Administration for Children and Families
 
 
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
 
Family Strengthening Scholars
HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-PR-1209
Application Due Date: 07/14/2017
 
Family Strengthening Scholars
HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-PR-1209
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
    1. Overview
    2. Executive Summary
    1. Program Description
    2. Federal Award Information
    3. Eligibility Information
      1. Eligible Applicants
      2. Cost Sharing or Matching
      3. Other
    4. Application and Submission Information
      1. Address to Request Application Package
      2. Content and Form of Application Submission
      3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management
        (SAM)
      4. Submission Dates and Times
      5. Intergovernmental Review
      6. Funding Restrictions
      7. Other Submission Requirements
    5. Application Review Information
      1. Criteria
      2. Review and Selection Process
      3. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates
    6. Federal Award Administration Information
      1. Federal Award Notices
      2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
      3. Reporting
    7. HHS Awarding Agency Contact(s)
    8. Other Information
 
 
HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-PR-1209
Family Strengthening Scholars
ANNOUNCEMENT PUBLICATION | VALIDATE & APPROVE
Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
 
Funding Opportunity Title:Family Strengthening Scholars
Announcement Type:Initial
Funding Opportunity Number:HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-PR-1209
Primary CFDA Number: 93.086
Due Date For Letter of Intent: 06/26/2017
Due Date for Applications: 07/14/2017
 
Executive Summary

Notice: 

  • 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 https://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto.

The Administration for Child and Families (ACF), Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) is soliciting applications for the Family Strengthening Scholars grants to support dissertation research on healthy marriage (which may include relationship skills, conflict resolution, parenting in the context of marriage) policy issues. These grants are meant to build capacity in the research field to focus on questions that have direct implications for the healthy marriage field and to foster mentoring relationships between faculty members and high-quality doctoral students. These grants are intended to address issues of significance to inform policy decisions and solutions, particularly for underserved/understudied populations (e.g., low-income families, minority populations), use rigorous research methodology (both primary data collection and secondary data analysis), and help inform the development of future intervention research. For further information about OPRE, see http​://www​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/progr​ams​/opre​/. Awards are dependent upon the availability of funds and the best interest of the federal government.

I. Program Description

Statutory Authority

The Family Strengthening Scholars grants will be funded under the authority of the the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-291).

Description

Background

Family Strengthening Scholars grants are to support dissertation research to build empirical evidence in the field of healthy marriage (which may include relationship skills, conflict resolution, and parenting in the context of marriage) and to strengthen the capacity of next generation researchers to conduct rigorous, research related to family programs.  These grants are also meant to help graduate students form active, collaborative partnerships with healthy marriage practitioners or healthy marriage programs.  These grants can support projects for either primary data collection efforts or secondary data analysis of datasets, including, but not limited to, Supporting Healthy Marriage, Building Strong Families, or Community Healthy Marriage Initiative datasets.

These grants inform healthy marriage programs funded under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program.  TANF was first authorized in 1996 as part of Title IV-A of the Social Security Act and has four main purposes:

1. Provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives;

2. End the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage;

3. Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and

4. Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

Healthy Marriage (HM) programs were initially authorized in 2005 in Title IV-A of the Social Security Act, specifically Section 403(a) (2) of the Act and were reauthorized as part of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-291). These discretionary grant programs were designed to offer marriage/relationship education and fatherhood engagement services to low-income families.  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):

1) Public advertising campaigns on the value of marriage and the skills needed to increase marital stability and health;

2) Education in high schools on the value of marriage, relationship skills, and budgeting;

3) Marriage 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; 

4) Marriage education for engaged couples and couples or individuals interested in marriage;

5) Marriage enhancement and marriage skills training programs for married couples;

6) Divorce reduction programs that teach relationship skills;

7) Marriage mentoring using married couples as role models and mentors; and

8) Programs to reduce the disincentives to marriage in means-tested programs, in conjunction with another activity from above.

The program legislation also authorizes grants for three fatherhood activities that include healthy marriage, responsible parenting, and economic stability are noted in statute. 

Family Strengthening Scholars' Goals

The overall mission of healthy marriage programs is to help couples who choose marriage for themselves to form and sustain healthy marriages. The goal of these programs is to help participants build and sustain healthy relationships and marriages.  Although much work has been done in the healthy marriage arena related to healthy marriage programs, more work is needed. Some specific areas where knowledge development is needed include:

  • understanding effective ways to reach and retain low-income couples for these programs;
  • developing effective measurement of relevant constructs in the context of low-income couples and families;
  • understanding the mediators and moderators of healthy marriage program impacts;
  • understanding features of these programs related to impacts in relevant domains;
  • establishing effective curricula for low-income couples enrolled in healthy marriage programs; and
  • understanding the impacts of healthy marriage programs on low-income couples and families.

The specific goals of the Family Strengthening Scholars grants are:

  • To address issues of significance related to low-income families in order to further the healthy marriage field.  These grants are meant to build capacity in the field and increase our understanding of understudied/underserved populations, and to further our understanding of effective healthy marriage programming.
  • To directly support graduate students’ engagement in healthy marriage research. Along with supporting the students' training and professional development as researchers, these grants contribute to the knowledge base about best approaches to delivering services to diverse, low-income families and their children. 
  • To foster mentoring relationships between faculty members and graduate students who are pursuing doctoral-level research in the healthy marriage field. Each student will work in partnership with a faculty mentor to foster the skills necessary to build a graduate student's career trajectory. Within this mentoring relationship, scholars are expected to become independent researchers with the skills necessary to address healthy marriage issues with a high level of technical quality.
  • To form collaborative partnerships with healthy marriage practitioners. Applicants for Family Strengthening Scholars grants are most likely to succeed if they address issues of significance related to healthy marriage services and programs and use the most rigorous research methodology to answer the selected research question(s).  In order to do so, applicants must consult with a healthy marriage administrator/practitioner in the development of the proposal. Examples of strong partnerships include, but are not limited to, working directly with a current or former Office of Family Assistance (OFA) HM/RF grantee. For a list of HM/RF grantees please see https​://www​.acf​.hhs​.gov​/sites​/defau​lt​/files​/ofa​/healt​hy_ma​rriag​e_and​_resp​onsib​le_fa​therh​ood_g​rante​es​.pdf​.  Another example of a strong partnership is forming a collaborative relationship with a local community organization that does healthy marriage work but is not a current OFA grantee. These collaborative partnerships are to strengthen the student’s dissertation work, and to help the student gain a greater understanding of healthy marriage work.  Additionally, these collaborative partnerships are meant to form a wider network of healthy marriage colleagues to further the student's professional development.
  • To encourage active communication, networking, and collaboration among graduate students, their mentors, and other senior healthy marriage researchers. Students are encouraged to connect with senior researchers whose research interests overlap with their projects. 
  • To disseminate information about good marriage relationship education and practices by building research and practice knowledge capacity, by increasing collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and capacity building among practitioners and researchers. In addition, OPRE sponsors various conferences and meetings, such as the Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS), where opportunities for collaboration, networking, and dissemination may be supported. To facilitate communication and dissemination between researchers, policymakers, and program administrators, grantees are required to participate in the following activities:
    • a. Conferences and Meetings. Participation in two conferences is mandatory. The first required conference is the grantee meeting that is anticipated to occur during the late Fall, likely in Washington, DC. Additionally, participation in the Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency Conference (RECS) (historically held in May) in Washington, DC is required. This is a bi-annual conference.  On the off years when RECS is not being held, grantees are required to attend an additional conference of their choice. The applicant’s proposed budget must reflect funds to cover travel, lodging, and other costs for the scholar. Mentors are only required to attend the grantee conference.  If funding for the faculty member and/or the student will come from another source of travel funds, this should be clearly noted in the application.
    • b. Research Briefs. Twice a year, the scholars are expected to prepare a 1-2 page brief describing the objectives, hypotheses, findings (when available), and the potential practice or policy implications of their research projects. The briefs will be posted on OPRE’s website, and distributed at the grantee conference.
    • c. Archiving and Publishing. The scholar must agree to archive his/her approved dissertation, reports, and other research products with the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families.  Additionally, data may be required to be archived with the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research.

Research topics that are of particular interest for this year's Family Strengthening Scholars grants include, but are not limited to:

  • Exploring mediators and moderators for program effects;
  • Effective ways to reach and retain low-income couples for healthy marriage programs;
  • Effective curricula and other features for couples enrolled in healthy marriage programs;
  • Outcomes from marriage/relationship programs, other than partnership status, such as family-wide outcomes, parenting, parent mental health, and child well-being;
  • Effects of mental health on couple and parent-child relationships, especially in the context of low-income families;
  • Program features associated with program outcomes (program characteristics, staff characteristics, curricula, dosage);
  • Studies that address measurement issues for healthy marriage programs;
  • Studies that highlight how to enhance employment outcomes in healthy marriage programs;
  • Effects of employment on parental relationship and parent-child relationship in the context of marriage; and
  • Cost-benefit analysis of healthy marriage programs.

Transferability

Grants awarded as a result of this competition are not transferable to another graduate student.

Grants awarded as a result of this competition are not transferable to another institution without prior approval from ACF.  In addition, grant funds may not be used to support project activities outside of the scope of the proposal of the awarded project without prior approval by ACF.

Sharing of Awards

The awards are for support of an individual graduate student researcher.  Awards cannot be divided among two or more students (i.e., no co-investigators). 

II. Federal Award Information
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Estimated Total Funding: $75,000
Expected Number of Awards: 3
Award Ceiling: $25,000 Per Budget Period
Award Floor: $10,000 Per Budget Period
Average Projected Award Amount: $25,000 Per Budget Period
Anticipated Project Start Date: 09/30/2017

Length of Project Periods:

Length of Project Period: 12-month project and budget period
24-month project with two 12-month budget periods

Applicants may choose whether they apply for funding for a 12-month project and budget period or a 24-month project with two 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, recipients 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 recipient'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.

Project Periods and Non-Competitive Continuation Awards

Applicants may apply for project periods up to 24 months.  Applicants proposing 12-month project periods will be awarded up to $25,000.  Applicants proposing 24-month project periods will be awarded up to $25,000 for the first 12-month budget period and up to $25,000 for the second 12-month budget period.

For projects with a 24-month period, initial awards will be made for the first 12-month budget period; continuation awards for the second 12-month budget period will be subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory progress by the grantee, and a determination that continued funding would be in the interest of the federal government.  Applicants proposing 24-month projects will receive instructions on how to submit non-competing continuation applications during the first budget period to request funds for the second budget period.

The 12-month or 24-month project period should be noted in Item 17 on the Standard Form (SF) 424 and the need for a 12-month or 24-month project period should be identified in the project narrative, budget and budget justification. 

Indirect Costs 

If the applicant's institution voluntarily relinquishes its indirect costs or chooses to apply off-campus research rates, an authorized representative of the institution must submit a written acknowledgement that the indirect costs are being relinquished or a lower rate is being used.  This voluntary decision to relinquish indirect costs or to apply off-campus research rates, will not impact whether or not an application is awarded.  

III. Eligibility Information

III.1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are public, private and state controlled institutions of higher education; state, county, city or township, and special district governments; independent school districts; non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations; small businesses; Native American tribal governments and organizations; public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities.

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. See Section IV.2. Legal Status of Applicant Entity for documentation required to support eligibility.

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.

See Section IV.2. Legal Status of Applicant Entity for documentation required to support eligibility.
 

III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost Sharing / Matching Requirement: No

For all federal awards, any shared costs or matching funds and all contributions, including cash and third-party in-kind contributions, must be accepted as part of the recipient’s cost sharing or matching when such contributions meet all of the criteria listed in 45 CFR 75.306.

For awards that require matching by statute, recipients 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 amount required by the statutory match. A recipient’s failure to provide the statutorily required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports.

