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Notice

Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Funding Opportunity Title: Developing Adoption Services and Supports for Youth Who Wish to Retain Contact with Family Members in Order to Improve Permanency Outcomes.

Announcement Type: Initial.

Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2005-ACF-ACYF-CO-0051.

CFDA Number: 93.652.

Due Date for Applications: Application is due August 10, 2005.

Category of Funding Activity: Social Services and Income Security.

Executive Summary

The purposes of funding these demonstration projects are to: (1) Demonstrate the effective implementation of strategies for introducing the concept of open adoption to youth and/or sibling groups who prefer to maintain contact with birth families and/or siblings; (2) demonstrate effective implementation strategies for connecting youth to adults to promote a range of permanency options, particularly adoption and open adoption, and including guardianship and kinship care; (3) demonstrate the effective models of youth leadership and collaboration between youth, siblings and other family members, caseworkers and possible adoptive families in planning for youth permanency; (4) evaluate the processes and outcomes of these strategies and models; and (5) disseminate information about these strategies and models so that other States/locales seeking to implement effective open adoption programs for youth and sibling groups have a demonstrated resource for guidance, insight, and possible replication.

Priority Area 1

I. Funding Opportunity Description

The purposes of funding these demonstration projects are to: (1) Demonstrate the effective implementation of strategies for introducing the concept of open adoption to youth and/or sibling groups who prefer to maintain contact with birth families and/or siblings; (2) demonstrate effective implementation strategies for connecting youth to adults to promote a range of permanency options, particularly adoption and open adoption, and including guardianship and kinship care; (3) demonstrate the effective models of youth leadership and collaboration between youth, siblings and other family members, caseworkers and possible adoptive families in planning for youth permanency; (4) evaluate the processes and outcomes of these strategies and models; and (5) disseminate information about these strategies and models so that other States/locales seeking to implement effective open adoption programs for youth and sibling groups have a demonstrated resource for Start Printed Page 38949guidance, insight, and possible replication.

Background

ACF completed the initial round of 52 CFSRs in March 2004. Among the most notable findings is that no State achieved substantial conformity on the outcome that evaluates the timely achievement of permanency goals for children in foster care. On the performance indicator that addresses the establishment of appropriate permanency goals (Item 7) only 5 States performed satisfactorily. The CFSRs found that long-term foster care or Alternative Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) are being over-used as plans for youth and large sibling groups which contain youth due to the youth's interest in maintaining some level of contact with the birth family. Assumptions are frequently made that adoption precludes continuing contact with the birth family whether it be parents or siblings. In the 35 States reviewed in the CFSR between 2002-2004, while the goal of reunification was the single goal most commonly recorded for youth in FC age 13 and older (39 percent), the combined goals of emancipation and long-term foster care represented 46 percent of the permanency goals for this age group. This suggests that the plan for nearly half the children reviewed, who were aged 13 and older, was for them to remain in foster care. The long-term implications of adoption versus APPLA is not being sufficiently explored with youth so they can be involved in an informed, decision-making process about future plans for their life. Additionally, some child welfare professionals and court personnel think that finding an adoptive home for youth is simply too difficult. Therefore, these youth, and sometimes their siblings, age out of foster care without a family they can turn to once discharged from the foster care system.

Assumptions are frequently made that impact positive permanency outcomes for youth. Barriers exist because caseworkers, attorneys and judges believe that youth don't want to be adopted, that no one is interested in adopting them, and that adoptive placements of teens are unsuccessful.

These barriers are reflected in the data reported in AFCARS. The percent of children who are placed for adoption dramatically decreases as the child ages. At the end of FY 2000, children nine and older with termination of parental rights had been waiting to be adopted three times longer than children under the age of nine. Preliminary analyses show that although children nine and older constitute 50 percent of the children in foster care, they are only 37 percent of the waiting population, (includes most children with a goal of adoption with or without a termination of parental rights), 39 percent of the children with termination of parental rights, but only 24 percent of the adoptions. Additional barriers to permanency include inappropriate placements, poorly selected and improperly trained foster parents, and caseworkers failing to address permanency issues early and often in their work with youth. Placements in group home settings often limit contact with a broad range of caring adults with whom the youth could establish and maintain a permanent lifelong connection.

