, double-sided pages will be counted as two pages. When the maximum allowed number of pages is reached, excess pages will be removed and will not be made available to reviewers.

NOTE: Applicants failing to adhere to ACF’s FOA formatting, font, and page limitation requirements will receive a letter from ACF notifying them that their application was amended. The letter will be sent after awards have been issued and will specify the reason(s) for removal of page(s). 

Copies Required

Applicants must submit one complete copy of the application package electronically. Applicants submitting electronic applications need not provide additional copies of their application package.

Applicants submitting applications in paper format must submit one original and two copies of the complete application, including all Standard Forms and OMB-approved forms. The original copy must have original signatures.

Signatures

Applicants submitting electronic applications must follow the registration and application submission instructions provided at www.Grants.gov.

The original of a paper format application must include original signatures of the authorized representatives.

Accepted Application Format

With the exception of the required Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved forms, all application materials must be formatted so that they are 8 ½" x 11" white paper with 1-inch margins all around. 

If possible, applicants are encouraged to include page numbers for each page within the application.

ACF generally does not encourage submission of scanned documents as they tend to have reduced clarity and readability.  If documents must be scanned, the font size on any scanned documents must be large enough so that it is readable. Documents must be scanned page-for-page, meaning that applicants may not scan more than one page of a document onto a single page.

PAGE LIMITATIONS AND CONTENT FOR ALL SUBMISSION FORMATS:

In accordance with the two-file requirement for this FOA, applications must be submitted in two files and must not exceed a combined total of 100 pages. 

The first file must be titled Project Description and must include the following items: 

  • Table of Contents
  • One page Project Summary/Abstract
  • Project Description
  • Objective and Need for Assistance
  • Outcomes Expected
  • Approach
  • Project Timetable and Milestones
  • Legal Status of the Applicant Entity
  • Logic Model
  • Organizational Capacity
  • Plan for Oversight of Federal Award of Funds
  • Geographic Location
  • Line-item budget and budget justification, including line-items and justification for performance measure data and local evaluation 

The second file must be titled Appendices and must include the following items:

  • Program Performance Evaluation Plan
  • Funded Activities Plan
  • Project Sustainability Plan
  • Written certifications and assurances statements for Use of Funds, Data and Local Evaluation, Federal Evaluation, Non-Supplanting, and Voluntary Participation
  • Third-Party Agreements and/or MOUs
  • Resumes (of key staff, including curriculum vitae for local evaluator, and organizational charts)
  • Signed Letter of Agreement with a local evaluator
  • Indirect Cost Rate Letter (if applicable) 
  • Job Descriptions (if key staff not yet hired)

ELECTRONIC APPLICATION SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically unless they have requested and received an exemption that will allow submission in paper format. See Section IV.2. Application Submission Options for information about requesting an exemption.

Electronic applications will only be accepted via www.Grants.gov. ACF will not accept applications submitted via email or via facsimile.

Each applicant is required to upload ONLY two electronic files, excluding SFs and OMB-approved forms. 

File One: Must contain the entire Project Description, and the Budget and Budget Justification (including a line-item budget and a budget narrative).

File Two: Must contain all documents required in the Appendices.

Adherence to the Two-File Requirement

No more than two files will be accepted for the review.  Applications with additional files will be amended and files will be removed from the review.  SFs and OMB-approved forms will not be considered additional files.   Please do not attach additional documents to the SF-424 at Question 14 and/or after Question 15. Instead of providing a separate response to Question 14, all applicants are required to submit the SF for Project/Performance Site Location(s) (SF-P/PSL).  In the SF-P/PSL, applicants may cite their primary location and up to 29 additional performance sites. Documents submitted as attachments to the SF-424 will be removed from the application and will not be reviewed.

Application Upload Requirements

ACF strongly recommends that electronic applications be uploaded as Portable Document Files (PDFs). One file must contain the entire Project Description and Budget Justification; the other file must contain all documents required in the Appendices. Details on the content of each of the two files, as well as page limitations, are listed later in this section.

To adhere to the two-file requirement, applicants may need to convert and/or merge documents together using a PDF converter software. Many recent versions of Microsoft Office include the ability to save documents to the PDF format without need of additional software. Applicants using the Adobe Professional software suite will be able to merge these documents together.  ACF recommends merging documents electronically rather than scanning multiple documents into one document manually, as scanned documents may have reduced clarity and readability.   

However, ACF understands that all applicants may not have access to this software. Grants.gov offers a listing of several free PDF conversion programs. These programs can be found on Grants.gov by clicking on "Support" at the top menu bar and selecting “Technical Support" . Under the "Technical Support" section select “Recommended Software.” A link to "PDF Conversion Software" is available in the left-hand menu box. Free PDF software, available on this page, will allow users to convert and merge their PDF documents. As an example, ACF is providing written instructions for downloading and using one type of free software listed at Grants.gov at https: // www.acf.hhs.gov /  grants /howto #chapter-7 under "How to Apply for a Grant/Submit an Application." [ACF does not endorse any of the software listed on Grants.gov, and applicants are not required to use a specific type of PDF conversion software to submit an application.]

For any systems issues experienced with Grants.gov or with SAM.gov, please refer to ACF’s “Policy for Applicants Experiencing Federal Systems Issues” document for complete guidance at https: // www.acf.hhs.gov / sites / default / files / assets / systems_ issue_ policy_ final.pdf under "How to Apply for a Grant/Submit an Application."

Required Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved Forms

Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved forms, such as the SF-424 application and budget forms and the SF-P/PSL (Project/Performance Site Location), are uploaded separately at Grants.gov. These forms are submitted separately from the Project Description and Appendices files. See Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications for the listing of required Standard Forms, OMB-approved forms, and required assurances and certifications.

Naming Application Submission Files

Carefully observe the file naming conventions required by www.Grants.gov. Limit file names to 50 characters (characters and spaces). Special characters that are allowed under Grants.gov’s naming conventions, and are accommodated by ACF’s systems, are listed in the instructions available in the Download Application Package at Grants.gov. Please also see http: //www.grants.gov. / web / grants / support / technical - support / troubleshooting / restricting -special -characters.html

Use only file formats supported by ACF It is critical that applicants submit applications using only the supported file formats listed here. While ACF supports all of the following file formats, we strongly recommend that the two application submission files (Project Description and Appendices) are uploaded as PDF documents in order to comply with the two file upload limitation. Documents in file formats that are not supported by ACF will be removed from the application and will not be used in the competitive review. This may make the application incomplete and ACF will not make any awards based on an incomplete application.
ACF supports the following file formats:

  • Adobe PDF – Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls or .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt)
  • Corel WordPerfect (.wpd)
  • Image Formats (.JPG, .GIF, .TIFF, or .BMP only)

Do Not Encrypt or Password-Protect the Electronic Application Files

If ACF cannot access submitted electronic files because they are encrypted or password protected, the affected file will be removed from the application and will not be reviewed. This removal may make the application incomplete and ACF will not make awards based on an incomplete application.

FORMATTING FOR PAPER APPLICATION SUBMISSIONS:

The following requirements are only applicable to applications submitted in paper format. Applicants must receive an exemption from ACF in order for a paper format application to be accepted for review.See Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission later in this section under Application Submission Options for more information.

Format Requirements for Paper Applications

All copies of mailed or hand-delivered paper applications must be submitted in a single package. If an applicant is submitting multiple applications under a single FOA, or multiple applications under separate FOAs, each application submission must be packaged separately. The package(s) must be clearly labeled for the specific FOA it addresses by FOA title and by Funding Opportunity Number (FON).

Because each application will be duplicated, do not use or include separate covers, binders, clips, tabs, plastic inserts, maps, brochures, or any other items that cannot be processed easily on a photocopy machine with an automatic feed. Do not bind, clip, staple, or fasten in any way separate sections of the application. Applicants are advised that the copies of the application submitted, not the original, will be reproduced by the federal government for review. All application materials must be one-sided for duplication purposes.

Addresses for Submission of Paper Applications

See Section IV.6. Other Submission Requirements for addresses for paper format application submissions.

Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications

Applicants seeking grant or cooperative agreement awards under this announcement must submit the listed Standard Forms (SFs), assurances, and certifications with the application. All required Standard Forms, assurances, and certifications are available in the Application Package posted for this funding opportunity at www.grants.gov.

Other versions of required Standard Forms, assurances,and certifications are available at Grants.gov http: // www.grants.gov / web / grants / forms / sf-424- family.html.

 
Forms / Assurances / Certifications Submission Requirement Notes / Description

SF-Project/Performance Site Location(s) (SF-P/PSL)

Submission is required for all applicants by the application due date.

Required for all applications. In the SF-P/PSL, applicants may cite their primary location and up to 29 additional performance sites. As a Standard Form (SF), this form is not included in the application's page limitation.

Certification Regarding Lobbying
(Grants.gov Lobbying Form)

Submission required of all applicants with the application package.  If it is not submitted with the application package, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Submission of the certification is required for all applicants.

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

If submission of this form is applicable, it is due at the time of application.  If it is not available at the time of application, it may also be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

If any funds have been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a member of Congress in connection with this commitment providing for the United States to insure or guarantee a loan, the applicant shall complete and submit the SF-LLL, "Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying," in accordance with its instructions.

Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification / IRB Certification / Declaration of Exemption (Common Rule)

Submission of the required information and forms is due with the application package by the due date listed in the Overview and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. If the information is not available at the time of application, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Form is available at http​:// www​.hhs​.gov​/ ohrp​/ assur​ances​/ forms​/index​.html​.

General information about the HHS Protection of Human Subjects regulations can be obtained at http​://www​. hhs​.gov​/ ohrp​/ . Applicants may also contact OHRP by email (ohrp​@csoph​s​ .dhhs​.gov​) or by phone (240-453-6900).

DUNS Number (Universal Identifier) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration.

A DUNS number is required of all applicants.

To obtain a DUNS number, go to 
http​://fedgo​v​.dnb​.com​/ webfo​rm​

Active registration at the Systems Award Management (SAM) website must be maintained throughout the application and project award period.

SAM registration is available at 
http​://www​.sam​.gov​.

A DUNS number and SAM registration are eligibility requirements for all applicants.

See Section III.3. Other for information on obtaining DUNS number at

http​://fedgo​v​.dnb​.com​/ webfo​rm​ and registration at SAM.gov at http​://www​.sam​.gov​.

SF-424A - Budget Information - Non- Construction Programs

and

SF-424B - Assurances - Non- Construction Programs

Submission is required for all applicants when applying for a non-construction project. Standard Forms must be used. Forms must be submitted by the application due date.

Required for all applications when applying for a non-construction project. By signing and submitting the SF-424B, applicants are making the appropriate certification of their compliance with all federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination.

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

Submission is required for all applicants by the application due date.

Required for all applications.



The following documentation must be submitted by the application due date.

Use of Funds

Funds awarded under this FOA may be used only for costs associated with the three authorized Healthy Marriage activities listed in Section I. Program Description, Background. Funds may also be used to support administrative costs associated with the listed authorized activities.

Applicants must include a written statement that specifically includes:

  • A commitment not to use funds for any purposes other than the activities specified in the authorizing legislation and this FOA;
  • A commitment not to use funds for any unallowable activity. Applicants must consider in their use of funds if a cost is allowable, reasonable, allocable, and necessary;
  • A commitment not to use funds for unallowable activities, including, but not limited to, an Abstinence Education program;
  • A commitment not to include fee-for-service for activities under this FOA; and
  • A commitment not to use grant funds to subsidize housing or provide housing vouchers or rental assistance.

Data and Local Evaluation

Applicants must include a written statement that specifically includes:

  • A commitment to document, store, and report on performance using the full set of uniform measures to be provided by ACF; and
  • A commitment to conduct a local evaluation.

Federal Evaluation

Applicants must include a clear, written statement that specifically includes:

  • A commitment to accept and fully participate in all aspects of the federal evaluation if selected, and adhere to all evaluation protocols established by ACF and conducted by its designee contractors;
  • A confirmation of the applicant’s understanding that:
    • the federal government may incorporate the local evaluation into the federally led evaluation;
    • the federal government may waive the local evaluation requirement; or
    • the local evaluation may continue in parallel to the federal evaluations; and
  • A commitment to ensure that partnering organizations comply with the federal evaluation award condition.

Note: Applicants may include a written statement indicating that they have a particular interest in participating in or being selected for the federal evaluation (a local evaluation plan is still required of these applicants), and may briefly mention specific program enhancements that they would be interested in adding to their program to be included the federal evaluation.

Non-Supplanting

Applicants who are current recipients of federal, state, or local financial assistance are required to submit a written assurance or certification that they will not supplant other federal, state, or local funds which otherwise have been made available and that describes how they will ensure that any award of federal funds under this program will not supplant other federal, state, or local funds.

Voluntary Participation

Applicants must include a written assurance or certification that they will ensure that participation in programs is voluntary and that describes how they will inform potential participants that their involvement is voluntary.

Non-Federal Reviewers

Since ACF will be using non-federal reviewers in the review process, applicants have the option of omitting from the application copies (not the original) specific salary rates or amounts for individuals specified in the application budget as well as Social Security Numbers, if otherwise required for individuals. The copies may include summary salary information.If applicants are submitting their application electronically, ACF will omit the same specific salary rate information from copies made for use during the review and selection process.
IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission (contd.)