For awards that do not require matching or cost sharing by statute, where “cost sharing” refers to any situation in which the recipient voluntarily shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching. These include situations in which contributions are voluntarily proposed by an applicant and are accepted by ACF. Non-federal cost sharing will be included in the approved project budget so that the applicant will be held accountable for proposed non-federal cost-sharing funds as shown in the Notice of Award (NOA). A recipient’s failure to provide voluntary cost sharing of non-federal resources that have been accepted by ACF as part of the approved project costs and that have been shown as part of the approved project budget in the NOA, may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports.

Non-federal resources will be evaluated under criteria found in Section V.1. of this announcement.
 

III.3. Other

The faculty mentor who will serve as Principal Investigator must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in a relevant field and conduct research as a primary professional responsibility. Faculty mentors with doctoral training and research expertise will be able to provide proper supervision and quality control over the research project to help ensure a quality end product.

Eligible U.S. institutions may apply on behalf of their own university faculty who will serve as a mentor and Principal Investigator for an international non-U.S. citizen who is an advanced graduate student enrolled in their program.

The graduate student is expected to have an approved dissertation proposal by the application due date (or no later than September 30, 2017) and must submit evidence with the application submission.

The applicant organization must have a history of research and budget oversight and must have appropriate resources to support the student.

Applicants are required to submit credentials and supporting documentation. See Section IV.2. Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation for more information.

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 ("per project period" refers only to fully funded awards), as stated in Section II. Federal 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 "ACF Policy for Requesting an Exemption from Electronic Application Submission" at www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto#chapter-6


Missing the Application Deadline (Late Applications)

The deadline for electronic application submission is 11:59 p.m., ET, on the due date listed in the Overview and in Section IV.4. 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.4. 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.

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 FOA.

IV. Application and Submission Information

IV.1. Address to Request Application Package

OPRE Review Team
Family Strengthening Scholars Grant Review
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050
Email: FSScholars@icfi.com


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 Forms Package available in the FOA's Grants.gov Synopsis under the Package tab at www.Grants.gov. 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 https://www.Grants.gov.

Federal Relay Service:
Hearing-impaired and speech-impaired callers may contact the Federal Relay Service (FedRelay) for assistance at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission

FORMATTING APPLICATION SUBMISSIONS

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.

Accepted Font Style
Applications must be in Times New Roman (TNR), 12-point font, except for footnotes, which may be TNR 10-point font.  Pages that contain blurred text, or text that is too small to read comfortably, will be removed. 

English Language
Applications must be submitted in the English language and must be in the terms of United States (U.S.) dollars. If applications are submitted using another currency, ACF will convert the foreign currency to U.S. currency using the date of receipt of the application to determine the rate of exchange.


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).

Corrections/Updates to Submitted Applications
When applicants make revisions to a previously submitted application, ACF will accept only the last on-time application for pre-review under the Application Disqualification Factors. The Application Disqualification Factors determine the application's acceptance for competitive review. See Section III.3. Application Disqualification Factors and Section IV.2. Application Submission Options.

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. All pages of the application must be readable. Pages with blurred text will be removed from the application.

PAGE LIMITATIONS AND CONTENT FOR ALL SUBMISSION FORMATS:

1. Page Limits and Numbering. Applicants must limit their entire application (both the Project Description File and the Appendices File) to 100 pages. Pages submitted beyond the first 100 in the application will be removed prior to panel review.

2. Writing Style. The proposal should be consistent with the format and style guidelines of the current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.  The research should comply with the "Ethical Standards" detailed in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002).

Organization of Application Submission:

Applicants are strongly advised to use headings and subheadings that correspond to the required information, the evaluation criteria, and required proposal sections. Applicants are further advised to include all required forms and materials. See additional instructions later in this section (under "The Project Description") for details on preparing the full project description.

Project Description:

1.  Table of Contents

2.  Project Summary/Abstract 

3.  Project Description/Narrative Statement

(a) Objectives and Need for Assistance 

(b) Approach 

(c) Expected Outcomes

(d) Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information

(e) Dissemination Plan  

(f) Project Timeline and Milestones

(g) Budget Justification Narrative

(h) References 

Appendices:

1. Letter of Support from Faculty Mentor (see Section IV.2 Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation).

2. Curricula Vitae for Student and Principal Investigator/Faculty Mentor (see Section IV.2 Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation).

3. Official Transcript Reflecting Completed Graduate Courses and Status in the Doctoral Program (see Section IV.2 Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation).

4. Documentation of approved doctoral dissertation proposal (see Section IV.2 Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation).

5. Letter of support of a collaborative relationship from a practitioner involved in healthy marriage related work

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.  

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 earlier 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.

Applicants must ensure that the version of Adobe Professional they are using is compatible with Grants.gov. To verify Adobe software compatibility please go to Grants.gov and click on “Support” at the top bar menu and select “Adobe Software Compatibility”, which is listed under the topic “Find Answers Online.” The Adobe verification process allows applicants to test their version of the software by opening a test application package. Grant.gov also includes guidance on how to download a supported version of Adobe, as well as troubleshooting instructions if an applicant is unable to open the test application package. There is also a help page for configuring Firefox and Chrome to open PDFs using Adobe software.

The Adobe Software Compatibility page located on Grants.gov also provides guidance for applicants that have received error messages while attempting to save an application package. It also addresses local network and/or computer security settings and the impact this has on use of Adobe software.

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 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 www.grants.gov/ web/grants/ applicants/ submitting-utf-8-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. For more information on the exemption, see "ACF Policy on Requesting an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission'" at www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/ howto#chapter-6

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).

Applicants using paper format should download the application forms package associated with the FOA's Synopsis on www.Grants.gov under the Package tab.

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. All pages in the application submission must be sequentially numbered.

Addresses for Submission of Paper Applications
See Section IV.7. 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 FOA at www.Grants.gov.

 

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 must cite their primary location and up to 29 additional performance sites.

Certificate of Good Standing

Submission is required for all for-profit organizations.