There is a need to design models of open adoption to facilitate permanency for youth over age 12 (or State's age of consent) in foster care. It is not unusual for youth to have reasons to prefer a continuing attachment to parents even though it is not safe for them to live with their own family. These reasons can include other siblings still in the home or parents with lower level cognitive skills that the youth is concerned about. Open adoption can also be a model to allow siblings to have contact with each other after they're adopted by separate families. Models which support youth in processing the implications of adoption and open adoption versus APPLA, while helping youth to address their emotional/mental health issues, either through individual counseling, or youth group adoption counseling need to be demonstrated and evaluated.

Preparation of pre-adoptive families is required to help them be aware of the issues implicit in open adoptions such as supporting the youth in relating to and understanding their birth family and managing contact, safety, supervision and guidelines for contact with family members. Projects under this funding announcement will be expected to identify, provide and evaluate the services that are required to help these families (e.g., foster families, relatives or other individuals who have already or have not yet developed other connections with the youth) successfully address these issues.

Effective models that empower and support youth in achieving permanency must be multidimensional. These include recruiting and training appropriate foster and adoptive family resources. They also include connecting youth to caring adults. This can be done through a broad outreach. Outreach can include mentoring and building connections with extended family, strategies to effectively address the emotional/mental health issues of youth including grief and loss. Strategies can also include community connections, family connections, and caseworker and supervisor support in assessing and supporting a range of permanency options early and often in their work with youth.

The Children's Bureau will expect grantees to engage in a strong evaluation in order to demonstrate linkages between these strategies and improved outcomes. Grantees will also be expected to package information which can readily be used by T/TA grantees for work with states.

Legislative Authority

The Adoption Opportunities program, section 205 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978, (Pub. L. 95-266), as amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (Pub. L. 108-36).

Projects funded under this announcement will be expected to:

1. Have the project fully functioning within 90 days following the notification of the grant award.

2. Participate if the Children's Bureau chooses to do a national evaluation or a technical assistance contract that relates to this funding announcement.

3. Submit all performance indicator data, program and financial reports in a timely manner, in recommended format (to be provided), and submit the final report on disk or electronically using a standard word-processing program.

4. Submit a copy of the final report, the evaluation report, and any program products to the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, 330 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20447, within 90 days of project end date. This is in addition to the standard requirement that the final program and evaluation report must also be submitted to the Grants Management Specialist and the Federal Project Officer.

5. Allocate sufficient funds in the budget to:

(a) Provide for the project director, the evaluator and a child welfare representative to attend an annual 3-day grantees' meeting in Washington, DC.

(b) Provide for the project director, the evaluator and a child welfare representative to attend an early kickoff meeting for grantees funded under this priority area to be held within the first three months of the project (first year only) in Washington, DC; and

(c) Provide for 10-15 percent of the proposed budget to project evaluation. Start Printed Page 38950

II. Award Information

Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement.

Federal Substantial Involvement with Cooperative Agreement

A cooperative agreement is a specific method of awarding Federal assistance in which substantial Federal involvement is anticipated. A cooperative agreement clearly defines the respective responsibilities of the Children's Bureau and the grantee prior to the award. The Children's Bureau anticipates that agency involvement will produce programmatic benefits to the recipient otherwise unavailable to them for carrying out the project. The involvement and collaboration includes Children's Bureau review and approval of planning stages of the activities before implementation phases may begin; Children's Bureau involvement in the establishment of policies and procedures that maximize open competition, and rigorous and impartial development, review and funding of grant or sub-grant activities, if applicable; and Children's Bureau and recipient joint collaboration in the performance of key programmatic activities (i.e., strategic planning, implementation, information technology enhancements, training and technical assistance, publications or products, and evaluation). It also includes close monitoring by the Children's Bureau of the requirements stated in this announcement that limit the grantee's discretion with respect to scope of services offered, organizational structure and management processes, coupled with close Children's Bureau monitoring during performance, which may, in order to ensure compliance with the intent of this funding, exceed those Federal stewardship responsibilities customary for grant activities.