The Project Description

Part I: The Project Description Overview

Purpose

The project description provides the majority of information by which an application is evaluated and ranked in competition with other applications for available assistance.  It should address the activity for which federal funds are being requested, and should be consistent with the goals and objectives of the program as described in Section I. Program Description.  Supporting documents should be included where they can present information clearly and succinctly.  When appropriate, applicants should cite the evaluation criteria that are relevant to specific components of their project description.   Awarding offices use this and other information in making their funding recommendations.  It is important, therefore, that this information be included in the application in a manner that is clear and complete.

General Expectations and Instructions

Applicants should develop project descriptions that focus on outcomes and convey strategies for achieving intended performance. Project descriptions are evaluated on the basis of substance and measurable outcomes, not length. Extensive exhibits are not required. Cross-referencing should be used rather than repetition. Supporting information concerning activities that will not be directly funded by the grant or information that does not directly pertain to an integral part of the grant-funded activity should be placed in an appendix.

Part II: General Instructions for Preparing a Full Project Description

Introduction

Applicants must prepare the project description statement in accordance with the following instructions while being aware of the specified evaluation criteria in Section V.1. Criteria.  The text options give a broad overview of what the project description should include while the evaluation criteria identify the measures that will be used to evaluate applications.

Table of Contents

List the contents of the application including corresponding page numbers. The table of contents must be single spaced and will be counted against the total page limitations.

Project Summary/Abstract

Provide a summary of the application’s project description. The summary must be clear, accurate, concise, and without reference to other parts of the application. The abstract must include a brief description of the proposed grant project including the needs to be addressed, the proposed services, and the population group(s) to be served. 

 Please place the following at the top of the abstract: 

  • Project Title
  • Applicant Name
  • Address
  • Contact Phone Numbers (Voice, Fax)
  • E-Mail Address
  • Web Site Address, if applicable 

The project abstract must be single-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font, and limited to one page in length. Additional pages will be removed and will not be reviewed.

Objectives And Need For Assistance

Clearly identify the physical, economic, social, financial, institutional, and/or other problem(s) requiring a solution.  The need for assistance including the nature and scope of the problem must be demonstrated, and the principal and subordinate objectives of the project must be clearly and concisely stated; supporting documentation, such as letters of support and testimonials from concerned interests other than the applicant, may be included.  Any relevant data based on planning studies should be included or referred to in the endnotes/footnotes.  Incorporate demographic data and participant/beneficiary information, as well as data describing the needs of the target population and the proposed service area as needed. When appropriate, a literature review should be used to support the objectives and needs described in this section.

Outcomes Expected

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

Additionally, applicants must include program designs whose proposed strategies and approaches clearly align with the desired programmatic short- and long-term outcomes identified in this FOA (See Section I. Program Purpose and Scope, Programmatic Outcomes).  Program designs must also link to the performance measures related to those outcomes. Applicants must develop outcomes based upon the program design and components they propose and include a description in their narrative.  The applicant must also specify expected short- and long-term outcomes in their logic model.

Approach

Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed project will be accomplished.  Applicants must account for all functions or activities identified in the application. Describe any design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and/or community involvement in the project. Provide a list of organizations, cooperating entities, consultants, or other key individuals that will work on the project, along with a short description of the nature of their effort or contribution.

Cite potential obstacles and challenges to accomplishing project goals and explain strategies that will be used to address these challenges.

Applicants must design an approach and implementation strategy for the full 5-year project period, assuming continued appropriation of funding. 

Applicants must demonstrate that program services are tailored for the specific population and offer strong linkages to related support services within the targeted community.

Applicants must describe the extent to which the proposed approaches (for each program component they select) are based on some evidence of effectiveness. Applicants' descriptions must include but not be limited to discussions of the following elements and how they will be integrated into service provision (including parent-child interactions, quality of the relationship between parents, employment success) for the population they choose to serve. 

Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education

Applicants must clearly identify which program elements or activities they choose to implement.  Specifically, applicants must describe the extent to which selected elements or activities align with their overall program design and ACF’s short- and long-term programmatic outcomes identified in this FOA.  In selecting activities or elements of activities, applicants must select from the eight specified activities listed in the full statutory description located in Section I. Program Description, Background.  In describing the selected activities and elements to be implemented, applicants must adhere to the following constructs:

  • Public Advertising Campaign - Applicants that select public advertising campaign must demonstrate that the advertising has a clear connection to program outreach (recruitment, retention) and the provision of comprehensive, direct services. The description must specify that the public advertising is not general in nature (e.g., the promotion of healthy marriage and relationship skills, without any connection to a program that is actually providing direct services).

 

  • Education in High Schools - Applicants that select education in high schools must demonstrate an established partnership(s) with the high school(s) through an MOU or third-party agreement. Applicants must also demonstrate that primary service delivery will be conducted in local public, private, or alternative high schools. Where proposals include options for classes to youth of high school age in other forums (including after school programs, youth clubs, or weekend or summer activities), applicants must demonstrate that these are only supplemental and not the primary or exclusive form of service delivery.

 

  • Marriage and Relationship Education/Skills (MRES)  – Applicants that select MRES must describe how they will ensure that the parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and/or job and career advancement elements in this activity will not be provided as stand-alone services, and describe how these services will be provided in conjunction with marriage and relationship skills, or any of the other authorized activities throughout the duration of the individuals' or couples' enrollment in the program.

 

  • Pre-marital Education and Marriage Skills - Applicants that select pre-marital education and marriage skills must demonstrate how they will ensure that this training will be provided only to engaged couples, and/or couples or individuals interested in marriage.

 

  • Marriage Enhancement and Marriage Skills for Married Couples – Applicants that select marriage enhancement and marriage skills for married couples must clearly describe target populations as married couples, and how they will develop recruitment and retention strategies that are designed to engage both spouses in a marriage.

 

  • Divorce Reduction and Relationship Skills - Applicants that select divorce reduction and relationship skills must describe how they will ensure that services are targeted to married couples that are considered distressed and describe the nature of the distress (e.g., couples who are separated or contemplating divorce). Applicants must describe specific curricula and program supports tailored for the needs of this population.

 

  • Marriage Mentoring – Applicants that select marriage mentoring must describe how they will recruit, train, and ensure that mentoring services are conducted by married couples serving as role models and mentors in at-risk communities.  Applicants must describe how they will ensure oversight of program mentors.

 

  • Reduction of Disincentives to Marriage – Applicants that select reduction of disincentives to marriage must describe their approach to reduce the disincentives to marriage in means-tested aid programs, and must identify which statutory activity will be offered in conjunction.

Curricula

Applicants must describe the skills-based, evidence-based or evidence informed curricula designed to help form, improve and sustain healthy relationships and marriages. Applicants must describe how they will ensure that each skills-based curriculum will be delivered over time, in no less than the number of hours established within the guidelines required by curriculum developers.  Applicants must also describe which of the following will be addressed by the curriculum selected (selected curriculum must, at a minimum, involve the first four topics in the following list): 

  • Communication skills;
  • Conflict resolution, management, and problem-solving skills;
  • Knowledge of the benefits of marriage;
  • Stress and anger management;
  • Affection and intimacy;
  • Expression and discussion of negotiation skills;
  • Financial literacy, such as budgeting, financial planning, and management;
  • Parenting skills (as applicable); and
  • Trauma and its effects on forming healthy relationships (as applicable).

 Additionally, applicants must describe how the curriculum selected: 

  • Focuses on healthy marriage and relationship education;
  • Is culturally appropriate for the target population;
  • Supports identified program goals and outcomes;
  • Includes a staff development and training component;
  • Is age appropriate, particularly when serving youth; and
  • Includes technical support provided by the developer.

Applicants must identify the curriculum they will use for skills-based healthy marriage or parenting education and, if appropriate, for services to promote economic stability and mobility, such as financial management and financial literacy. Further, applicants must provide a justification for selecting the curriculum and describe how it aligns with the target population that they propose to serve.

Applicants must describe any proposed adaptations from the original curriculum and the applicant's rationale for the adaptations (e.g., practice exercises framed in life experiences of lower-income individuals and families; activities tailored to address low education levels; added content on complex family relationships; or modifications to increase relevancy to different ethnic/racial populations).

Economic Stability and Mobility

Applicants that propose to include economic stability and mobility activities must describe a skills-based, evidence-based or evidence-informed approach that incorporates an array of services and activities, such as job and career advancement and financial literacy (budgeting, financial planning and management, and asset development).

Applicants proposing to include job and career advancement services must describe their experience and capacity to design a comprehensive program to enhance the employability skills of low-income participants and help them to secure job opportunities (which may include subsidized employment).  Applicants must explain how participating individuals' employment service needs will be assessed and how they will be matched to appropriate services.  Applicants' job and career advancement activities descriptions must incorporate two or more of the following activities (applicants may also propose other appropriate services or strategies designed to achieve job and career advancement for program participants):

  • Alignment of education and training programs with in-demand occupations;
  • Career counseling/development (assessments of skills levels, aptitudes abilities, competencies, and support services as needed);
  • Encouraging education, including career-advancing education;
  • Job search, job training, job placement, and job retention;
  • Basic technology training;
  • Pre-employment or soft-skills development that may include basic academic skills; and
  • Coordination with employment services and training initiatives.

Where applicants propose to provide employment subsidies under comprehensive job and career advancement, they must describe their experience and capacity in developing and implementing a subsidized employment program—including any anticipated partnership or collaborative efforts. Applicants proposing subsidized employment must describe how it will assist participants in attaining marketable skills that will lead to long-term unsubsidized employment, and how they will ensure that wages for eligible participants are at or above the state or federal minimum wage.  

Applicants must describe how they will ensure that eligible participants engaged in comprehensive job and career advancement activities will remain enrolled in a healthy marriage and relationship skills classes, case management, follow-up, or support services throughout the duration of the program. Applicants must include a detailed, signed MOU or Third-party Agreement with each partner, which outlines the specific roles and responsibilities of partnering organizations.

Intake and Enrollment Process

Applicants must develop and describe a thorough intake and enrollment process that includes baseline assessments designed to capture a potential participant’s or couple’s needs, skills, and interests. Applicants must describe an assessment process or tool designed to help programs make decisions about (a) the best strategies for each participant or couple, based on his or her (or their) abilities and need; and (b) the participant’s placement in training, education, and employment programs, when applicable.  Applicants must describe which of the following components will be incorprated into the intake and enrollment process: 

  • Comprehensive intake tools that provide information about participants that will assist the program in determining the potential participant’s or couple’s needs;
  • Training to help the intake staff and potential enrollees determine what program services will meet their needs, or whether a referral to a more appropriate program is needed;
  • Initial goal-setting (gathering information to determine how best to serve the participant—this information may be used to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) when appropriate);
  • Assessments (including, domestic violence screen, pre-test, barriers to participation, or family supports); and
  • Includes discussion about post enrollment next steps (including assignment of a case manager, review of class/activity schedule, and/or addressing barriers to attendance).

Case Management

Applicants must provide a plan of case management services, including how the program will connect participants to needed supports and services available in the community (this may not necessarily apply to programs that serve youth in a traditional high school setting). Applicants proposing to provide comprehensive job and career advancement services must describe how they will incorporate a post-employment plan as part of their case management planning.  The description must include, but is not limited to, strategies that:

  • Involve regular contact with participants to facilitate program retention, completion, and access to needed support services;
  • Have an orientation process, which includes a risk and needs assessment and intake and enrollment procedures that will help to structure the needs and goals of the participant; and
  • Include the development of IDPs (if appropriate for services provided) that chart participants’ short- and long-term goals, objectives, progress and participant milestones that may include education, job readiness and employment plans (where applicable).

Applicants that determine that case management services are not suited to the proposed program design and/or population must provide a clear, sound and reasonable rationale for its exclusion.

Program Supportive Services

Applicants must include a plan for providing supportive services, including transportation assistance and childcare, that are designed to help reduce barriers to participation and improve program recruitment, retention and outcomes (funds may be used for the discrete costs of ancillary supportive services). The applicant's plan must include a description of the gaps that exist in the provision of these services and strategies to address them. The applicant must describe, as applicable, how they will address the provision of supportive services that are not fundable under this grant (including, but not limited to trauma-informed behavioral health care; health care, including mental health treatment; and substance abuse treatment). Where supportive services are otherwise available (such as child care assistance), programs must describe how they will work with public and private social service agencies to maximize the availability and robustness of these services.

Applicants that determine that supportive services are not suited to the proposed program design must provide a clear, sound, and reasonable rationale for its exclusion.

Partnerships and Program Collaboration

Applicants must describe any federal, state, local, tribal, and/or community-based collaboration and partnership efforts designed to meet the needs of participants effectively.  Applicants must include an MOU or third-party agreement between each applicant and the partner agency(ies).  A letter of intent from the applicant and all partner agencies can be submitted in lieu of a signed MOU or third-party agreement, if one has not been entered into by the time the application is submitted. The letter of intent must provide a timeline for completion of an MOU or third-party agreement. (See Third-Party Agreements later in this section.)