Sole proprietorships are not eligible applicants. The submission of the Certificate of Good Standing, along with the current list of board members, and organizational documents that require the establishment and maintenance of a Board of Directors, provide proof of eligibility for for-profit organizations.

Unique Entity Identifier (DUNS) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration.

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​.

See Section IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM) for more information.

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.

By signing and submitting the SF-424B, applicants are making the appropriate certification of their compliance with all Federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination.

Required for all applications when applying for a non-construction project. 

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.4. 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).

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-424 Key Contact Form

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

Required for all applications.

SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

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

Required for all applications.

Mandatory Grant Disclosure

Submission is required for all applicants and recipients, in writing, to the awarding agency and to the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) all information related to violations of federal criminal law involving fraud, bribery, or gratuity violations potentially affecting the federal award. (Mandatory Disclosures, 45 CFR 75.113)
Disclosures must be sent in writing to:

The Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Grants Management, ATTN: Grants Management Specialist, 330 C Street, SW., Switzer Building, Corridor 3200,Washington, DC 20201

And to:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,Office of Inspector General, ATTN: Mandatory Grant Disclosures, Intake Coordinator, 330 Independence Avenue, SW., Cohen Building, Room 5527, Washington, DC 20201

Fax: (202) 205-0604 (Include “Mandatory Grant Disclosures” in subject line) or
Email: MandatoryGranteeDisclosures@oig.hhs.gov



Instructions for Use of Key Contact Form: Please include contact information for both the scholar and the faculty mentor.

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.
    The Project Description

    The Project Description

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.

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.

Letter of Intent

Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify ACF of their intention to submit an application under this announcement. Please submit the letter of intent by the deadline date listed in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

The letter of intent should include the following information: number and title of this announcement; the name and address of the applicant organization; and/or Fiscal Agent (if known); and the name, phone number, fax number and email address of a contact person.

Letter of intent information will be used to determine the number of expert reviewers needed to evaluate applications. The letter of intent is optional.  Failure to submit a letter of intent will not impact eligibility to submit an application and will not disqualify an application from competitive review.

 
OPRE Review Team
Family Strengthening Scholars
c/o ICF International
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
 
Only mailed submissions are accepted forms of submitting a letter of intent.
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.

Expected Outcomes

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.

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.

This section sets forth the technical proposal and describes how the project will be carried out. The following information should be included:

A. Background, Significance, and Objectives. Applicants must demonstrate their understanding of the relevant literature on critical issues and existing knowledge, describe their objective and demonstrate their understanding of the overall significance of the proposal. Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal will address issues of significance related to healthy marriage programming, and how it addresses key gaps in the healthy marriage field. Applicants are expected to connect their research proposal to critical public policy questions to help policy makers. Applicants should incorporate the following information:

1. Literature review. A thorough literature review, justifying the proposed study and the outcomes of interest. The applicants are required to briefly discuss previous studies related to the proposed study and to identify gaps in the literature. The literature review should provide a sound justification for the proposed study. The applicants are expected to cite relevant, current literature related to this topic using the most recent version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

2. Theoretical framework. The applicants must discuss the underlying theoretical framework of the study and how this relates to the project goals and research questions.

3. Specific research questions of interest. The applicants must list the research questions, as well as discuss how they relate to healthy marriage program goals and critical issues in the healthy marriage field.

4. Hypothesized results. Hypothesized results must be discussed. Findings from the current literature should be used to justify the hypothesized results.

5. Significance and implications of the research. The applicant must describe the proposed project's significance and implications for policymakers, program administrators and researchers in the healthy marriage field and how the research project extends our current understanding of the problem/phenomena.  How will results inform family strengthening scholar's grant's goals, such as increasing positive couple/marital outcomes for low-income couples or improving parenting outcomes? How will the expected results apply to the populations/communities identified in your research questions?

B. Research Design and Methodology

1. Method and research design. The applicant must clearly define the study population, expected sample size, how the data will be collected, consent issues, and confidentiality of both the participants' responses and the data. The applicant must clearly demonstrate how the researcher will gain access to the necessary organizations, participants, and data sources needed for the project. The applicant must state the anticipated numbers of participants be noted and that power analyses be completed for each research question, as appropriate. Citations supporting hypothesized effect sizes would be appropriate.  The plan must clearly describe adequate protection of human subjects, confidentiality of data and consent procedures, as defined by the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002) and as evidenced by the Protection of Human Subjects: Assurance Identification/Internal Review Board Certification/Declaration of Exemption form.

2. Measures. The applicant is required to specify the specific measures that will be used, and the psychometric properties of each measure. The applicant must demonstrate that the measures are appropriate and sufficient for the questions and the population to be studied.

3. Data analysis plan. The proposed data analysis plan must be adequately described, and a brief justification for how the data analysis plan and types of data proposed are appropriate for the research questions.  The plan must appropriately link research issues, questions, variables, data sources, samples, and analyses together.

C. Management and Collaborative Partner Plan. The applicant must outline and describe several plans related to how the applicant and faculty mentor will work together to execute the proposed project, and how the applicant will collaborate with healthy marriage practitioners.

1. Management plan. The applicant must outline a strong management plan that describes a sound, workable plan of action for how the proposed project will be carried out. This section should describe how the faculty mentor and student will maintain quality control over the implementation and ongoing operations for the study. This plan must also outline how the faculty mentor will oversee and mentor the applicant and how often mentoring meetings will occur.

2. Collaborative partner plan. Applicants must provide a strong collaborative partner plan as part of their application.  The plan must provide a clear, concrete plan as to how the applicant and the collaborative partner will work together through all stages of the proposed project and the relationship of the practitioner to the healthy marriage field should be clearly described.

Note: The collaborative partner should be someone other than the student's advisor; it should be an additional person to help with program consultation. 

Applicants must describe how healthy marriage practitioners have been consulted, collaborated, or partnered with to help develop or refine research questions and project design. The applicant must also outline how the applicant plans to consult and/or collaborate with a healthy marriage practitioner during various stages of project development. In particular, the applicant must describe how program partners will be consulted regarding initial project findings and the overall interpretation of findings.  The applicant must also be explicit as to how this person is connected to the healthy marriage field and how that will help further the applicant’s understanding of the healthy marriage field.