Anticipated Total Priority Area Funding: $1,800,000.

Anticipated Number of Awards: 0 to 6.

Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards Per Budget Period: $300,000.

Average Projected Award Amount: $300,000.

Length of Project Periods: 60-month project with five 12-month budget periods.

Other.

Explanation of Other: In the first budget period, the maximum Federal share of each project is not to exceed $300,000. The projects awarded will be for a project period of 60 months. The initial grant award will be for a 12-month budget period. The award of continuation beyond each 12-month budget period will be subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory progress on the part of the grantee, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the government.

Floor on amount of individual awards: None.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

State governments.

County governments.

City or township governments.

Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized).

Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education.

Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education.

Additional Information on Eligibility

Faith-based and community organizations that meet all other eligibility requirements are eligible to apply.

Applicants should demonstrate a strong partnership between the child welfare agency, the courts, and youth development organizations.

Collaborative efforts are encouraged, but applications should identify a primary applicant responsible for administering the grant.

2. Cost Sharing/Matching

Cost Sharing/Matching: Yes.

Matching/Cost-Sharing

Grantees must provide at least 10 percent of the total approved cost of the project. The total approved cost of the project is the sum of the ACF share and the non-Federal share. The non-Federal share may be met by cash or in-kind contributions, although applicants are encouraged to meet their match requirements through cash contributions. Therefore, a project requesting $ 300,000 in Federal funds (based on an award of $300,000 per budget period) must provide a match of at least $33,333 (10 percent of the total approved project costs). Grantees will be held accountable for commitments of non-Federal resources even if over the amount of the required match. Failure to provide the amount will result in disallowance of Federal funds. Lack of supporting documentation at the time of application will not impact the responsiveness of the application for competitive review.

3. Other Eligibility Information

All applicants must have a Dun & Bradstreet number. On June 27, 2003 the Office of Management and Budget published in the Federal Register a new Federal policy applicable to all Federal grant applicants. The policy requires all Federal grant applicants to provide a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements on or after October 1, 2003. The DUNS number will be required whether an applicant is submitting a paper application or using the government-wide electronic portal (http://www.Grants.gov). A DUNS number will be required for every application for a new award or renewal/continuation of an award, including applications or plans under formula, entitlement and block grant programs, submitted on or after October 1, 2003.

Please ensure that your organization has a DUNS number. You may acquire a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line on 1-866-705-5711 or you may request a number on-line at http://www.dnb.com.

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 Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) 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 a non-profit status and that none of the net earning 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.

Disqualification Factors

Applications that exceed the ceiling amount will be considered non-responsive and will not be considered for funding under this announcement.

Any application post-marked after 4:30 p.m. eastern time zone on the deadline date will not be considered for competition. Start Printed Page 38951

IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application Package

ACYF Operations, The Dixon Group ATTN: Children's Bureau, 118 Q St., NE., Washington, DC 20002-2132, Phone: 866-796-1591, URL: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​grants/​open/​HHS-2005-ACF-ACYF-CA-0001.html.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Each application must contain the following items in the order listed:

Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424). Follow the instructions below and those that accompany the form.

In Item 5 of Form 424, put DUNS number in “Organizational DUNS:” box.

In Item 5 of Form 424, include name, phone number, and, if available, email and fax numbers of the contact person.

In Item 8 of Form 424, check ‘New.’

In Item 10 of Form 424, clearly identify the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program title and number for the program for which funds are being requested as stated in this funding opportunity announcement.

In Item 11 of Form 424, identify the single funding opportunity the application addresses.

In Item 12 of Form 424, identify the specific geographic area to be served.

In Item 14 of Form 424, identify Congressional districts of both the applicant and project.

Budget Information Non-Construction Programs (Form 424A) and Budget Justification. Follow the instructions provided here and those in Section V. Application Review Information.

Description— Please see Section V.1. Criteria, for instructions on preparing the project summary/abstract and the full project description.

Proof of non-profit status (if applicable). Please see Section III.3 Other Eligibility for ways to demonstrate non-profit status.

Indirect cost rate agreement. If claiming indirect costs, provide documentation that applicant currently has an indirect cost rate approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or another cognizant Federal agency.