Domestic Violence Requirement

Applicants must describe how the program or activities in the application will address, as appropriate, issues of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and dating violence.

Applicants must also include evidence of consultation with experts in domestic violence or relevant community domestic violence coalitions in developing the proposed programs and activities.

Evidence of consultation also may be demonstrated in the same manner as evidence of other partnership relationships (e.g., MOUs or third-party agreements described previously). The applicant must demonstrate that they have or will have collaborative partnerships with providers of domestic violence services that will provide support throughout the duration of the program.

Child Maltreatment

Applicants must describe the strategies they will use to help prevent, detect, and respond to child maltreatment among program participants, and how they will ensure that all staff are familiar with their state's reporting requirements for child abuse and neglect.  

Project Timeline and Milestones

Provide quantitative monthly or quarterly projections of the accomplishments to be achieved for each function, or activity, in such terms as the number of people to be served and the number of activities accomplished. Data may be organized and presented as project tasks and subtasks with their corresponding timelines during the project period. For example, each project task could be assigned to a row in the first column of a grid. Then, a unit of time could be assigned to each subsequent column, beginning with the first unit (i.e., week, month, quarter) of the project and ending with the last.  Shading, arrows, or other markings could be used across the applicable grid boxes or cells, representing units of time, to indicate the approximate duration and/or frequency of each task and its start and end dates within the project period.

When accomplishments cannot be quantified by activity or function, list them in chronological order to show the schedule of accomplishments and their target dates.

Program Performance Evaluation Plan

Applicants must describe the plan for the program performance evaluation that will contribute to continuous quality improvement. The program performance evaluation should monitor ongoing processes and the progress towards the goals and objectives of the project.  Include descriptions of the inputs (e.g., organizational profile, collaborative partners, key staff, budget, and other resources), key processes, and expected outcomes of the funded activities. The plan may be supported by a logic model and must explain how the inputs, processes and outcomes will be measured, and how the resulting information will be used to inform improvement of funded activities. 

Applicants must describe the systems and processes that will support the organization's performance management requirements through effective tracking of performance outcomes, including a description of how the organization will collect and manage data (e.g. assigned skilled staff, data management software) in a way that allows for accurate and timely reporting of performance outcomes. Applicants must describe any potential obstacles for implementing the program performance evaluation and how those obstacles will be addressed.

Additionally, applicants must describe expected program performance activities in three key areas:

(1)   Performance Measures. Applicants must describe how they will collect required data (applicant characteristics, program operations, enrollment, and participation (service delivery), and participant “outcomes” (i.e., attitudes, beliefs, and actions), both at beginning of the program (pre-test) and at program exit (post-test)). Applicants must document whether and how the local evaluator was consulted in the development of performance measurement data collection plans. Applicants must address their readiness to collect performance measure data, including readiness of staff to collect data – that is, applicants must describe staff qualifications and training; identify specific staff who will be responsible for performance measurement data collection; state any intention to designate staff as data manager(s) or intention to hire a data manager – and capacity to collect data in a uniform, systematic manner. Applicants must describe how they will maintain participant privacy.

Applicants must confirm their expected procedure for collecting applicant characteristics and pre- and post-test data – that is, via ACASI-enabled online survey that uploads to nFORM (paper-and-pencil forms will only be used as back-up). Applicants must document that they have budgeted for sufficient computers (laptops, desktop, tablets) that can use the specific web-browsers Internet Explorer version 10 or higher or Chrome (version 36 or higher). (With regard to tablets, grantees  may use iPad (not Mini) or Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1; both tablet models must use the Chrome browser, version 36 or higher. It is possible that other tablets will also work with nFORM as long as they are using Chrome; however, the extensive testing will be conducted with the identified tablet models.)

Applicants must describe whether and how data will be collected by grantee staff, partner agencies, and/or subcontracted evaluators. If applicable, applicants must also include with their applications letters of agreement with partner agencies and/or subcontracted evaluators that outline the responsibilities of each agency, and that confirm the agencies’ agreement to collect and submit performance measurement data. In the rare case where applicants and/or partners do not have access to the internet because of systemic lack of connectivity, the proposal must clearly describe potential avenues for collecting performance measurement data through the internet, as well as indicate a willingness to work with ACF to find ways to implement internet data collection through these other avenues.

(2)   Management Information System. Applicants must confirm their intention to use nFORM for collecting, storing, monitoring, and reporting standardized performance measures.

(3)   Monitoring and Reporting. Applicants must describe how they will utilize performance measures, monitor program services, and submit data. Applicants must include details reflecting readiness and capacity to regularly review performance data (e.g., staffing and training to create data reports on a weekly basis, timeline to meet weekly to review data). Applicants must address their readiness and capacity to aggregate, generate, and submit quarterly reports and semi-annual Performance Progress Reports (PPRs).

Funded Activities Evaluation Plan

Applicants must describe the plan for rigorous evaluation of funded activities. The evaluation may be supported by a logic model.  The evaluation must assess processes and progress towards the goals and objectives of the project, and whether the project is having the expected effects and impacts. The evaluation plan must specify expected outcomes and any research questions. The plan must discuss how the results of this evaluation will provide greater understanding and improvement of the funded activities. The plan must include a valid and reliable measurement plan and sound methodological design. Details regarding the proposed data collection activities, the participants, and data management, and analyses plans must be described. Applicants must describe any potential obstacles foreseen in implementation of the planned evaluation and how those obstacles will be addressed. 

More specifically, applicants must propose a descriptive local evaluation plan or an impact local evaluation plan (in accordance with the funding level requested), which will answer one or more grantee-specific research question(s). Applicants that propose to conduct descriptive evaluations must use data and analysis to describe and explain the importance/implications of the program’s processes (such as a process or program implementation study) and/or the program’s population (such as a pre-post study).

Applicants that propose to conduct an impact evaluation must have and describe a comparison group who does not receive the services of interest and that is comparable (at baseline, i.e., before a program begins) to those who participate in the service program. In addition to evaluation of impacts on specific outcomes, applicants proposing impact evaluations must also include an examination, in close detail, of the function and form of different parts of service process (i.e., “implementation study” or a “process study”).

Applicants must include the following components in their plans:

  • Research questions. Applicants must precisely state the research question(s), including the specific program measures, and how the answers to the questions will increase ACF’s understanding of programming in this field. Applicants must link research question(s) (and the implementation features and/or participant outcomes) to the applicant’s proposed logic model.
  • Research design. Applicants must propose a specific research design in their plans, including details regarding: staffing; timeline; recruitment of participants; planned sample size; measures (including any measures in addition to the required performance measures); data collection methods, including who will collect data (staff, partner agencies, and/or local or other subcontracted evaluators); and analyses methods to be used. If multiple waves of data collection will be conducted, applicants must describe the timing of those waves, and how respondents will be tracked over time for later data collection.

Applicants must include a justification for why the proposed research design is best suited to answer the research question(s). For impact evaluations, applicants must differentiate the programming for which each group (program/control/comparison) will be eligible, and specify how the groups will be formed or selected.

  • Community support. Applicants must include plans for incorporating input from partner agencies and community partners in the development of local evaluations, and throughout the execution.
  • Importance for the field. Applicants must clearly describe how the local evaluation will inform future programming and expand the evidence base, as designed. Applicants must describe how analyses of data will clearly support final reported results, and how targets for dissemination will clearly communicate the implications of the study to others in the field.

Applicants must identify the local evaluator or local evaluator organization and include a signed letter of agreement with this local evaluator. Applicants must include curriculum vitae for the leader of the research project (i.e., Principal Investigator or Research Project Director). For every organization involved (including local evaluator and partners), applicants must include letters of agreement supporting the plan and outlining roles and responsibilities. All curricula vitae, resumes and letters of agreement must be submitted in the application’s Appendices File (See Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, Page Limitations and Content for All Submission Format for additional information on application submission file placement).  

Applicants must identify the IRB they expect to use and must demonstrate a familiarity with that IRB's procedures and review requirements. (Note: IRB requirements may differ for grantees participating in a federal evaluation.)

Geographic Location

Describe the precise location of the project and boundaries of the area to be served by the proposed project.

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

Unless directed otherwise, applicants must include proof of non-profit status in the Appendices file of the electronic application submission.


Logic Model

Applicants must submit a logic model for designing and managing their project. A logic model is a one-page diagram that presents the conceptual framework for a proposed project and explains the links among program elements. While there are many versions of logic models, for the purposes of this announcement the logic model should summarize the connections between the:
  • Goals of the project (e.g., objectives, reasons for proposing the interventions, if applicable);
  • Assumptions (e.g., beliefs about how the program will work and its supporting resources. Assumptions should be based on research, best practices, and experience);
  • Inputs (e.g., organizational profile, collaborative partners, key staff, budget);
  • Target population (e.g., the individuals to be served);
  • Activities (e.g., approach, listing key intervention, if applicable);
  • Outputs (i.e., the direct products or deliverables of program activities); and
  • Outcomes (i.e., the results of a program, typically describing a change in people or systems).
Project Sustainability Plan

Applicants must propose a plan for project sustainability after the period of federal funding ends. Grantees are expected to sustain key elements of their grant projects, e.g., strategies or services and interventions, which have been effective in improving practices and those that have led to improved outcomes for children and families.

Describe the approach to project sustainment that will be most effective and feasible. Describe the key individuals and/or organizations whose support will be required in order to sustain program activities. Describe the types of alternative support that will be required to sustain the planned program. If the proposed project involves key project partners, describe how their cooperation and/or collaboration will be maintained after the end of federal funding.

Organizational Capacity

Provide the following information on the applicant organization and, if applicable, on any cooperating partners:

  • Organizational charts;
  • Resumes (no more than two single-spaced pages in length);
  • Curricula Vitae (CV);
  • Financial statements adhering to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), if available, submit statements for up to the two most recently completed fiscal years (this requirement does not apply to start-up organizations);
  • 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;
  • Copy or description of the applicant organization’s personnel policies;
  • Job descriptions for each vacant key position.
Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information

If any confidential or sensitive information will be collected during the course of the project, whether from staff (e.g., background investigations) or project participants and/or project beneficiaries, provide a description of the methods that will be used to ensure that confidential and/or sensitive information is properly handled and safeguarded. Also provide a plan for the disposition of such information at the end of the project period.

Third-Party Agreements

Third-party agreements include Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and Letters of Commitment. General letters of support are not considered to be third-party agreements. Third-party agreements must clearly describe the project activities and support to which the third party is committing.  Third-party agreements must be signed by the person in the third-party organization with the authority to make such commitments on behalf of their organization.

Provide written and signed agreements between grantees and subgrantees, or subcontractors, or other cooperating entities. These agreements must detail the scope of work to be performed, work schedules, remuneration, and other terms and conditions that structure or define the relationship.
Plan for Oversight of Federal Award Funds

Provide a plan describing how oversight of federal funds will be ensured and how grant activities and partner(s) will adhere to applicable federal and programmatic regulations. Applicants must identify staff that will be responsible for maintaining oversight of program activities, staff, and partner(s). Applicants must describe procedures and policies used to oversee staff and/or partners/contractors.

Describe organizational records systems that relate financial data to performance data by identifying the source and application of federal funds so that they demonstrate effective control over and accountability for funds, compare outlays with budget amounts, and provide accounting records supported by source documentation.

 

The Project Budget and Budget Justification

All applicants are required to submit a project budget and budget justification with their application. The project budget is entered on the Budget Information Standard Form, either SF-424A or SF-424C, according to the directions provided with the SFs. The budget justification consists of a budget narrative and a line-item budget detail that includes detailed calculations for "object class categories" identified on the Budget Information Standard Form. Applicants must indicate the method they are selecting for their indirect cost rate.  See Indirect Charges for further information. 

Project budget calculations must include estimation methods, quantities, unit costs, and other similar quantitative detail sufficient for the calculation to be duplicated. If matching or cost sharing is a requirement, applicants must include a detailed listing of any funding sources identified in Block 18 of the SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance). See the table in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications listing the appropriate budget forms to use in this application.

Special Note: The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Pub.L. 113-235), enacted December 16,2014, limits the salary amount that may be awarded and charged to ACF grants and cooperative agreements. Award funds issued under this announcement may not be used to pay the salary, or any percentage of salary, to an individual at a rate in excess of Executive Level II. The Executive Level II salary of the Federal Executive Pay scale is $183,300. Please see http:// www.opm.gov/ policy-data-oversight/ pay-leave/salaries -wages/ 2015/ executive -senior- level. This amount reflects an individual’s base salary exclusive of fringe benefits and any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of the duties to the applicant organization.  This salary limitation also applies to subawards/subcontracts under a ACF grant or cooperative agreement.

Provide a budget justification using the 424A and/or 424C, as applicable, for each year of the proposed project. Provide a budget justification, which includes a budget narrative and a line-item detail, for each year of the proposed project. The budget narrative should describe how the categorical costs are derived. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocation of the proposed costs.

Note: Applicants' line-item budget and budget justification must include all program-related costs, including travel for all staff required to attend the entrance conference and biennial meetings in Washington, DC, and regional roundtables. See Section I. Program Description, Post-Award Requirements, Entrance Conference, Biennial Peer Meeting, and Roundtables.