D. Dissemination Plan. Applicants must provide an extensive dissemination plan, in which the applicant describes how findings will be disseminated, including, but not limited to, the required conferences and meetings (e.g., Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS)).  Applicants must describe multiple dissemination vehicles that will be used to reach the widest audience possible.  Applicants must include in the dissemination plan for how data will be archived. (See Dissemination Plan later in this section for more instructions).  Applicants must clearly state how their dissemination plan encompasses both research and policy/program oriented products

E. Qualifications.  Applicants must demonstrate that the faculty mentor and student possess the research expertise (e.g., conducted previous research pertaining to healthy marriage; published manuscripts relevant to the healthy marriage field), including relevant background, experience, and training on related research or similar projects necessary to conduct the study.  The application must document that the Principal Investigator (faculty mentor) has earned a doctorate or equivalent in a relevant field and has first or second author publications in major peer-reviewed research journals.  The applicant also must make a clear case that the applicant's organization has a history of research and budget oversight and has appropriate resources to support the student.  Applicants must clearly state how the faculty has previous mentoring experience of doctoral student. (See Section IV.2., Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation later in this section for more instructions).

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.

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.


Additional Eligibility Documentation

Applicants must provide the additional, required documentation, or required credentials, to support eligibility for an award, as described in Section III. Eligibility Information of this announcement:

1. The Principal Investigator/faculty mentor must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in the respective field, conduct research as a primary professional responsibility, and have published or have been accepted for publication in major peer-reviewed research journals as a first or second author. Acceptable evidence includes a current CV or biographical sketch. This document should be included in the Appendix.

2. As Principal Investigator, the graduate student's faculty mentor, must submit a letter of support stating how he/she will regularly monitor the student's work. In addition, the letter must verify: (a) the student's status in the doctoral program, (b) that the grant will be used to fund the student's dissertation research, and (c) that the student is within 2 years or less of completing his/her dissertation. This letter of support should be included in the Appendix.

3. As the author of the grant proposal, the graduate student is expected to have an approved dissertation proposal by the due date for the grant application. Evidence of this approval must be submitted with the proposal. Sufficient proof would include a departmental form signed by committee members or another departmental administrator attesting to the fact that the student's dissertation proposal has been approved. Alternatively, a form or letter describing some other process that is equivalent to establishing this doctoral status would suffice. If the student does not have an approved dissertation proposal (or have this status) at the time of application, the application should include a statement of assurance that the proposed research plan will be approved prior to September 30, 2017 (when the funding for this program would begin). In sum, if ACF does approve the application for an award, the award will depend on written confirmation prior to an award that: (a) the dissertation proposal/plan has been officially approved by the university/department; and (b) if the proposal had not been approved at the time of the application, that the scope and approach of the research has not changed substantively from what was proposed in the application.

4. A letter describing the collaborative relationship from a practitioner involved in healthy marriage related work should be included in the Appendix. This letter must clearly describe the work that the practitioner does and how it relates to the healthy marriage field. If the practitioner is currently involved with an ACF family strengthening grantee, please indicate such in the letter. The letter must also indicate how the practitioner and graduate student will work together and specify stages of the project the practitioner expects to be involved in.

All supporting documentation, including CV, letters of support, dissertation approval, and transcripts, should be included in the Appendices.

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).

Organizational Capacity

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

  • Curricula Vitae (CV);
  • College transcripts for graduate student research fellows;
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.

Dissemination Plan

Applicants must propose a plan to disseminate reports, products, and/or grant project outputs so that project information is provided to key target audiences. Dissemination plans must include:

  • Dissemination goals and objectives;
  • Strategies to identify and engage with target audiences;
  • Allocation of sufficient staff time and budget for dissemination purposes;
  • A preliminary plan to evaluate the extent to which target audiences have received project information and have used it as intended.

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 Appropriations Act, 2017, (Division H, Title II, Sec. 202), 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 of an individual at a rate in excess of Executive Level II. The Executive Level II salary of the "Rates of Pay for the Executive Schedule" is $187,000. 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 of the applicant organization. This salary limitation also applies to subawards and subcontracts under an ACF grant or cooperative agreement.

 

Provide a budget 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.

The applicant must incorporate the following in the budget justification:

1. Expenses directly related to the student's dissertation research, which may include personnel costs/salary, travel, and other directly related expenses.

2. Expenses related to travel for the student to attend two required meetings.  The first is the required grantee meeting, which is likely to occur in Washington, DC, and is likely to last 2 days.  The second required meeting is the biennial RECS.  The next RECS conference will be held in 2018, and it is likely to be held in Washington, DC.  Applicants should plan to attend that conference for at least 2 days.  On the off-year, when the RECS conference is not being held, applicants should budget to attend another relevant conference of their choice.

3. If necessary, expenses to enable the mentor to participate in the required meetings must be included. If expenses for the mentor to attend the required meetings are covered outside of the project budget, please state how the expenses will be covered.

4. Costs and resources necessary to complete both the project and the dissemination plan. This includes, at a minimum, attendance at conferences and meetings, completion of research brief(s), archiving of research briefs, and other research products with the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families. 

5. Documentation of how the commitment of non-federal resources will be achieved.

Costs must support research work that is the product of the graduate student.  If the funded effort is part of a larger project, it must be made clear what portion of the project was designed and will be completed by the graduate student.

General

Use the following guidelines for preparing the budget and budget justification. Both federal and non-federal resources (when required) shall be detailed and justified in the budget and budget narrative justification. "Federal resources" refers only to the ACF grant funds for which you are 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 are required to use 45 CFR 75.328 procedures and 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.

Commitment of Non-Federal Resources

Description: Amounts of non-federal resources that will be used to support the project as identified in Block 18 of the SF-424.

For all federal awards, any shared costs or matching funds and all contributions, including cash and third-party in-kind contributions, must be accepted as part of the recipient’s cost sharing or matching when such contributions meet all of the criteria listed in 45 CFR § 75.306. 