Letters of agreement and memoranda of understanding. If applicable, include a letter of commitment or Memorandum of Understanding from each partner and/or sub-contractor describing their role, detailing specific tasks to be performed, and expressing commitment to participate if the proposed project is funded.

Match. Provide a letter of commitment verifying the actual amount of the non-Federal share of project costs (see Section III.2).

General Content and Form information: The application limit is 75 pages total including all forms and attachments. Pages over this page limit will be removed from the application and will not be reviewed.

The application must be typed, double spaced, printed on only one side, with at least 1/2 inch margins on each side and 1 inch at the top and bottom, using standard 12 Point fonts (such as Times New Roman or Courier). Pages must be numbered.

All copies of an application must be submitted in a single package, and a separate package must be submitted for each funding opportunity. The package must be clearly labeled for the specific funding opportunity it is addressing.

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 subsections of the application, including supporting documentation; however, each complete copy must be stapled securely in the upper left corner. Applicants are advised that the copies of the application submitted, not the original, will be reproduced by the Federal government for review.

Tips for Preparing a Competitive Application. It is essential that applicants read the entire announcement package carefully before preparing an application and include all of the required application forms and attachments. The application must reflect a thorough understanding of the purpose and objectives of the applicable legislation. Reviewers expect applicants to understand the goals of the legislation and the Children's Bureau's interest in each topic. A “responsive application” is one that addresses all of the evaluation criteria in ways that demonstrate this understanding. Applications that are considered to be “unresponsive” generally receive very low scores and are rarely funded.

The Children's Bureau's Web site (http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/​programs/​cb) provides a wide range of information and links to other relevant web sites. Before you begin preparing an application, we suggest that you learn more about the mission and programs of the Children's Bureau by exploring the Web site.

Organizing Your Application. The specific evaluation criteria in Section V of this funding announcement will be used to review and evaluate each application. The applicant should address each of these specific evaluation criteria in the project description. Applicants should organize their project description in this sequence: (1) Objectives and Need for Assistance; (2) Approach; (3) Organizational Profiles; (4) Budget and Budget Justification; and should use the same headings as these criteria, so that reviewers can readily find information that directly addresses each of the specific review criteria.

Project Evaluation Plan. Project evaluations are very important. If you do not have the in-house capacity to conduct an objective, comprehensive evaluation of the project, then the Children's Bureau advises that you propose contracting with a third-party evaluator specializing in social science or evaluation, or a university or college, to conduct the evaluation. A skilled evaluator can assist you in designing a data collection strategy that is appropriate for the evaluation of your proposed project. Additional assistance may be found in a document titled “Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation.” A copy of this document can be accessed at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​opre/​other_​resrch/​pm_​guide_​eval/​reports/​pmguide/​pmguide_​toc.html.

Logic Model. A logic model is a tool that presents the conceptual framework for a proposed project and explains the linkages among program elements. While there are many versions of the logic model, they generally summarize the logical connections among the needs that are the focus of the project, project goals and objectives, the target population, project inputs (resources), the proposed activities/processes/outputs directed toward the target population, the expected short- and long-term outcomes the initiative is designed to achieve, and the evaluation plan for measuring the extent to which proposed processes and outcomes actually occur. Information on the development of logic models is available on the Internet at http://www.uwex.edu/​ces/​pdande/​, or http://www.extension.iastate.edu/​cyfar/​capbuilding/​outcome/​outcome_​logicmdir.html.

Project Use of Human Subjects. If your evaluation plan includes gathering data from or about clients, there are specific procedures which must be followed in order to protect their privacy and ensure the confidentiality of the information about them. Applicants planning to gather such data are asked to describe their plans regarding an Institutional Review Board Start Printed Page 38952(IRB) review. If applicable, applicants must include a completed Form 310, Protection of Human Subjects. For more information about use of human subjects and IRB's you can visit these web sites: http://www.hhs.gov/​ohrp/​irb/​irb_​chapter2.htm#d2, and http://www.hhs.gov/​ohrp/​humansubjects/​guidance/​ictips.htm.