Budgeting for Evaluation

The applicant's overall line-item budget and budget justification must also include detailed allocations for the range of required performance measure data and evaluation activities, including the following: 

  • Collection of performance data, including costs of staff training, time to collect data;
  • Storage of performance data, including:
    • Desktop/laptop computer or tablet purchase for ACASI on-line applicant characteristics and pre- and post-tests, including headphones, and maintenance;
    • Costs for staff to conduct regular activity such as data entry, quality checks, reliability training for coding, etc.; and
  • Monitoring and reporting performance data, including costs for staff to analyze data, create and review reports, plan and monitor adjustments.

Local Evaluation Costs

  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $350,000 and $699,999 are expected to allocate at least $35,000 per year for a descriptive local evaluation, but no more than 10 percent of the total budget.
  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $700,000 and $999,999 are expected to allocate at least $100,000 per year for a descriptive or impact local evaluation, but no more than 15 percent of the total budget for either evaluation.
  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 are expected to propose an impact evaluation and allocate at least 10 percent, but no more than 15 percent of their total annual funding for local evaluation per year, or at least 15 percent, but no more than 20 percent per year, if proposing a RCT impact evaluation.
General

Use the following guidelines for preparing the budget and budget justification.  When a match or cost share is required, both federal and non-federal resources must be detailed and justified in the budget and budget narrative justification. "Federal resources" refers only to the ACF grant funds for which the applicant is applying. “Non-federal resources” are all other non-ACF federal and non-federal resources. It is suggested that budget amounts and computations be presented in a columnar format:  first column, object class categories; second column, federal budget; next column(s), non-federal budget(s); and last column, total budget. The budget justification should be in a narrative form.

Personnel

Description:  Costs of employee salaries and wages.

Justification: Identify the project director or principal investigator, if known at the time of application.  For each staff person provide:  the title; time commitment to the project in months; time commitment to the project as a percentage or full-time equivalent: annual salary; grant salary; wage rates; etc.  Do not include the costs of consultants, personnel costs of delegate agencies, or of specific project(s) and/or businesses to be financed by the applicant. Contractors and consultants should not be placed under this category.

Fringe Benefits

Description: Costs of employee fringe benefits unless treated as part of an approved indirect cost rate.   

Justification: Provide a breakdown of the amounts and percentages that comprise fringe benefit costs such as health insurance, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, retirement insurance, and taxes.

Travel

Description:  Costs of out-of-state or overnight project-related travel by employees of the applicant organization. Do not include in-state travel or consultant travel.

Justification:  For each trip show the total number of traveler(s); travel destination; duration of trip; per diem; mileage allowances, if privately owned vehicles will be used to travel out of town; and other transportation costs and subsistence allowances.  If appropriate for this project, travel costs for key project staff to attend ACF-sponsored workshops/conferences/grantee orientations should be detailed in the budget.

Equipment

Description:  "Equipment" means an article of nonexpendable, tangible personal property having a useful life of more than one year per unit and an acquisition cost that equals or exceeds the lesser of:  (a) the capitalization level established by the organization for the financial statement purposes, or (b) $5,000.  (Note:  Acquisition cost means the net invoice unit price of an item of equipment, including the cost of any modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make it usable for the purpose for which it is acquired.  Ancillary charges, such as taxes, duty, protective in-transit insurance, freight, and installation, shall be included in or excluded from acquisition cost in accordance with the applicant organization's regular written accounting practices.) 

Justification:  For each type of equipment requested applicants must provide a description of the equipment; the cost per unit; the number of units; the total cost; and a plan for use of the equipment in the project; as well as a plan for the use, and/or disposal of, the equipment after the project ends.  An applicant organization that uses its own definition for equipment should provide a copy of its policy, or section of its policy, that includes the equipment definition.

Supplies

Description:  Costs of all tangible personal property other than that included under the Equipment category.  This includes office and other consumable supplies with a per-unit cost of less than $5,000.

Justification:  Specify general categories of supplies and their costs.  Show computations and provide other information that supports the amount requested.

Contractual

Description:  Costs of all contracts for services and goods except for those that belong under other categories such as equipment, supplies, construction, etc.  Include third-party evaluation contracts, if applicable, and contracts with secondary recipient organizations (with budget detail), including delegate agencies and specific project(s) and/or businesses to be financed by the applicant.  This area is not for individual consultants.

Justification:  Demonstrate that all procurement transactions will be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open, and free competition. Recipients and subrecipients, other than states that are required to use 45 CFR Part 75 procedures, must justify any anticipated procurement action that is expected to be awarded without competition and exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold fixed by 41 U.S.C. § 134, as amended by 2 CFR Part 200.88, and currently set at $150,000.  Recipients may be required to make pre-award review and procurement documents, such as requests for proposals or invitations for bids, independent cost estimates, etc., available to ACF.

Note: Whenever the applicant intends to delegate part of the project to another agency, the applicant must provide a detailed budget and budget narrative for each contractor/sub-contractor, by agency title, along with the same supporting information referred to in these instructions.  If the applicant plans to select the contractors/sub-contractors post-award and a detailed budget is not available at the time of application, the applicant must provide information on the nature of the work to be delegated, the estimated costs, and the process for selecting the delegate agency.

Other

Description: Enter the total of all other costs.  Such costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to:  consultant costs, local travel; insurance; food (when allowable); medical and dental costs (noncontractual); professional services costs (including audit charges); space and equipment rentals; printing and publication; computer use; training costs, such as tuition and stipends; staff development costs; and administrative costs.

Justification:  Provide computations, a narrative description, and a justification for each cost under this category.

Indirect Charges

Description:  Total amount of indirect costs. This category has one of two methods that an applicant can select.  An applicant may only select one. 

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.” 

Justification:  This method only applies to applicants that have never received an approved negotiated indirect cost rate from HHS or another cognizant federal agency.  Applicants awaiting approval of their indirect cost proposal may request the 10 percent de minimis.  When the applicant chooses this method, costs included in the indirect cost pool must not be charged as direct costs to the grant.

Paperwork Reduction Disclaimer

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3521, the public reporting burden for the Project Description and Budget/Budget Justification is estimated to average 60 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and reviewing the collection information. The Project Description information collection is approved under OMB control number 0970-0139, which expires 10/31/2015. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Application Submission Options

Electronic Submission via www.Grants.gov

  • Additional guidance on the submission of electronic applications can be found at http:// www.grants.gov /web /grants /applicants /apply- for- grants.html.
  • If applicants encounter any technical difficulties in using www.Grants.gov, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at: 1-800-518-4726, or by email at support@grants.gov, to report the problem and obtain assistance. Hours of Operation: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Grants.gov Contact Center is closed on federal holidays.
  • Applicants should always retain Grants.gov Contact Center service ticket number(s) as they may be needed for future reference.
  • Contact with the Grants.gov Contact Center prior to the listed application due date and time does not ensure acceptance of an application. If difficulties are encountered, the Grants Management Officer listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts will determine whether the submission issues are due to Grants.gov system errors or user error.

Application Validation at www.Grants.gov

After an application has been successfully submitted to www.Grants.gov, it still must pass a series of validation checks.  After an application is submitted, Grants.gov generates a submission receipt via email and also sets the application status to "Received." This receipt verifies that the application has been successfully delivered to the Grants.gov system.

Next, Grants.gov verifies the submission is valid by ensuring it does not contain viruses, the opportunity is still open, and the applicant login and applicant DUNS number match. If the submission is valid, Grants.gov generates a submission validation receipt via email and sets the application status to "Validated."

If the application is not validated, the application status is set to "Rejected." The system sends a rejection email notification to the applicant and the applicant must re-submit the application package. See "What to Expect After Submitting" at www.Grants.gov for more information.

Each time an application is submitted, or resubmitted, via www.Grants.gov, the application will receive a new date and time stamp. Only those applications with on-time date and time stamps that result in a validated application, which are transmitted to ACF, will be acknowledged.

Applicants will be provided with an acknowledgement from Grants.gov that the submitted application package has passed, or failed, a series of checks and validations. Applications that are submitted on time that fail the validation check will not be transmitted to ACF and will not be acknowledged.

NOTE: The Grants.gov validation check can affect whether the application is accepted for review. If an application fails the Grants.gov validation check and is not resubmitted by 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, it will not be transmitted to ACF and will be excluded from the review.

Similarly, if an applicant resubmits their application to Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date, and the resubmitted application does not pass the validation check, it will not be transmitted to ACF and will be excluded from the review.

Systems Issues

For any systems issues experienced with Grants.gov or SAM.gov, please refer to ACF’s “Policy for Applicants Experiencing Federal Systems Issues” document for complete guidance at https: // www.acf.hhs.gov / sites / default /files /assets /systems _issue _policy _final. pdf.

Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission

ACF recognizes that some applicants may have limited or no Internet access, and/or limited computer capacity, which may prohibit them from uploading large files at www.Grants.gov. To accommodate such applicants, ACF offers an exemption from required electronic submission. The exemption will allow applicants to submit hard copy, paper applications by hand-delivery, applicant courier, overnight/express mail couriers, or by other representatives of the applicant.

To receive an exemption from required electronic application submission, applicants must submit a written request to ACF that must state that the applicant qualifies for the exemption for one of the two following reasons:

  • Lack of Internet access or Internet connection, or
  • Limited computer capacity that prevents the uploading of large documents (files) at www.Grants.gov.

Applicants may request and receive the exemption from required electronic application submission by either:

  • Submitting an email request to electronicappexemption@acf.hhs.gov, or
  • Sending a written request to the Office of Grants Management Contact listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts in this announcement.

Requests for exemption from required electronic application submission will be acknowledged with an approval or disapproval.

Requests that do not state one of the two listed reasons will not be approved.

An exemption is applicable to all applications submitted by the applicant organization during the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) in which it is received. Applicants need only request an exemption once in a FFY.  Applicants must request a new exemption from required electronic submission for any succeeding FFY.

Please Note: electronicappexemption@acf.hhs.gov may only be used to request an exemption from required electronic submission. All other inquiries must be directed to the appropriate Agency Contact listed in Section VII. of this announcement. Queries or requests submitted to this email address for any reason other than a request for an exemption from electronic application submission will not be acknowledged or answered.

All exemption requests must include the following information:

  • Funding Opportunity Announcement Title,
  • Funding Opportunity Number (FON),
  • The listed Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number,
  • Name of Applicant Organization and DUNS Number,
  • AOR name and contact information,
  • Name and contact information of person to be contacted on matters involving the application (i.e., the Point of Contact), and
  • The reason for which the applicant is requesting an exemption from electronic application submission. The request for exemption must state one of the following two reasons: 1) lack of Internet access or Internet connection; or 2) lack of computer capacity that prevents uploading large documents (files) to the Internet.

Exemption requests must be received by ACF no later than two weeks before the application due date, that is, 14 calendar days prior to the application due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. If the fourteenth calendar day falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the due date for receipt of an exemption request will move to the next federal business day that follows the weekend or federal holiday.

Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials. Details concerning acknowledgment of received applications are available in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times of this announcement.

Paper Format Application Submission

An exemption is now required for the submission of paper applications. See the preceding section on "Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission."

Applicants with exemptions that submit their applications in paper format, by mail or delivery, must submit one original and two copies of the complete application with all attachments. The original and each of the two copies must include all required forms, certifications, assurances, and appendices, be signed by the AOR, and be unbound.  The original copy of the application must have original signature(s). See Section IV.6. of this announcement for address information for paper format application submissions. Applications submitted in paper format must be received by 4:30 p.m, ET, on the due date.


Applicants may refer to Section VIII. Other Information for a checklist of application requirements that may be used in developing and organizing application materials.  Details concerning acknowledgment of received applications are available in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times in this announcement.

IV.3. Submission Dates and Times

IV.3. Submission Dates and Times

Due Date for Applications: 07/07/2015

Explanation of Due Dates

The due date for receipt of applications is listed in the Overview section and in this section. See Section III.3. Application Disqualification Factors.

Electronic Applications

The deadline for submission of electronic applications via www.Grants.gov is 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date. Electronic applications submitted at 12:00 a.m., ET, on the day after the due date will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Applicants are required to submit their applications electronically via www.Grants.gov unless they received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

ACF does not accommodate transmission of applications by email or facsimile.

Instructions for electronic submission via www.Grants.gov are available at: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply_for_grants.jsp.

Applications submitted to www.Grants.gov at any time during the open application period prior to the due date and time that fail the Grants.gov validation check will not be received at ACF. These applications will not be acknowledged.

Mailed Paper Format Applications

The deadline for mailed paper applications is 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date. Mailed paper applications received after the due date and deadline time will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Paper format application submissions will be disqualified if the applicant organization has not received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

Hand-Delivered Paper Format Applications

Applications that are hand-delivered by applicants, applicant couriers, by overnight/express mail couriers, or other representatives of the applicant must be received on, or before, the due date listed in the Overview and in this section. These applications must be delivered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., ET,Monday through Friday (excluding federal holidays). Applications should be delivered to the address provided in Section IV.6.Other Submission Requirements.