For awards that require matching by statute, recipients 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 amount required by the statutory match. A recipient’s failure to provide the statutorily required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports. 

For awards that do not require matching or cost sharing by statute, where “cost sharing” refers to any situation in which the recipient voluntarily shares in the costs of a project other than as statutorily required matching. These include situations in which contributions are voluntarily proposed by an applicant and are accepted by ACF. Non-federal cost sharing will be included in the approved project budget so that the applicant will be held accountable for proposed non-federal cost-sharing funds as shown in the Notice of Award (NOA). A recipient’s failure to provide voluntary cost sharing of non-federal resources that have been accepted by ACF as part of the approved project costs and that have been shown as part of the approved project budget in the NOA, may result in the disallowance of federal funds. Recipients will be required to report these funds in the Federal Financial Reports. 

Justification: If an applicant is relying on match from a third party, then a firm commitment of these resources (letter(s) or other documentation) is required to be submitted with the application. Detailed budget information must be provided for every funding source identified in Item18. "Estimated Funding ($)" on the SF-424. 

Applicants are required to fully identify and document in their applications the specific costs or contributions they propose in order to meet a matching requirement. Applicants are also required to provide documentation in their applications on the sources of funding or contribution(s). In-kind contributions must be accompanied by a justification of how the stated valuation was determined. Matching or cost sharing must be documented by budget period (or by project period for fully funded awards). A recipient’s failure to provide a statutorily required matching amount may result in the disallowance of federal funds.

Applications that lack the required supporting documentation will not be disqualified from competitive review; however, it may impact an application’s scoring under the evaluation criteria in Section V.1. of this announcement.

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 and Budget/Budget Justification information collection is approved under OMB control number 0970-0139, expiration date is 01/31/2019. 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.

    Application Submission Options

    Application Submission Options

Electronic Submission via www.Grants.gov

Additional guidance on the submission of electronic applications can be found at www.grants.gov /web /grants /applicants /apply- for- grants.html.

After a grant application package is submitted to www.Grants.gov, a confirmation screen will appear on the applicant’s computer screen. This screen confirms that an application has been submitted an application to Grants.gov. This page also contains a tracking number to identify the status of the application submission in the Track My Application feature.

When the application has completed the Grants.gov submission process, Grants.gov will send email messages to advise the applicant of the progress of the application through its system. Over the next two business days, an applicant should receive two emails from Grants.gov:

  • Submission Receipt Email: Confirms successful receipt of the application by the Grants.gov system and indicates the application’s status as "Received."
  • Submission Validation –OR– Rejection with Errors Email: Indicates that the application was either successfully validated or rejected by Grants.gov. Either the application has been successfully validated by the system prior to transmission to the grantor agency or the application has been rejected due to errors.

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 re-submitted to www.Grants.gov, the applicant will receive a new Submission Receipt Email. Only  applications with on-time date and time stamps in Submission Receipt Email, and that pass validation, will be transmitted to ACF. Applications that are submitted on time that fail the validation check are 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.

Grants.gov Support Center

  • If applicants encounter any technical difficulties in using www.Grants.gov, contact the Grants.gov Support 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 Support Center is closed on federal holidays.
  • Applicants should always retain Grants.gov Support Center service ticket number(s) as they may be needed for future reference.
  • Contact with the Grants.gov Support 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. HHS Awarding Agency Contact(s) will determine whether the submission issues are due to Grants.gov system errors or user error.


Issues with Federal Systems
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 www.acf.hhs.gov /sites/default/files/assets/systems_issue_policy_final.pdf.

Request an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission
To request an exemption from required electronic submission please refer to ACF’s “Policy for Requesting an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission” document for complete guidance at: www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto#chapter-6.

Paper Format Application Submission
An exemption is 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.7. 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.4. Submission Dates and Times in this announcement.

IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

All applicants must have a DUNS Number (http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform) and an active registration with the System for Award Management (SAM.gov/SAM, https://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 must be active throughout the life of the award.

Plan ahead. Allow at least 10 business days after you submit your registration for it to become active in SAM and at least 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.
IV.4. Submission Dates and Times

IV.4. Submission Dates and Times

Due Date for Letter of Intent
Due Date for Letter of Intent: 06/26/2017
Due Dates for Applications
Due Date for Applications: 07/14/2017

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. Other, 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: www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html.

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 receipt of 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.7.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.

Emergency Extensions
ACF may extend an application due date when circumstances make it impossible for an applicant to submit their applications on time. Only events such as documented natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, tornados, etc.), or a verifiable widespread disruption of electrical service, or mail service, will be considered. The determination to extend or waive the due date, and/or receipt time, requirements in an emergency situation rests with the Grants Management Officer listed as the Office of Grants Management Contact in Section VII. HHS Awarding Agency Contact(s).

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 also receive an email acknowledging that the received application is in the Grants.gov validation process, after which a third email is sent with the information that the submitted application package has passed, or failed, the 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 by ACF.

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.5. Intergovernmental Review

IV.5. Intergovernmental Review

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, 330 C St. SW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20201.

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.6. Funding Restrictions

IV.6. Funding Restrictions

Costs of organized fund raising, including financial campaigns, endowment drives, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions are unallowable. Fund raising costs for the purposes of meeting the Federal program objectives are allowable with prior written approval from the Federal awarding agency. (45 CFR §75.442)

Proposal costs are the costs of preparing bids, proposals, or applications on potential Federal and non-Federal awards or projects, including the development of data necessary to support the non-Federal entity's bids or proposals. Proposal costs of the current accounting period of both successful and unsuccessful bids and proposals normally should be treated as indirect (F&A) costs and allocated currently to all activities of the non-Federal entity. No proposal costs of past accounting periods will be allocable to the current period. (45 CFR §75.460)

Grant awards will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs.
Construction is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this grant award.
Purchase of real property is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this grant award.
IV.7. Other Submission Requirements

IV.7. Other Submission Requirements

Submit paper applications to one of the following addresses. Also see ACF Policy on Requesting an Exemption from Required Electronic Application Submission at www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/howto#chapter-6.