You may submit your application to us in either electronic or paper format. To submit an application electronically, please use the www.Grants.gov apply site. If you use Grants.gov, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it off-line, and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov site. You may not e-mail an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

Please note the following if you plan to submit your application electronically via Grants.Gov

  • Electronic submission is voluntary, but strongly encouraged.
  • When you enter the Grants.Gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.Gov.
  • To use Grants.gov, you, as the applicant, must have a DUNS Number and register in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR). You should allow a minimum of five days to complete the CCR registration.
  • You will not receive additional point value because you submit a grant application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you submit an application in paper format.
  • You may submit all documents electronically, including all information typically included on the SF 424 and all necessary assurances and certifications.
  • Your application must comply with any page limitation requirements described in this program announcement.
  • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. The Administration for Children and Families will retrieve your application from Grants.gov.
  • We may request that you provide original signatures on forms at a later date.
  • You may access the electronic application for this program on www.Grants.gov.
  • You must search for the downloadable application package by the CFDA number.

Applicants that are submitting their application in paper format should submit an original and two copies of the complete application. The original and each of the two copies must include all required forms, certifications, assurances, and appendices, be signed by an authorized representative, have original signatures, and be submitted unbound.

Private, non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit with their applications the survey located under “Grant Related Documents and Forms,” “Survey for Private, Non-Profit Grant Applicants,” titled, “Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants,” at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htm.

Standard Forms and Certifications

Applicants seeking financial assistance under this announcement must file the Standard Form (SF) 424, Application for Federal Assistance; SF-424A, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs; SF-424B, Assurances—Non-Construction Programs. The forms may be reproduced for use in submitting applications. Applicants must sign and return the standard forms with their application.

Applicants must furnish prior to award an executed copy of the Standard Form LLL, Certification Regarding Lobbying, when applying for an award in excess of $100,000. Applicants who have used non-Federal funds for lobbying activities in connection with receiving assistance under this announcement shall complete a disclosure form, if applicable, with their applications (approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0348-0046). Applicants must sign and return the certification with their application.

Applicants must also understand they will be held accountable for the smoking prohibition included within Pub. L. 103-227, Title XII Environmental Tobacco Smoke (also known as the PRO-KIDS Act of 1994). A copy of the Federal Register notice which implements the smoking prohibition is included with forms. By signing and submitting the application, applicants are providing the certification and need not mail back the certification with the application.

Applicants must make the appropriate certification of their compliance with all Federal statutes relating to nondiscrimination. By signing and submitting the applications, applicants are providing the certification and need not mail back the certification form. Complete the standard forms and the associated certifications and assurances based on the instructions on the forms. The forms and certifications may be found at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htm.

Those organizations required to provide proof of non-profit status, please refer to Section III.3.

Please see Section V.1, for instructions on preparing the full project description.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Explanation of Due Dates

The closing time and date for receipt of applications is 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time Zone) on the date noted above. Mailed or hand carried applications received after 4:30 p.m. on the closing date will be classified as late.

Deadline: Mailed applications shall be considered as meeting an announced deadline if they are received on or before the deadline time and date at the ACYF Operations Center, c/o The Dixon Group, Inc., ATTN: Children's Bureau, 118 Q Street NE., Washington, DC 20002-2132. Applicants are responsible for mailing applications well in advance, when using all mail services, to ensure that the applications are received on or before the deadline time and date.

Applications handcarried by applicants, applicant couriers, other representatives of the applicant, or by overnight/express mail couriers shall be considered as meeting an announced deadline if they are received on or before the deadline date, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., EST, at the ACYF Operations Center, c/o The Dixon Group, Inc., ATTN: Children's Bureau, 118 Q Street NE., Washington, DC 20002-2132, between Monday and Friday (excluding Federal holidays). This address must appear on the envelope/package containing the application with the note. Applicants are cautioned that express/overnight mail services do not always deliver as agreed.

Late applications: Applications which do not meet the criteria above are considered late applications. ACF shall notify each late applicant that its application will not be considered in the current competition. Any application received after 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date will not be considered for competition. Applicants using express/overnight mail services should allow two working days prior to the deadline date for receipt of applications. (Applicants are cautioned that express/overnight mail services do not always deliver as agreed).