Hand-delivered paper applications received after the due date and deadline time will be considered late and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Hand-delivered paper format application submissions will be disqualified if the applicant organization has not received an exemption through the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

No appeals will be considered for applications classified as late under the following circumstances:

  • Applications submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov are considered late when they are dated and time-stamped after the deadline of 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date.
  • Paper format applications received by mail or hand-delivery after 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date will be classified as late and will be disqualified.
  • Paper format applications received from applicant organizations that were not approved for an exemption from required electronic application submission under the process described in Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Submission will be disqualified.

Extensions and/or Waiving Due Date and Receipt Time Requirements

ACF may extend an application due date and receipt time when circumstances make it impossible for applicants to submit their applications on time. These events include natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, tornados, etc.), or when there are widespread disruptions of electrical service, or mail service, or in other rare cases. The determination to extend or waive due date and/or receipt time requirements rests with the Grants Management Officer listed as the Office of Grants Management Contact in Section VII. Agency Contacts.

Acknowledgement from www.Grants.gov

Applicants will receive an initial email upon submission of their application to www.Grants.gov. This email will provide a Grants.gov Tracking Number. Applicants should refer to this tracking number in all communication with Grants.gov. The email will also provide a date and time stamp, which serves as the official record of application's submission. Receipt of this email does not indicate that the application is accepted or that is has passed the validation check.

Applicants will be provided with an acknowledgement from www.Grants.gov that the submitted application package has passed, or failed, a series of checks and validations. Applications that are submitted on time that fail the validation check will not be transmitted to ACF and will not be acknowledged.

See "What to Expect After Submitting" at www.Grants.gov for more information.

Acknowledgement from ACF of an electronic application's submission:

Applicants will be sent additional email(s) from ACF acknowledging that the application has been retrieved from www.Grants.gov by ACF. Receipt of these emails is not an indication that the application is accepted for competition.

Acknowledgement from ACF of receipt of a paper format application

ACF will not provide acknowledgement of receipt of hard copy application packages submitted via mail or courier services.

IV.4. Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs (SPOC)

IV.4. Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs

This program is covered under Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," and 45 CFR Part 100, "Intergovernmental Review of Department of Health and Human Services Programs and Activities." Under the Executive Order, States may design their own processes for reviewing and commenting on proposed Federal assistance under covered programs.

Applicants should go to the following URL for the official list of the jurisdictions that have elected to participate in E.O. 12372 http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc/.
Applicants from participating jurisdictions should contact their SPOC, as soon as possible, to alert them of their prospective applications and to receive instructions on their jurisdiction's procedures. Applicants must submit all required application materials to the SPOC and indicate the date of submission on the Standard Form (SF) 424 at item 19.

Under 45 CFR 100.8(a)(2), a SPOC has 60 days from the application due date to comment on proposed new awards.

SPOC comments may be submitted directly to ACF to: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Grants Management, Division of Discretionary Grants, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., 6th Floor East, Washington, DC 20447.

Entities that meet the eligibility requirements of this announcement are still eligible to apply for a grant even if a State, Territory or Commonwealth, etc., does not have a SPOC or has chosen not to participate in the process. Applicants from non-participating jurisdictions need take no action with regard to E.O. 12372. Applications from Federally-recognized Indian Tribal governments are not subject to E.O. 12372.
IV.5. Funding Restrictions

IV.5. Funding Restrictions

Costs of organized fund raising, including financial campaigns, endowment drives, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred solely to raise capital or obtain contributions, are considered unallowable costs under grants or cooperative agreements awarded under this funding opportunity announcement.

Note: Costs incurred for grant application preparation are not considered allowable costs under an award and may not be included in the project budget or budget justification.

Grant awards will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs.
Purchase of real property is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this grant award.

Local Evaluation Costs

  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $350,000 and $699,999 are expected to allocate at least $35,000 per year for a descriptive local evaluation, but no more than 10 percent of the total budget.
  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $700,000 and $999,999 are expected to allocate at least $100,000 per year for a descriptive or impact local evaluation, but no more than 15 percent of the total budget for either evaluation.
  • Applicants requesting funding levels between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 are expected to propose an impact evaluation and allocate at least 10 percent, but no more than 15 percent of their total annual funding for local evaluation per year, or at least 15 percent, but no more than 20 percent per year, if proposing a RCT impact evaluation.

Construction, Alteration and Renovation

Costs for construction and/or major alteration and renovation are not statutorily authorized under this grant. However, minor alteration and renovation costs for the following purposes may be allowable with the prior approval of the grantor agency: changing the interior arrangement or physical interior characteristics of an existing facility; installing equipment to improve efficiency for its currently designated purpose; or adapting existing equipment to an alternative use to meet a specific programmatic requirement. Additionally, minor alteration and renovation may not exceed $150,000 or 25 percent of the total approved budget (direct and indirect) for the budget period, whichever is less.

IV.6. Other Submission Requirements

IV.6. Other Submission Requirements

Submit paper applications to one of the following addresses. Also see Section IV.2. Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission.

Submission By Mail

Grants Operations Center
1401 Merchantile Lane
Suite 401
Largo, MD 20774

Hand Delivery

Grants Operations Center
1401 Merchantile Lane
Suite 401
Largo, MD 20774

Electronic Submission

See Section IV.2 for application requirements and for guidance when submitting applications electronically via http://www.Grants.gov.

For all submissions, see Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

V. Application Review Information

V.1. Criteria

Please note: Reviewers will not access, or review, any materials that are not part of the application documents.  This includes information accessible on websites via hyperlinks that are referenced, or embedded, in the application.  Though an application may include web links, or embedded hyperlinks, reviewers will not review this information as it is not considered to be part of the application documents.  Nor will the information on websites be taken into consideration in scoring of evaluation criteria presented in this section. Reviewers will evaluate and score an application based on the documents that are presented in the application and will not refer to, or access, external links during the objective review.

Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated using the criteria described in this section. The corresponding point values indicate the relative importance placed on each review criterion. Points will be allocated based on the extent to which the application proposal addresses each of the criteria listed. Applicants should address these criteria in their application materials, particularly in the project description and budget justification, as they are the basis upon which competing applications will be judged during the objective review. The required elements of the project description and budget justification may be found in Section IV.2 of this announcement.

The number of bulleted statements under each review criterion does not necessarily reflect an equal distribution of points among corresponding point values. The entire application will be reviewed and evaluated.  Particular emphasis will be placed upon the strengths and weaknesses of the application's correlation to the FOA's Section I. Program Description and Section IV.2. The Project Description or Section IV.2. The Budget and Budget Justification.

The criteria for Performance Measurement and Evaluation will be assessed and scored in two parts for a potential combined maximum score of 15 points. The first sub-criteria, Commitments to Data and Evaluation, will be assessed and scored 0 or 3 points for the extent to which the applicant's plan addresses each of the three listed commitment agreements. No partial points will be awarded.  This means that reviewers will award zero points under this sub-criteria to applicants that do not positively affirm all three listed commitments; and reviewers will award the full 3 points to applicants that positively affirm all three commitments. The next two sub-criteria, Performance Measurement Data and Local Evaluation Plan will be assessed together for a potential combined score of 12 points. For this sub-criteria, reviewers may award partial points (i.e., between 0 and 12 points).

 
PROJECT APPROACH Maximum Points: 35

The applicant’s overall program design, approach, and ability to provide required services adequately will be reviewed and assessed by the following criteria.

0-35 points for the extent to which the applicant:

  • Demonstrates a clear, consistent understanding of the stated over-arching purpose of promoting healthy marriage and relationship education, including the statutory activity elements the applicant proposes to implement, and the desired short- and long-term outcomes identified in this FOA.
  • Provides a thorough description of how the program design incorporates a comprehensive approach that is tailored to the target population. The applicant demonstrates extensive knowledge and broad experience working in the community(ies) that will be served by the program.
  • Clearly describes the need for services designed to promote healthy marriage and relationships in the target service area, the target population, and describes how the proposed program will meet these needs. 
  • The applicant’s logic model provides an overview of the program and clearly links program elements to intended short- and long-term outcomes that are clear and measurable. The applicant also includes an explanation of how their proposed logic model aligns with the stated ACF short- and long-term programmatic outcomes.
  • Includes a reasonable rationale and/or research base for the program models proposed.
  • Includes a description of the project timeline and milestones for the full 5-year project period.  The description includes approximate dates for implementation of all components of the project. The description is clear, thorough and follows a logical sequence.
  • Includes a detailed description of how the proposed service strategy will be implemented, including: 
    • how participants will be recruited and retained and how the particular needs of the target population will be taken into consideration;
    • how the program will meet the program access and voluntary participation requirements;
    • what types of screening and assessments the program will conduct (including any screening and assessment tools the program will use) and for what purposes these screenings and assessments are conducted; 
    • which activities or activity elements will be included in the program as a whole;
    • how the program will determine which program components are offered or provided to each individual potential participant;
    • what support services will be provided, the circumstances under which they will be provided, and the justification for the approach taken. 
    • a discussion of the barriers to participation the target population may encounter and how these will be addressed, including cultural appropriateness. 
  • Identifies healthy marriage and relationship curricula and/or other materials it plans to use and provides a clearly articulated, justified, and well-documented rationale for selecting those curricula and materials. 
  • Includes detailed information about collaborations, partnerships, and signed MOUs (or third-party agreements, as described) with organizations and stakeholders that the applicant indicates will be responsible for aspects of the program, will serve as sources of participant recruitment, or will provide services to program participants on a referral basis.

Applicants that propose to provide economic stability and mobility services will have the thoroughness of that plan reviewed and assessed under the following criteria. (Reviewers will not deduct any points if this option is not selected. The maximum points under Project Approach if the option is proposed will remain 35 points.)

The extent to which the applicant’s proposal:

  • Presents a feasible strategy to provide high-quality economic stability and mobility services (directly or in partnership with other entities) designed to provide job and career advancement services and/or improve participants’ knowledge, understanding, and skills in areas financial literacy including budgeting, financial planning and management, and asset development.
  • Explains how economic stability and mobility program components are suited to the target population are integrated into the overall program and are based on a sound logic model that clearly links program elements to intended outcomes.

Applicants’ plan, capacity, and strategy to adequately provide case management and support services will be reviewed and assessed by the following criteria:

  • The applicant has a well-thought-out, feasible, and robust strategy for providing effective case management to program participants.
  • The applicant has a well-thought-out, feasible, and robust strategy for providing support services, helping participants use services available in the community, and providing referrals for support services.

Applicants that determine that case management and program supportive services are not suited to their proposed program design will be reviewed and assessed by the following criterion:

  •  The rationale for exclusion of these services is clear, sound, and reasonable.  

The thoroughness, feasibility, documented consultation, collaboration/partnership, and capacity of all applicants to address issues of domestic violence and child maltreatment will be reviewed and assessed by the following criteria.

  • The applicant describes how the programs or activities will address, as appropriate, issues of domestic violence (including intimate partner and dating violence) and the description is clear, thorough, and feasible. 
  • The applicant provides evidence of initial consultation with domestic violence experts to assist in the development of appropriate protocols tailored to the program.
  • The applicant demonstrates that they have or will have collaborative partnerships with providers of domestic violence services, including a process for service referrals.
  • The applicant describes how they will develop strategies to help prevent, detect, and respond to child maltreatment among program participants.
  • The applicant's description of how they will ensure staff familiarity with their state's requirements for child abuse and neglect is clear, reasonable, and feasible.
ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY AND EXPERIENCE Maximum Points: 20

The applicant’s organizational capacity and experience to adequately develop and manage a healthy marriage and relationship education program will be reviewed and assessed using the following criteria.

0-20 points for the extent to which the applicant:

  • Demonstrates the organizational capacity necessary to oversee federal grants through a description of the organization's fiscal controls and an explanation of the organization's governance structure, including:
    • an organizational chart that demonstrates the relationship between all positions (including consultants and/or sub-contractors) to be funded through this grant; and 
    • a clear description of the applicant’s financial management experience, and evidence of an adequate records system that will allow for effective control over and accountability for funds.
  • Clearly describes the organization's relevant experience, including previous accomplishments providing specific services and activities in relevant areas including improving relationships and/or promoting healthy marriage through specific services and activities, addressing domestic violence, child maltreatment, and implementing high-quality and effective economic stability and mobility services and/or job and career advancement programs (for those applicants seeking to include job and career advancement services).
  • Describes the experience and previous accomplishments of program partners in those areas.
  • Demonstrates its current capability to organize and operate the proposed project effectively and efficiently. 
PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT DATA AND EVALUATION Maximum Points: 15

The applicant’s plan and capacity to manage proper data collection, documentation, and reporting (including internal accountability and plan for monitoring of performance) and the applicant’s plan and capacity to conduct a local evaluation in collaboration with an independent local evaluator (and other measures) will be reviewed and assessed by the criteria listed under each of the following sections.

Commitments to Data and Evaluation

0 or 3 points for the extent to which the applicant's plan addresses the following three commitment agreements. Applicants that do not positively affirm all of the following three commitment agreements will not receive any of the 3 points available for this area. No partial points will be awarded.