Submission By Mail

Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Family Strengthening Scholars Grant Review
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050

Hand Delivery

Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Family Strengthening Scholars Grant Review
9300 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031-6050

Electronic Submission

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

For all submissions, see Section IV.4. 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.
Background, Significance, and Objectives Maximum Points:35

The extent to which the application:

a. is clearly written, organized, and provides all appropriate details and documentation necessary to understand the research plan; 

b. contains a current and comprehensive literature review that delineates gaps in existing literature and strongly supports the need for the study;

c. contains reference citations that are complete and written consistently with the most current version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association;

d. describes the theoretical framework, research goals, and/or research questions in a way that is clear and logically connected;

e. outlines clear and specific research questions;

f. describes a project that satisfies the goal of this grant program to support dissertation level research addressing questions of interest related to healthy marriage programming. Clearly links the questions of interest to the healthy marriage program goals and mission, as well as will contribute new knowledge to the field;

g. reflects a sound description of the anticipated results and benefits of the project; and

h. describes how the results will apply to current and/or future healthy marriage program and policy decisions.

 

Research Design and Methodology Maximum Points:25

The extent to which the proposed project:

a. is clearly described, sufficient for addressing the goals of the project, and appropriately links research issues, questions, variables, data sources, samples, and analyses together;

b. demonstrates how the researcher will gain access to the necessary organizations, participants, and data sources needed for the project;

c. reflects adequate protection of human subjects, confidentiality of data and consent procedures, as defined by the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002) and as evidenced by the Protection of Human Subjects: Assurance Identification/Internal Review Board Certification/Declaration of Exemption form;

d. specifies the measures and their psychometric properties to be used for the planned research, and demonstrates that the measures are appropriate and sufficient for the questions and the population to be studied;

e. contains a data analysis plan that is adequately described and is appropriate for the specific research question(s) under consideration, as well as for the types of data to be analyzed; and

f. includes a proposed sample size and power analysis that is sufficient to answer the range of proposed research questions for the study, especially for longitudinal studies and studies involving a priori subgroups of interest.

Qualifications Maximum Points:17

The extent to which:

a. both the faculty mentor and student possess the research expertise (e.g., conducted previous research pertaining to healthy marriage; published manuscripts relevant to the healthy marriage field) including relevant background, experience, and training on related research or similar projects necessary to conduct the study as demonstrated in the application, as well as in information contained in their biographical sketches and/or curriculum vitae;

b. the Principal Investigator (faculty mentor) has earned a doctorate or equivalent in a relevant field and has first or second author publications in major peer-reviewed research journals; 

c. the applicant organization has a sufficient history of research and budget oversight and has appropriate resources to support the student; and

d. the faculty mentor has demonstrated previous mentoring experience of previous doctoral students, as evidenced in either the biographical sketches and/or curriculum vitae or in the mentor's letter of support.

Dissemination, Management and Collaborative Partner Plans Maximum Points:15

The extent to which it contains:

a. Dissemination Plan. The extent to which it contains: (maximum 5 points)

1. a description of how the applicant plans to communicate with program partners (e.g., OFA Healthy Marriage grantee; healthy marriage practitioner) in completion of the research project, including (at a minimum) review and interpretation of the project's findings and its implications for program administrators, policymakers, and/or healthy marriage settings;

2. a detailed plan for disseminating and translating, as appropriate, the proposed research to researchers, policymakers, program partners, and/or practitioners. This includes (at a minimum) attendance at the required conferences and meetings; and

3. a dissemination plan that encompasses both research and policy/program oriented products.

b. Management Plan. The extent to which it describes: (maximum of 5 points)

1. a sound, workable plan illustrating how the project will be carried out, and how the applicant and faculty member will ensure a quality end product;

2. how the faculty member will mentor the applicant, including how often meetings between the mentor and applicant will occur; and

3. a timeline for when key project milestones are expected to be met, including when the entire project is expected to be finished, as well as when findings will be disseminated to a wider audience.

c. Collaborative Partner Plan. The extent to which it explains the following: (maximum of 5 points)

1. in detail, how/if the applicant has consulted or collaborated with healthy marriage practitioners, grantees, or programs;

2. reflects sufficient consultation, collaboration, or partnership with program partners or policymakers to develop or refine the research questions and project design; and

3. how the applicant will maintain a productive relationship with the program partner(s) that may include continued involvement or periodic feedback as the research progresses.

Budget and Budget Justification Maximum Points:8

The extent to which the applicant's proposed project costs:

a. are reasonable and sufficient to accomplish the research objectives, design, and dissemination plan;

b. reflect expenses directly related to the student's dissertation research (which may include required personnel costs/salary, travel, and other directly related expenses);

c. include adequate funds for the student and for his/her mentor to participate in the required meetings, including the Family Strengthening Scholars Grantee Meeting, (two meetings annually, per year of funding, for the student and one meeting annually, per year of funding, for mentor; see Section I. Project Description, Family Strengthening Goals); and

d. are justified according to the needs and time frame for carrying out the proposed project.

V.2. 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 (http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform) and an active registration at SAM (www.sam.gov). See Section IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM).

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 FOA.

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.

The competitive review will be conducted by panels of federal and non-federal expert reviewers knowledgeable in the areas of healthy marriage research and evaluation. Application review panels will assign a score to each application and identify its strengths and weaknesses in relation to the evaluation criteria.

It is unlikely that multiple applications with the same Principal Investigator (i.e., faculty mentor) will be funded if there are at least six applications from different faculty mentors/institutions that qualify for support.

OPRE will conduct an administrative review of the applications and results of the competitive review panels and make recommendations for funding to the Director of OPRE, taking into account the goals of the Family Strengthening Scholars Grants as listed in Section I. Program Description. The Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families is responsible for the final selection.

On the basis of the review of an application, ACF will: (a) approve the application for funding; or (b) disapprove the application.