Extension of deadlines: ACF may extend application deadlines when Start Printed Page 38953circumstances such as acts of God (floods, hurricanes, etc.) occur, or when there are widespread disruptions of mail service, or in other rare cases. A determination to extend or waive deadline requirements rests with the Chief Grants Management Officer.

Checklist:

What to submitRequired contentRequired form or formatWhen to submit
Project AbstractSee Section IV and VFormat described in Section IV and VBy application due date.
Project NarrativeSee Section IV and VFormat described in Section IV and VBy application due date.
SF424See Section IVFormat described in Section IVBy application due date.
SF424ASee Section IVFormat described in Section IVBy application due date.
SF424BSee Section IVFormat described in Section IVBy application due date.
Assurances and CertificationsSee Section IVFormat described in Section IVBy Time of Award.
Proof of Non-profit status, if applicableSee Section III and IVFormat described in Section IIIBy Time of Award.
Indirect Cost rate Agreement, if applicableSee Section IVFormat described in IVBy Time of Award.
Letters of commitment from partner organizations, if applicableSee Section IVFormat described in IVBy Time of Award.
Non-Federal match commitment documentationSee Section III.2Format described in III.2By Time of Award.

Additional Forms: Private, nonprofit organizations are encouraged to submit with their applications the survey located under “Grant Related Documents and Forms” titled “Survey for Private, Non-Profit Grant Applicants” at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htm.

What to submitRequired contentRequired form or formatWhen to submit
Survey for Private, Non-Profit Grant ApplicantsPer required formMay be found on www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​ofs/​forms.htmWith application.

4. Intergovernmental Review

State Single Point of Contact (SPOC)

The Adoption Opportunities program is NOT covered under Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,” and 45 CFR Part 100, “Intergovernmental Review of Department of Health and Human Services Programs and Activities.”

5. Funding Restrictions

Grant awards will not allow reimbursement of pre-award costs.

Construction is not an allowable activity or expenditure under this solicitation.

Applicants should note that grants to be awarded under this program announcement are subject to the availability of funds. The size of the actual awards will vary.

6. Other Submission Requirements

Submission by Mail: An applicant must provide an original application with all attachments, signed by an authorized representative and two copies. Please see Section IV.3 for an explanation of due dates. Applications should be mailed to: ACYF Operations Center, The Dixon Group, 118 Q St. NE., Washington DC 20002-2132, Attention: Children's Bureau.

Hand Delivery: An applicant must provide an original application with all attachments signed by an authorized representative and two copies. Please see Section IV.3 for an explanation of due dates. Applications should be delivered to: ACYF Operations Center, The Dixon Group, 118 Q St. NE., Washington DC 20002-2132, Attention: Children's Bureau.

Electronic Submission: http://www.grants.gov Please see section IV. 2 Content and Form of Application Submission, for guidelines and requirements when submitting applications electronically.

V. Application Review Information

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13)

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 40 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining the data needed and reviewing the collection information.

The project description is approved under OMB control number 0970-0139 which expires 4/30/2007.

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.

The following are instructions and guidelines on how to prepare the “Project Summary/Abstract” and “Full Project Description” sections of the application. Under the evaluation criteria section, note that each criterion is preceded by the generic evaluation requirement under the ACF Uniform Project Description (UPD).

1. Criteria

General Instructions

ACF is particularly interested in specific 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. Pages should be numbered and a table of contents should be included for easy reference.

Introduction

Applicants required to submit a full project description shall prepare the project description statement in accordance with the following instructions while being aware of the specified evaluation criteria. The text options give a broad overview of what your project description should include while the evaluation criteria identifies the measures that will be used to evaluate applications.

Project Summary/Abstract

Provide a summary of the project description (a page or less) with reference to the funding request. Start Printed Page 38954

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 must be demonstrated and the principal and subordinate objectives of the project must be clearly 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 needed. In developing the project description, the applicant may volunteer or be requested to provide information on the total range of projects currently being conducted and supported (or to be initiated), some of which may be outside the scope of the program announcement.