  • The applicant affirms a commitment to document, store, and report on performance using the full set of uniform measures to be provided by ACF and using nFORM and the ACASI on-line applicant characteristics and pre- and post-tests.
  • The applicant affirms a commitment to conduct a local evaluation.
  • The applicant affirms a commitment to participate in all aspects of any federally sponsored evaluation as a condition of acceptance of funding, and indicates that they will be responsible for ensuring that partnering organizations comply with the condition of award, as detailed in the FOA.

After assessing the minimum threshold, all applicants’ plan, strategy, and capacity to address the performance measurement data and local evaluation requirements adequately will be reviewed and assessed using the following criteria.

0-12 points (applied to Performance Measurement Data and Local Evaluation combined) for the extent to which:

Performance Measurement Data

  • The applicant sufficiently describes comprehensive processes planned or in place to collect data in a uniform, systematic manner while maintaining participant privacy.
  • The applicant’s plan is consistent with the scope of the data collection effort. Further, the applicant satisfactorily addresses all components as described in the FOA with regard to:
    • staff readiness;
    • the process for whether and how partners will be involved in performance measure data collection and/or storage and/or reporting; and 
    • a rigorous process for completing applicant characteristics and pre- and post-tests.
  • The applicant provides sufficient detail about the staffing, training and resources to monitor and report on all components described in Section IV.2. Project Description, Program Performance Evaluation Plan.
  • The applicant describes a complete process to-date, and intended process in the future, of consultation with key stakeholders, including community stakeholders, in developing the performance management data collection plan.
  • The applicant indicates tasks that are consistent with the goals of the planning period, including efforts that will improve the quality of the performance measurement data.

Local Evaluation Plan

  • The applicant proposes a local evaluation plan with adequate detail on how the local evaluation will accomplish a successful study related to a specific research question(s) that is consistent with all components described in Section IV.2. Project Description, Funded Activities Evaluation Plan.
  • The applicant’s plan sufficiently describes the research question(s), research design, sample and sample size, and data collection (including measures) that is consistent with all components described in Section IV.2. Project Description, Funded Activities Evaluation Plan.
  • The applicant satisfactorily describes plans for training data collectors, and for regularly reviewing submitted data to assess and swiftly address problems.
  • The applicant’s plan clearly describes how the local evaluation, as designed, will inform future programming and expand the evidence base, how analyses of data will clearly support final reported results, and describes targets for dissemination.
  • The applicant indicates tasks that are consistent with the goals of the planning period, including efforts that will improve the quality of the local evaluation.
  • The applicant addresses all components related to a local evaluator, including a signed letter of agreement with a local evaluator to conduct the local evaluation independently. The letter from the evaluator clearly indicates an understanding of potential federal evaluation and need for IRB oversight.
  • The applicant includes a sound plan for securing informed consent (where appropriate) and working with an IRB for approval of the proposed design and processes. The applicant names the specific IRB to which it expects to apply.
  • The applicant’s local evaluation plan documents sufficient existing and planned input from partners that is consistent with all components described in Section IV.2. Project Description, Funded Activities Evaluation Plan.  
PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND STAFFING Maximum Points: 15

The applicant’s capacity and experience to adequately develop, oversee, manage, staff, and comply with all aspects of a healthy marriage and relationship education program will be reviewed and assessed using the following criteria.

0-15 points for the extent to which:

  • The applicant's project management approach clearly describes the intended leadership structure and lines of accountability, including a dedicated project director.  Proposed senior staff has documented experience with project management and decision-making processes.
  • The applicant identifies each key staff, including those responsible for direct program oversight (including oversight of partners), management, implementation, local evaluation and performance assessments of the proposed project. The applicant notes whether any positions are vacant, includes job descriptions for vacant positions, and proposes a reasonable and clear approach to filling them.
  • The applicant includes detailed information about collaborations, partnerships, and MOUs or Third-party Agreements with organizations and stakeholders that the applicant indicates will be responsible for aspects of the program, will serve as sources of participant recruitment, or will provide services to program participants on a referral basis.
  • The applicant’s proposed staffing plan demonstrates a sound relationship between the expertise required for key positions and the educational and professional qualifications of the proposed staff, and includes resumes of key staff and consultants which correspond to the organizational chart.
  • The applicant includes a written statement regarding its understanding of activities that are not allowable under this grant, such as using funds for abstinence education programs, non-programmatic capacity-building, train-the-trainer programs, and no fee-for-service provision.  The statement(s) confirms the applicant's commitment not to provide any unallowable activities under this funding.
  • The applicant demonstrates an understanding of the non-supplantation provision of the FOA and includes a written statement to comply with the provision.
BUDGET AND BUDGET JUSTIFICATION Maximum Points: 15

The applicant’s line-item budget and budget justification will be reviewed and assessed for thoroughness, soundness and accountability under the following criteria.

0-15 points for the extent to which:

General

  • The applicant includes a line-budget and budget justifications for all operating expenses that are consistent with the proposed project objectives and activities. The narrative budget justification clearly states how each line item will be used. The applicant provided information about how the funds will be allocated among the program components proposed, including all required items, such as travel to attend the entrance conference and biennial meetings in Washington, DC, and any roundtable meetings.
  • The applicant’s project costs are allowable, reasonable, allocable, necessary, and are commensurate with the types and range of activities and services to be conducted, the number of participants to be served, and the expected goals and objectives.
  • The applicant describes a plan for overall fiscal management, including internal and third-party financial monitoring systems that demonstrate structure and accountability for applicant and any sub-contractors.

Performance Measurement Data 

  • The applicant’s budget is consistent with the proposed plan for the grantee itself as well as for partner agency, evaluators, and others’ involvement in performance measure data collection and/or storage and/or reporting.
  • For the ACASI online applicant characteristics and pre- and post-test survey, the applicant’s budget adequately reflects purchase of computers or tablets appropriate to the technical requirements for the online survey and communication with the identified MIS system.
  • With regard to nFORM, the applicant’s budget reflects appropriate costs for staffing, qualifications, and essential initial and maintenance training.
  • The applicant’s budget reflects appropriate costs for staffing, training, and resources to monitor and report.
  • The applicant’ budget allocates adequate funding for costs related to all planning period tasks associated with performance measurement data.

Local Evaluation Plan 

  • The applicant’s budget for the local evaluation is clearly detailed, with costs identified for staffing and subcontract agreements and other direct costs that are consistent with the identified plan and timeline.
  • The applicant’s budget allocates funding for local evaluation in accordance with the level of federal funds being requested and for costs related to all planning period tasks associated with the local evaluation.

Subsidized Employment

In addition to the above criteria, applicants that propose to include subsidized employment services will also have their line-item budget and budget justification reviewed and assessed under the following criterion:

  • The applicant clearly outlines in the line-item budget and budget narrative, the financial obligations of both the applicant and the employer(s).

 

BONUS POINTS Maximum Points: 5

Impact Evaluation

0 or 5 points:

The following criteria will be applied to applicants that propose local impact evaluations with an RCT. Only those applicants meeting all criteria will receive bonus points. There will be no award of partial points.

(1)      RCT-relevant research question(s). The applicant’s research question(s) proposed is appropriate for an RCT-design   study. 

(2)      Random assignment.

 a.  Method/timing of random assignment. The applicant describes an appropriate method and timing for how and when random assignment will be conducted, and how it will be monitored so that those assigned to specific comparison groups do not receive program services during the designated research period. 

b.  Comparability of research groups. The applicant describes appropriate methods to determine/monitor the comparability of the research groups

(3)      Sample.

a.    Unit of analysis and target population(s). The applicant states the unit of analysis (e.g., non-residential father, unmarried couple). The applicant describes the target population(s) for their research project, and whether the population(s) differs from those who will be served by the grant in general.

 b.     Sample size. The applicant states the intended sample size (overall and by year), and the estimated attrition and the anticipated size of the final sample to be used for analyses. The applicant presents a satisfactory power analysis, demonstrating that proposed sample sizes will be able to detect expected effect sizes for the outcomes targeted.

 Methods to promote sufficient program participation. The applicant describes appropriate methods to ensure that sufficient sample is recruited, enrolls, and participates in the program.

V.2. & V.3. Review and Selection Process
V.2. Review and Selection Process

No grant award will be made under this announcement on the basis of an incomplete application.  No grant award will be made to an applicant or sub-recipient that does not have a DUNS number (www.dbn.com) and an active registration at SAM (www.sam.gov). See Section III.3. Other.

Initial ACF Screening

Each application will be screened to determine whether it meets any of the disqualification factors described in Section III.3.Other, Application Disqualification Factors.

Disqualified applications are considered to be “non-responsive” and are excluded from the competitive review process. Applicants will be notified of a disqualification determination by email or by USPS postal mail within 30 federal business days from the closing date of this funding opportunity announcement.

Objective Review and Results

Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated by objective review panels using only the criteria described in Section V.1. Criteria of this announcement. Each panel is composed of experts with knowledge and experience in the area under review. Generally, review panels include three reviewers and one chairperson.

Results of the competitive objective review are taken into consideration by ACF in the selection of projects for funding; however, objective review scores and rankings are not binding. Scores and rankings are only one element used in the award decision-making process.

ACF may elect not to fund applicants with management or financial problems that would indicate an inability to successfully complete the proposed project. Applications may be funded in whole or in part. Successful applicants may be funded at an amount lower than that requested. ACF reserves the right to consider preferences to fund organizations serving emerging, unserved, or under-served populations, including those populations located in pockets of poverty. ACF will also consider the geographic distribution of federal funds in its award decisions.

Please refer to Section IV.2. of this announcement for information on non-federal reviewers in the review process.

Approved but Unfunded Applications

Applications recommended for approval that were not funded under the competition because of the lack of available funds may be held over by ACF and reconsidered in a subsequent review cycle if a future competition under the program area is planned.  These applications will be held over for a period of up to one year and will be re-competed for funding with all other competing applications in the next available review cycle.  For those applications that have been deemed as approved but unfunded, notice will be given of such determination by postal mail.

 
V.3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
Announcement of awards and the disposition of applications will be provided to applicants at a later date.
VI. Award Administration Information
VI.1. Award Notices

Successful applicants will be notified through the issuance of a Notice of Award (NoA) that sets forth the amount of funds granted, the terms and conditions of the grant, the effective date of the grant, the budget period for which initial support will be given, the non-federal share to be provided (if applicable), and the total project period for which support is contemplated. The NoA will be signed by the Grants Officer and transmitted via postal mail, email, or by GrantSolutions.gov or the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES), whichever is relevant. Following the finalization of funding decisions, organizations whose applications will not be funded will be notified by letter signed by the cognizant Program Office head. Any other correspondence that announces to a Principal Investigator, or a Project Director, that an application was selected is not an authorization to begin performance. 

Project costs that are incurred prior to the receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk and may be reimbursed only to the extent that they are considered allowable as approved pre-award costs. Information on allowable pre-award costs and the time period under which they may be incurred is available in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions.

 
VI.2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Awards issued under this announcement are subject to 45 CFR Part 75 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is available at http://www.gpo.gov.

An application funded with the release of federal funds through a grant award does not constitute, or imply, compliance with federal regulations. Funded organizations are responsible for ensuring that their activities comply with all applicable federal regulations. 

Prohibition Against Profit

Grantees are subject to the limitations set forth in 45 CFR § 75.215, Special provisions for awards to commercial organizations as recipients (45 CFR § 75.215(b)_Prohibition against profit.), which states that, "...no HHS funds may be paid as profit to any recipient even if the recipient is a commercial organization. Profit is any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs." 

Equal Treatment for Faith-Based Organizations

Grantees are also subject to the requirements of 45 CFR § 87.1(c), Equal Treatment for Faith-Based Organizations, which says, "Organizations that receive direct financial assistance from the [Health and Human Services] Department under any Department program may not engage in inherently religious activities such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization, as part of the programs or services funded with direct financial assistance from the Department." Therefore, organizations must take steps to completely separate the presentation of any program with religious content from the presentation of the Federally funded program by time or location in such a way that it is clear that the two programs are separate and distinct. If separating the two programs by time but presenting them in the same location, one program must completely end before the other program begins.

A faith-based organization receiving HHS funds retains its independence from federal, state, and local governments, and may continue to carry out its mission, including the definition, practice, and expression of its religious beliefs. For example, a faith-based organization may use space in its facilities to provide secular programs or services funded with federal funds without removing religious art, icons, scriptures, or other religious symbols. In addition, a faith-based organization that receives federal funds retains its authority over its internal governance, and it may retain religious terms in its organization's name, select its board members on a religious basis, and include religious references in its organization's mission statements and other governing documents in accordance with all program requirements, statutes, and other applicable requirements governing the conduct of HHS-funded activities. 

Regulations pertaining to the Equal Treatment for Faith-Based Organizations, which includes the prohibition against federal funding of inherently religious activities, Understanding the Regulations Related to the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Initiative" are available at http://www.hh s.gov/ partner ships /about/r egulations/. Additional information, resources, and tools for faith-based organizations is available through The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships website at http://www.hhs.gov/ partnerships/ index.html and at the https://www.acf.hhs.gov /progra ms/ocs
/resource/capacity- building- toolkits-for- faith-based-and -community- organizations
.