Applications may be funded in whole or in part depending on: (1) the ranked order of applicants resulting from the competitive review; (2) staff review and consultations; (3) the funds available; and (4) the best interests of the Federal Government.

Federal Awarding Agency Review of Risk Posed by Applicants

As required by 2 CFR Part 200, the Uniform Guidance, effective January 1, 2016, ACF is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), www.fapiis.gov/, before making any award in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000) over the period of performance. An applicant may review and comment on any information about itself that a federal awarding agency has previously entered into FAPIIS. ACF will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR § 200.205 Federal Awarding Agency Review of Risk Posed by Applicants (http://www.ecfr.gov/ cgi-bin/text-idx?node=se2.1.200_1205&rgn=div8).

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 in the objective review process, but were not selected for award, may receive funding if additional funds become available or may compete for funding during the next review cycle (if one occurs in the next fiscal year). Applications designated as “approved but unfunded” typically cannot be kept in an active status for more than 12 months. For those applications determined as “approved but unfunded,” notice will be given of the determination by email.

 
 

V.3. Anticipated Announcement and Federal Award Dates

Announcement of awards and the disposition of applications will be provided to applicants at a later date. ACF staff cannot respond to requests for information regarding funding decisions prior to the official applicant notification. 

VI. Federal Award Administration Information

VI.1. Federal 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.6. Funding Restrictions

Grantees may translate the Federal award and other documents into another language. In the event of inconsistency between any terms and conditions of the Federal award and any translation into another language, the English language meaning will control. Where a significant portion of the grantee’s employees who are working on the Federal award are not fluent in English, the grantee must provide the Federal award in English and in the language(s) with which employees are more familiar.

 

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 www.ecfr.gov. Unless otherwise noted in this section, administrative and national policy requirements that are applicable to discretionary grants are available at: www.acf.hhs.gov/administrative-and-national-policy-requirements.

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. 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.gov/discretionary-post-award-requirements#chapter-1.


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. 

 

VI.3. Reporting

 
Performance Progress Reports: Semi-Annually

Recipients under this FOA will be required to submit performance progress and financial reports periodically throughout the project period. Information on reporting requirements is available on the ACF website at www.acf.hhs.gov/discretionary-post-award-requirements#chapter-2.

For planning purposes, the frequency of required reporting for awards made under this announcement are as follows:

Financial Reports: Semi-Annually
VII. HHS Awarding Agency Contact(s)

Program Office Contact

Aleta Meyer
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Switzer Building
330 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20201
Fax: (202) 205-3598
Email: Kathleen.Mccoy@acf.hhs.gov
 

Office of Grants Management Contact

Tim Chappelle
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Grants Management
Switzer Building
330 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20201
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 (FedRelay) at www.gsa.gov/fedrelay.

VIII. Other Information

Reference Websites


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

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

ACF Funding Opportunities Forecast www.grants.gov/.

ACF Funding Opportunity Announcements ami.grantsolutions.gov/.

ACF "How To Apply For A Grant" www.acf. hhs.gov/ grants/ how-to-apply-for-grants.

Grants.gov Accessibility & Compliance www.grants.gov/ web/grants/accessibility-compliance.html.

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

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

United States Code (U.S.C.)  http://uscode.house.gov/.

 

Application Checklist

 

Applicants may use this checklist as a guide when preparing an application package.

 
What to Submit Where Found When to Submit

Letter of Intent

Referenced in Section IV.2. Project Description.

Submission is due by the Letter of Intent due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4.

Mandatory Grant Disclosure

Requirement, submission instructions, and mailing addresses are found in the "Mandatory Grant Disclosure"  in Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances and Certifications.

If applicable, concurrent submission to the Administration for Children and Families and to the Office of the Inspector General is required.

The Project Budget and Budget Justification

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Budget and Budget Justification.

Submission is required in addition to submission of SF-424A and / or SF-424C.


Submission is required with the application package by the due date in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

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

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

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the
Overview
and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Eligibility Documentation by For-Profit Organizations

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

Submission is required with the application by the Application Due Date in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

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 application due date and time listed in the Overview and Section IV.4. of the FOA. 

If it is not available at the time of application submission, it must 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.

These forms are available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​ in the Mandatory section. 
They are required for applications that include only non-construction activities. 

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

 

SF-LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities

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

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

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-424 - Application for Federal Assistance

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

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​ in the Mandatory section.

Submission is due by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Certificate of Good Standing

See Section IV.2. Required Forms, Assurances and Certifications and The Project Description, Legal Status of Applicant Entity

Submission is required with the application by the Application Due Date in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Unique Entity Identifier (DUNS) and Systems for Award Management (SAM) registration.

Referenced in Section IV.3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM) in the announcement.

To obtain a DUNS number (Unique Entity Identifier), go to http​://fedgo​v​.dnb​.com​/webfo​rm​.

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

A DUNS number (Unique Entity Identifier) and registration at SAM.gov are required for all applicants.

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

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.4. Submission Dates and Times.

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

Referenced in Section IV.2. Forms, Assurances, and Certifications. See http​://www​.hhs​.gov​/ ohrp​/ assur​ances​/ forms​/ index​.html​ for additional information.

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​ 

Submission of the required information and forms is due with the application package by the due date listed in the Overview and Section IV.4. 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 Key Contact Form

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

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

Submission is due with the application by the application due date found in the Overview and in Section IV.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Certification Regarding Lobbying
(Grants.gov Lobbying Form)

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

This form is available in the FOA's forms package at www​.Grant​s​.gov​.

Submission is due with the application package or prior to the award of a grant.

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.4. 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.4. Submission Dates and Times.

Disemination Plan

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 Timeline and Milestones

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.

Letter of Support from Faculty Member

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.

Documentation of Approved Dissertation Proposal

Referenced in Section IV.2. The Project Description.

This documentation should be submitted with the application package by the application due date and time listed in the Overview and Section IV.4. of the FOA. 

If it is not available at the time of application submission, it must be submitted prior to the award of a grant.

Letter of Support of a Collaborative Relationship from a Practitioner

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.