Approach

Outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed work will be accomplished. Account for all functions or activities identified in the application. Cite factors that might accelerate or decelerate the work and state your reason for taking the proposed approach rather than others. Describe any unusual features of the project such as design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and community involvement. 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.

When accomplishments cannot be quantified by activity or function, list them in chronological order to show the schedule of accomplishments and their target dates. If any data is to be collected, maintained, and/or disseminated, clearance may be required from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This clearance pertains to any “collection of information that is conducted or sponsored by ACF.” List organizations, cooperating entities, consultants, or other key individuals who will work on the project along with a short description of the nature of their effort or contribution.

Organizational Profiles

Provide information on the applicant organization(s) and cooperating partners, such as organizational charts, financial statements, audit reports or statements from CPAs/Licensed Public Accountants, Employer Identification Numbers, names of bond carriers, contact persons and telephone numbers, child care licenses and other documentation of professional accreditation, information on compliance with Federal/State/local government standards, documentation of experience in the program area, and other pertinent information. If the applicant is a non-profit organization, submit proof of non-profit status in its application. The non-profit agency can accomplish this by providing: (a) A reference to the applicant organization's listing in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in the IRS Code; (b) a copy of a currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate, (c) a statement from a State taxing body, State attorney general, or other appropriate State official certifying that the applicant organization has a non-profit status and that none of the net earnings accrue to any private shareholders or individuals; (d) a certified copy of the organization's certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes non-profit status, (e) any of the items 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.

Budget and Budget Justification

Provide a budget with line item detail and detailed calculations for each budget object class identified on the Budget Information form. Detailed calculations must include estimation methods, quantities, unit costs, and other similar quantitative detail sufficient for the calculation to be duplicated. Also include a breakout by the funding sources identified in Block 15 of the SF-424. Provide a narrative budget justification that describes how the categorical costs are derived. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocability of the proposed costs.

General

Use the following guidelines for preparing the budget and budget justification. Both Federal and non-Federal resources shall be detailed and justified in the budget and narrative justification. “Federal resources” refers only to the ACF grant for which you are applying. “Non Federal resources” are all other 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 a narrative.

Personnel

Description: Costs of employee salaries and wages. Justification: Identify the project director or principal investigator, if known. 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 or personnel costs of delegate agencies or of specific project(s) or businesses to be financed by the applicant.

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, FICA, retirement insurance, taxes, etc.

Travel

Description: Costs of project-related travel by employees of the applicant organization (does not include costs of 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, and other transportation costs and subsistence allowances. Travel costs for key staff to attend ACF-sponsored workshops 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 and an acquisition cost which 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 organization's regular written accounting practices.) Justification: For each type of Start Printed Page 38955equipment requested, provide a description of the equipment, the cost per unit, the number of units, the total cost, and a plan for use on the project, as well as use 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 which includes the equipment definition.

Supplies

Description: Costs of all tangible personal property other than that included under the Equipment category. Justification: Specify general categories of supplies and their costs. Show computations and provide other information which 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, including delegate agencies and specific project(s) or businesses to be financed by the applicant.

Justification: Demonstrate that all procurement transactions will be conducted in a manner to provide, to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. Recipients and subrecipients, other than States that are required to use Part 92 procedures, must justify any anticipated procurement action that is expected to be awarded without competition and exceed the simplified acquisition threshold fixed at 41 U.S.C. 403(11) (currently set at $100,000).

Recipients might be required to make available to ACF pre-award review and procurement documents, such as request for proposals or invitations for bids, independent cost estimates, etc. 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 delegate agency, by agency title, along with the required supporting information referred to in these instructions.

Other

Enter the total of all other costs. Such costs, where applicable and appropriate, may include but are not limited to insurance, food, medical and dental costs (noncontractual), professional services costs, 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 should be used only when the applicant currently has an indirect cost rate approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or another cognizant Federal agency. Justification: An applicant that will charge indirect costs to the grant must enclose a copy of the current rate agreement. If the applicant organization is in the process of initially developing or renegotiating a rate, upon notification that an award will be made, it should immediately develop a tentative indirect cost rate proposal based on its most recently completed fiscal year, in accordance with the cognizant agency's guidelines for establishing indirect cost rates, and submit it to the cognizant agency. Applicants awaiting approval of their indirect cost proposals may also request indirect costs. When an indirect cost rate is requested, those costs included in the indirect cost pool should not also be charged as direct costs to the grant. Also, if the applicant is requesting a rate which 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.