Award Term and Condition under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000

Awards issued under this announcement are subject to the requirements of Section 106 (g) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended (22 U.S.C. § 7104).  For the full text of the award term, go to http://www.acf.hhs.gov / grants/ award-term- and- condition -for-trafficking- in-persons. If you are unable to access this link, please contact the Grants Management Contact identified in Section VII. Agency Contacts of this announcement to obtain a copy of the term.

Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. §§ 8101-8106) requires that all organizations receiving grants from any federal agency agree to maintain a drug-free workplace. By signing the application, the Authorizing Official agrees that the grantee will provide a drug-free workplace and will comply with the requirement to notify ACF if an employee is convicted of violating a criminal drug statute. Failure to comply with these requirements may be cause for debarment. Government-wide requirements for Drug-Free Workplace for Financial Assistance are found in 2 CFR Part 182; HHS implementing regulations are set forth in 2 CFR § 382.400. All recipients of ACF grant funds must comply with the requirements in Subpart B - Requirements for Recipients Other Than Individuals, 2 CFR § 382.225. The rule is available at http://www.gpo.gov /fdsys /pkg/
CFR-2001-title45-vol1/content-detail.html
.

Debarment and Suspension

HHS regulations published in 2 CFR Part 376 implement the governmentwide debarment and suspension system guidance (2 CFR Part 180) for HHS' non-procurement programs and activities. "Non-procurement transactions" include, among other things, grants, cooperative agreements, scholarships, fellowships, and loans. ACF implements the HHS Debarment and Suspension regulations as a term and condition of award. Grantees may decide the method and frequency by which this determination is made and may check the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) located at https://www.s am.gov/, although checking the EPLS is not required. More information is available at  https://w ww.acf.hhs.gov/ grants-forms.

Pro-Children Act

The Pro-Children Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. §§ 7181 through 7184, imposes restrictions on smoking in facilities where federally funded children's services are provided. HHS grants are subject to these requirements only if they meet the Act's specified coverage. The Act specifies that smoking is prohibited in any indoor facility (owned, leased, or contracted for) used for the routine or regular provision of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary education or library services to children under the age of 18.  In addition, smoking is prohibited in any indoor facility or portion of a facility (owned, leased, or contracted for) used for the routine or regular provision of federally funded health care, day care, or early childhood development, including Head Start services to children under the age of 18. The statutory prohibition also applies if such facilities are constructed, operated, or maintained with federal funds. The statute does not apply to children's services provided in private residences, facilities funded solely by Medicare or Medicaid funds, portions of facilities used for inpatient drug or alcohol treatment, or facilities where WIC coupons are redeemed. Failure to comply with the provisions of the law may result in the imposition of a civil monetary penalty of up to $1,000 per violation and/or the imposition of an administrative compliance order on the responsible entity.

HHS Grants Policy Statement

The HHS Grants Policy Statement (HHS GPS) is the Department of Health and Human Services' single policy guide for discretionary grants and cooperative agreements.  ACF grant awards are subject to the requirements of the HHS GPS, which covers basic grants processes, standard terms and conditions, and points of contact, as well as important agency-specific requirements.  Appendices to the HHS GPS include a glossary of terms and a list of standard abbreviations for ease of reference.  The general terms and conditions in the HHS GPS will apply as indicated unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary that are specified in the Notice of Award (NOA). The HHS GPS is available at https://www.acf.hhs.go v/
grants/ discretionary-competitive-grants


Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Applications funded by federal grant programs are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552. Such applications are frequently requested under the FOIA, consistent with the FOIA’s requirement to proactively disclose frequently requested materials at 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2)(D). Each released application will receive appropriate redaction of specific information to protect personal privacy and competitively sensitive commercial information. Information on filing a FOIA request is available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/submit-a-foia-request.

  

Award Term and Condition under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Recipients of federal financial assistance must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and in some cases sex and religion. The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance to grantees in complying with civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination. www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html.

HHS provides guidance to recipients of federal financial assistance on meeting the legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to persons with limited English proficiency. www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. Recipients must ensure their contractors and sub-recipients also comply with federal civil rights laws.

 

Award Term and Condition for Unpaid Federal Tax Liability

Grantees are subject to the requirement contained in Section 744 of the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015,” (Pub.L. 113-235, Title VII, General Provisions – Government-Wide), which says “None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to enter into a contract, memorandum of understanding, or cooperative agreement with, make a grant to, or provide a loan or loan guarantee to, any corporation that has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, where the awarding agency is aware of the unpaid tax liability, unless a Federal agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and has made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government."

VI.3. Reporting

Grantees under this funding opportunity announcement will be required to submit performance progress and financial reports periodically throughout the project period. The frequency of required reporting is listed later in this section.

Performance Progress Reports (PPR)

Notice of Award (NoA) documents will inform grantees of the appropriate performance progress report form or format to use. Grantees should consult their Notice of Award documents to determine the appropriate performance progress report format required under their award.  Performance progress reports are due 30 days after the end of the reporting period. Final program performance reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period. 

For awards that implement the use of the ACF-OGM-SF-PPR, the form is available under "Reporting, Disclosures, and other Standard Forms" at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/forms#chapter-4.

Federal Financial Reports (FFR)

ACF grantees are required to use the SF-425 Federal Financial Report (FFR) for expenditure reporting.  SF-425 reports will be due as frequently as is required in the terms and conditions of their award using due dates from reports to PMS.  The SF-269 is no longer accepted for expenditure reports. If an SF-269 is submitted, the ACF will return it and require the recipient to complete the SF-425.

All expenditure reports will be due on one of the standard due dates by which cash reporting is required to be submitted to PMS or at the end of a calendar quarter as determined by ACF. As a result, a recipient that receives awards from more than one federal program may be subject to more than one approach, but will not be required to change its current means of submission or be subjected to more than eight standard due dates. A final cumulative SF-425 is due 90 days after the close of the project period.

For budget periods ending in the months of: The FFR (SF425) is due to ACF on:
 January 01 - March 31  April 30
 April 01 - June 30  July 30
 July 01 - September 30  October 30
 October 01 - December 31  January 30


The SF-425 form in Adobe PDF and MS-Excel formats, along with instructions, is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ grants_forms.

For planning purposes, ACF reporting periods for awards made under this announcement are as follows:

 
Performance Progress Reports: Quarterly
Financial Reports: Quarterly


Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) Subaward and Executive Compensation

Awards issued as a result of this funding opportunity may be subject to the Transparency Act subaward and executive compensation reporting requirements of 2 CFR Part 170.  See ACF's Award Term for Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) Subaward and Executive Compensation Reporting Requirement implementing this requirement and additional award applicability information at https:// www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants/ discretionary-competitive-grants.

Tangible Property Report (SF-428)

All ACF grantees are required to submit the Tangible Personal Property Form (SF-428).  The
SF-428 is a standard form used to collect information related to tangible personal property: equipment with a unit cost of $5,000 or more, and residual supplies with an aggregate fair market value exceeding $5,000.  The form consists of the cover sheet and three attachments to be used as required by the terms and conditions of the award:  Annual Report; Final Report and a Disposition Request.  A Supplemental Sheet, SF-428S, may be used to provide detailed individual item information. The form is available at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/ omb/ grants_forms.

Real Property Status Report (SF-429)

All ACF grantees are required to submit the Real Property Status Report SF-429, if applicable.  The SF-429 is a standard report to be used by recipients of federal financial assistance to report real property status or to request agency instructions on real property that is provided as Government Furnished Property (GFP) or acquired (i.e., purchased, constructed, or renovated) in whole or in part under a Notice of Award. This form consists of the cover sheet and three attachments to be used as frequently as required in the terms and conditions of the award:  General reporting (SF-429A, Attachment A), Request to Acquire, Improve or Furnish (SF-429B, Attachment B), or Disposition or Encumberance Request (SF-429C, Attachment C). The forms are available at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/ omb/ grants_forms.

Quarterly Progress Reports (QPR)

In addition to PPRs, grantees will be required to submit quarterly progress reports (to alternate with PPRs – that is, a QPR after months 3, and PPR after month 6, a QPR after month 9, and a PPR after month 12). Further information may be found at www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​.

Note: Consistent with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3521, under this FOA, OFA will not conduct or sponsor – and a person is not required to respond to - a collection of information covered by such Act, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OFA is seeking approval of its performance measures through the OMB OIRA. OFA will not request this information if these performance measures are not approved at the time that reports are due.

VII. Agency Contacts

Program Office Contact

Rosalind Ginyard
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Family Assistance
Aerospace Building
901 D St SW
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: (202) 401-4989
Fax: (202) 401-5554
Email: Rosalind.Ginyard@ACF.hhs.gov
 

Office of Grants Management Contact

Tim Chappelle
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Administration
Office of Grants Management
Aerospace Building
901 D St SW
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: (202) 401-4855
Email: Tim.Chappelle@ACF.hhs.gov
 

Federal Relay Service:

Hearing-impaired and speech-impaired callers may contact the Federal Relay Service for assistance at 1-800-877-8339 (TTY - Text Telephone or ASCII - American Standard Code For Information Interchange).

VIII. Other Information

Reference Websites


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) http://www.hhs.gov/.

HHS Grants Forecast http://www.acf.hhs.gov/ hhsgrantsforecast/index.cfm.

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) http://www.acf.hhs.gov/.

ACF Grants Homepage https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ grants.    

ACF Funding Opportunities http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/.

ACF "How to Apply for a Grant" https://www.acf. hhs.gov/ grants/ how-to-apply-for-grants.       

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) https://www.cfda.gov/.

For submission of a paper format application, all required Standard Forms (SF), assurances, and certifications are available on the ACF Grants-Forms page at
https://www. acf.hhs.gov/grants-forms
.

Standard grant forms are available at the Grants.gov Forms Repository webpage at  http:// www.grants.gov/web/ grants/forms/sf-424- family.html.

For information regarding accessibility issues, visit the Grants.gov Accessibility Compliance Page at http://www07.grants.gov/ web/ grants/ support/ technical-support/
accessibility-compliance.html
.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.  

The Federal Register https://www.federalregister.gov/.

United States Code (U.S.C.)  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following are additional resources that may be useful to applicants and grantees as they design and implement their programs. Applicants and grantees are not required to use these resources.

Local Evaluation

The Fatherhood and Marriage Local Evaluation and Cross-Site Project’s website, which has resources for developing programming and local evaluation plans: http​://www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​

Webinar Series

ACF expects to conduct a series of webinars on all Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood funding opportunity announcements within 15 business days from the date the FOAs are published. Applicants are encouraged check the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood website at https​://hmrf​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/ for more information on dates, times and webinar registration.

Webinars will also be conducted to discuss performance measure requirements, the nFORM Management Information System, and local evaluation requirements. Also, a webinar describing two federal evaluations (Building Bridges and Bonds, or B3; and Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services, or STREAMS) will be conducted. Applicants are encouraged to check the website http​://www​.famle​cross​-site​.info​ website for more information on dates, times and webinar registration. Webinars will be archived on this website for those that cannot attend.

Employment and Economic Stability Resources

To assist in the development of comprehensive employment strategies for project participants, ACF developed the Within Reach: Strategies for Improving Family Economic Stability toolkit which provides a 360-degree conceptual model for helping low-skill, disadvantaged populations access employment opportunities and supportive services that build toward greater economic self-sufficiency (https​://hmrf​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/toolk​its​-and​-train​ings​/withi​n​-reach​-strat​egies​-for​-impro​ving​-famil​y​-econo​mic​-stabi​lity​/).

Building Financial Capability

ACF’s Office of Community Services resource guide, Building Financial Capability: A Planning Guide for Integrated Services, is an interactive guide for community-based organizations interested in integrating financial capability services into existing programs. The interactive tools in the guide walk organizations step-by-step through the process of developing an integration plan, beginning with developing a deeper understanding of clients’ financial circumstances and which financial capability services can help them improve their situations. The guide also includes tools to help organizations determine how best to provide financial capability services—whether through referrals, partnerships, or in-house. The final step in the process is the creation of a logic model that serves as a comprehensive roadmap for implementing the integration plan. Building Financial Capability is a practical resource for organizations providing financial capability services for the first time as well as those that want to improve or expand existing efforts.

http​:/ /www​. acf​.hhs​. gov​/prog​ rams​/ ocs​/resou​rce​ /afi​-resou​rce​ ​;-guide​- ​;build​ing​-f​ inanc​ial​-c​ ​;apabi​lity​.

Curriculum

Frequently used HMRE curricula have been reviewed, categorized, and summarized on this website: http​://hmrfc​urric​ulum​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/.

Domestic Violence Resources

National Hotlines - Free and confidential help is available for victims of domestic violence 24 hours a day. The following hotlines can help victims of domestic violence and sexual violence find support and assistance in their communities:

Domestic Violence Coalitions

Each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa have a Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funded Domestic Violence Coalition. These coalitions are connected to more than 2,000 local domestic violence programs receiving FVPSA funding across the country. Every coalition provides comprehensive training and technical assistance on a variety of social, legal, and economic issues that affect victims’ safety and well-being. Coalitions partner with government, private industry, non-profit organizations, faith-based communities, and other stakeholders to effectively coordinate and improve the human services available to victims and their dependents.

Additional information about FVPSA funded domestic violence coalitions can be found at: http​://www​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/progr​ams​/fysb​/resou​rce​/dvcoa​litio​ns​.

Application Checklist

Applicants may use the checklist below as a guide when preparing your application package.
 
What to Submit Where Found When to Submit

DUNS Number (Universal Identifier) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration.

Referenced in Section III.3. Other in the announcement.

To obtain a DUNS number, go to

http​://fedgo​v​.dnb​.com​/webfo​rm​.

To register at SAM, go to http​://www​.sam​.gov​.

A DUNS number and registration at SAM.gov are required for all applicants.

Active registration at SAM must be maintained throughout the application
and project award period.

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

"Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying" is referenced in
Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

For electronic application submission, this form is available on
the FOA's Grants.gov "Download Opportunity Instructions and Application"
page under "Download Application Package" in the section entitled, "Optional."

The form is available in the electronic application kit at Grants.gov

and at http​://www​.grant​s​.gov​/ web​/ grant​s​/ forms​.html​ by using the link to "SF-424 Family."

If applicable, submission of this form is required if any funds have been
paid, or will be paid, to any person for influencing, or attempting to influence,
an officer or employee of any agency, a member of Congress, an officer or
employee of Congress, or an employee of a member of Congress in connection
with this commitment providing for the United States to insure or guarantee a loan.

If submission of this form is applicable, it is due at the time of application. 
If it not available at the time of application, it may also be submitted prior to the
award of a grant.

SF-424A - Budget Information - Non- Construction Programs

and

SF-424B - Assurances - Non- Construction Programs

Referenced in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

For electronic application submission, these forms are available on the FOA's Grants.gov "Download Opportunity Instructions and Application" page under "Download Application Package" in the section entitled, "Mandatory."

Also available at 
http​://www​.grant​s​.gov​/ web​/ grant​s​/ forms​.html​ by
using the link to "SF-424 Family."

These forms are required for applications under this FOA:

  •  Projects that include only non-construction activities must submit the SF-424A and SF-424B, along with the SF-424 and SF-P/PSL.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

 

Certification Regarding Lobbying
(Grants.gov Lobbying Form)

Referenced in Section IV.2. Required
Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

For electronic application
submission, these forms are available
on the FOA's Grants.gov page under the
"Application Package" tab
in the section entitled, "Mandatory."

Available at http​://www​. grant​s​.gov​/ web​/ grant​s​/ forms​. html​ by using the link to "SF-424 Family."

 

Submission is due with the application package. If it is not
submitted with the application package, it must be submitted prior
to the award of a grant.

Protection of Human Subjects Assurance Identification / IRB Certification / Declaration of Exemption (Common Rule)

Referenced in Section IV.2. Forms, Assurances, and Certifications
Additional information and necessary forms are available at

http​://www​.hhs​.gov​/ ohrp​/ assur​ances​/ forms​/ index​.html​.

For electronic application submission, this form is available on the FOA's Grants.gov "Download Opportunity Instructions and Application" page under "Download Application Package" in the section entitled, "Optional."

The form is also available at http​:// www​. grant​s​. gov​/ web​/ grant​s​/forms​.html​

by using the link to "SF-424 Family."

Submission of the required information and forms is due with the application package
by the due date listed in the Overview
and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times. If the information is not
available at the time of application, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

Referenced in Section IV.2.Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

For electronic application submission, these forms are available on the
FOA's Grants.gov "Download Opportunity Instructions and Application" page
under "Download Application Package" in the section entitled, "Mandatory."

Also available at http​://www​.grant​s​.gov​/web​/ grant​s​/ forms​.html​

by using the link to "SF-424 Family."

Submission is due by the application due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Do not attach required application elements or additional
pages to the SF-424 at Questions 14 or 15!
See Section IV.2. Formatting ACF Applications.

SF-Project/Performance Site Location(s) (SF-P/PSL)

Referenced in Section IV.2.Required Forms, Assurances, and Certifications.

For electronic application submission, these forms are available on the
FOA's Grants.gov "Download Opportunity Instructions and Application" page
under "Download Application Package" in the section entitled, "Mandatory."

Also available at http​://www​.grant​s​.gov​/web​/ grant​s​/ forms​.html​ 

by using the link to "SF-424 Family."

Submission is due by the application due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Table of Contents

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description

Submit with the application by the due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Project Summary/Abstract

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description. The Project
Summary/Abstract is limited to one single-spaced page.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

The Project Description

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Objectives and Need for Assistance

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Outcomes Expected

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Approach

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Project Timeline and Milestones

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Proof of Non-Profit Status

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

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

Logic Model

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.  

Submission is due with the application package by the
application due date found in the Overview and in
Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times
.

Organizational Capacity

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Plan for Oversight of Federal Award Funds

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Geographic Location

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

The Project Budget and Budget Justification

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Budget and Budget Justification of the announcement.

Submission is required in addition to submission of SF-424A or SF-424C.
It must be submitted with the application package by the due date in the Overview and in
Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times
.

Program Performance Evaluation Plan

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Funded Activities Plan

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Project Sustainability Plan

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description

Submission is due by the application due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.3. Submission Dates and Times.

Written certifications and assurances statements for Use of Funds, Data and Local Evaluation, Federal Evaluation, Non-Supplanting, and Voluntary Participation 

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Third-Party Agreements (also, MOUs and Consortia Agreements)

Referenced in Section IV.2. Project Description.

If available, submission is due by the application due date
found in the Overview and in Section IV.3
If not available at the time of application submission,
due by the time of award.

Resumes

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Signed Letter of Agreement with a local evaluator

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (IDR)

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Budget and Budget Justification
The IDR must be submitted with the application package. 

If the IDR is available by the application due date, it must be
submitted with the application package.  If it is not available by the application
due date, listed in the Overview and Section IV.3. Submission Dates and
Times
, it may be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Job Descriptions

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

Submission due by the application due date found in Overview and Section IV.3.

Appendix

Standards for Grantee-level, Independent Evaluation Plans (to Be Developed during Planning Period)

Note: Consistent with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3521, under this FOA, OFA will not conduct or sponsor  and a person is not required to respond to - a collection of information covered by such Act, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OFA is seeking approval of a local evaluation descriptive template through the OMB OIRA. OFA will not request this information if this template is not approved at the time that reports are due.

During the planning period, grantees and their local evaluators are required to work with ACF to refine, improve, pilot (if possible), and make necessary changes to the evaluation design/methods: a final evaluation design will be drafted and proposed during this planning period. This Appendix specifies the minimum areas that will be addressed with each evaluation design.

(1)   Research question(s). State the research question(s) with specificity, including the outcomes (such as program implementation features or participant outcomes) to be studied to answer the research question.

(2)   Background. Describe previous literature or existing research which informs your research questions, and how your project will expand the evidence-base.

(3)   Relation to program logic model (i.e., why a program would create the change it expects). Link the research question(s) (and the implementation features and/or participant outcomes) to the logic model and the theory of change proposed for the program.

(4)   Hypotheses. State the hypothesized result(s) of the evaluation (pair each hypothesis with a specific research question), and briefly describe why these results are anticipated.

(5)   Research design. Describe the research design proposed to answer the research question(s). Justify why the proposed research design is best-suited to answer the research question(s). If the design will include a program and control or comparison group(s), specify how the group(s) will be formed or selected and differentiate the programming for which each will be eligible. If multiple waves of data collection will be conducted, describe the timing of these waves (when naming follow-up periods, specify whether the follow-up period will be post-baseline or post-program completion). Performance measures, which are required to be collected at program entry and exit, may be considered part of your data collection plan. Also describe how respondents will be tracked over time for later data collection.

(6)   Methods to develop research groups (if two (or more) groups will not be compared, this issue does not need to be addressed.) The control/comparison group and the program/treatment group should be assigned at random or matched on key characteristics.

(a)   Random assignment. If random assignment will be conducted, describe how and when random assignment will be conducted. Describe how random assignment will be monitored so that those assigned to specific research groups do not cross-over. Describe methods to monitor the comparability of the research groups.

(b)   Comparison group. If a comparison group(s) will be created, describe how and when the comparison group will be identified. Detail steps that will be taken to increase the likelihood that participants in both the program/treatment and comparison groups of the project are similar. Describe methods to monitor the comparability of the research groups.

(c)    Other method(s). If another type of evaluation research design is proposed, such as a regression discontinuity or a single case design, include an adequate description and justification that the proposed design is the most rigorous design possible for addressing the questions of interest.

(7)   Lead staff. Clearly define the roles of lead staff for the evaluation, especially the Principal Investigator and/or Research Project Director. Articulate the experience, skills, and knowledge of the staff, as well as their ability to coordinate and support planning, implementation, and analysis related to a comprehensive evaluation plan. Include curriculum vitae for the Principal Investigator/Research Project Director and up to four more staff to be involved in the local evaluation in application appendices.

(8)   Sample.

(a)   Target population(s) and unit of analysis. Describe the target population(s), and explicitly state whether the population(s) differs from those who will be served by the grant in general. Describe how the target population will be identified. Explicitly state the unit of analysis (e.g., non-residential father, unmarried couple).

(b)   Sample size (If an impact evaluation is not proposed, this issue does not need to be addressed.) If an impact evaluation is proposed, state the intended sample size (overall and by year), estimated attrition, and the anticipated size of the analytic sample. Provide power analyses demonstrating that proposed sample sizes will be able to detect expected effect sizes for the outcomes targeted. Refer to previous studies of similar interventions for estimates of the sample your study will require, to inform power analyses.

(c)    Methods to promote sufficient program participation. Detail methods to ensure sufficient sample is recruited, enrolls, and participates in the program. Describe any incentives to be offered for program participation/completion and/or data collection.

(9)   Data collection.

(a)   Constructs and measures/data collection instruments. Clearly articulate the constructs of interest, measures to evaluate those constructs, and specific data collection instruments. Provide any information on the reliability and validity of the data collection instruments. If measures and data collection instruments will be determined during the course of the evaluation planning, describe the process to determine the measures and instruments, including any pre-testing of data collection instruments.

(b)   Consent (and assent) (if youth under the age of 18 will not be involved in the evaluation, the issue of assent does not need to be addressed). Describe how and when program applicants will be informed of the study and will have the option of agreeing (i.e., consenting to) or declining to participate in the study. If youth under the age of 18 will be involved in the evaluation, or other protected populations such as incarcerated individuals, describe how and when their parent(s) or guardian(s) will be informed of the study and will have the option of agreeing (i.e., consenting to) or declining that their child may participate in the study, and describe how and when youth will offer assent to agree or decline to participate in the evaluation.

(c)    Methods of data collection. Describe how data will be collected. Include a table detailing which data collection measures/instruments will be collected by which persons, and at what point in the programming, or at what follow-up point. Describe any incentives to be offered to participants for completing surveys or other data collection efforts.

(d)   Ensuring and monitoring high-quality data collection. Describe plans for training data collectors, and for refreshing data collectors about procedures. Detail plans to egularly review data that has been submitted, and assess and swiftly address problems.

(e)    Tracking participants and reducing attrition (if no post-program or follow-up surveys are proposed to be conducted, this issue does not need to be addressed.)  If post-program and/or follow-up surveys will be conducted with participants, describe plans for tracking participants in order to conduct follow-up surveys with as many participants as possible. Describe how you will monitor for both overall and differential attrition.

(10)  Privacy. Specify how the methods for data collection, storage, and transfer (e.g., transfer of performance data to the federal government) will ensure privacy for study participants.

(11)  IRB/Protection of human subjects. Include a description of the process for protection of human subjects and IRB review and approval of the proposed program and evaluation plans. Name the specific IRB to which you expect to apply. Additionally, include a federal-wide assurance in the Appendices of the application.

(12) Data. Describe the database into which data will be entered, that is nFORM and/or other databases, including both performance measure data and any additional local evaluation data. Describe the process for data entry (i.e., who will enter the data into the database)

(a)   Data reporting and transfer. Indicate the ability to produce reports (e.g., for OFA) and to export individual level data (with all of the above variables) to Excel or a comma-separated format.

(b)   Ability to link. Indicate an ability to maintain individual identifying information to facilitate linking to data from other sources (e.g., administrative data systems such as unemployment insurance).

(c)    Current security and confidentiality standards. Indicate the ability to be able to encrypt data access during transit (for example, accessed through an HTTPS connection), be able to encrypt data at rest (that is, when not in transit), have in place a data backup and recovery plan, require all users to have logins and passwords for them to access the data they are authorized to view, and have current anti-virus software installed to detect and address malware, such as viruses and worms.

(13)  Data Analysis. Briefly describe the analysis expected to be undertaken. If an impact analysis is proposed, name the key dependent and independent variables, and describe any methods to minimize Type I error (that is, finding positive impacts by chance) such as limiting the number of impacts to be analyzed and/or multiple comparison correction.

(14)  Dissemination. Briefly describe the dissemination efforts associated with the local evaluation to be undertaken, including any dissemination that will occur throughout the life of the evaluation (rather than after the evaluation is completed).