Evaluation Criteria

The following evaluation criteria appear in weighted descending order. The corresponding score values indicate the relative importance that ACF places on each evaluation criterion; however, applicants need not develop their applications precisely according to the order presented. Application components may be organized such that a reviewer will be able to follow a seamless and logical flow of information (e.g., from a broad overview of the project to more detailed information about how it will be conducted.

In considering how applicants will carry out the responsibilities addressed under this announcement, competing applications for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated against the following criteria:

Approach—50 Points

In reviewing the approach, the following factors will be considered: (50 points)

(1) The extent to which there is a sound timeline for effectively implementing the proposed project, including major milestones and target dates. The extent to which the proposed project would complete its activities in a timely manner and conduct a thorough evaluation of its effectiveness within the project time frame.

(2) The extent to which the proposed project would enhance capacity to meet the needs of the target population. The extent to which specific measurable outcomes will occur as a result of the proposed project activities. The extent to which there will be a strong relationship between the proposed project activities and improved outcomes for youth in foster care.

(3) The extent to which there will be an effective administrative and organizational interface between the applicant and the appropriate partner organizations. The extent to which there are appropriate letters of commitment from these partner organizations.

(4) The extent to which the application demonstrates a thorough understanding of the challenges of implementing the proposed project. The extent to which the applicant provides a sound plan explaining how the project would successfully overcome these challenges.

(5) The extent to which the proposed project will provide culturally competent services to the target population.

(6) The extent to which the design of the proposed project reflects up-to-date knowledge from research and literature. The extent to which the proposed project is innovative and involves strategies that build on, or are an alternative to, existing strategies.

(7) The extent to which the project's evaluation plan would measure achievement of project objectives, customer satisfaction, acquisition of competencies, effectiveness of program services and project strategies, the efficiency of the implementation process, and the impact of the project. The extent to which the methods of evaluation would provide performance feedback, support periodic assessment of program progress and provide a sound basis for program adjustments. The extent to which the proposed evaluation plan would be likely to yield useful findings or results about effective strategies, and contribute to and promote evaluation research and evidence-based practices that could be used to guide replication or testing in other settings. The extent to which applicants that do not have the in-house capacity to conduct an objective, comprehensive evaluation of the project present a sound plan for contracting with a third-party evaluator specializing Start Printed Page 38956in social science or evaluation, or a university or college to conduct the evaluation.

(8) The extent to which there is a sound plan for documenting project activities and results, including the development of a data collection infrastructure that is sufficient to support a methodologically sound and rigorous evaluation. The extent to which relevant data would be collected. The extent to which there is a sound plan for collecting these data, securing informed consent and implementing an Institutional Review Board (IRB) review, if applicable.

(9) The extent to which there is a sound plan for developing useful products during the proposed project and a reasonable schedule for developing these products. The extent to which the intended audience (e.g., researchers, policymakers, and practitioners) for product dissemination is comprehensive and appropriate. The extent to which the dissemination plan includes appropriate mechanisms and forums that would effectively convey the information and support successful replication by other interested agencies.

(10) The extent to which there is a sound plan for continuing this project beyond the period of Federal funding.

Organizational Profiles—20 Points

In reviewing the organizational profiles, the following factors will be considered: (20 points)

(1) The extent to which the application evidences sufficient experience and expertise in youth adoption, in collaboration with partner organizations; in culturally competent service delivery; and in administration, development, implementation, management, and evaluation of similar projects. The extent to which each participating organization (including partners and/or subcontractors) possesses the organizational capability to fulfill their assigned roles and functions effectively (if the application involves partnering and/or subcontracting with other agencies/organizations) in serving the target populations.

(2) The extent to which the proposed project director and key project staff possess sufficient relevant knowledge, experience and capabilities to implement and manage a project of this size, scope and complexity effectively (e.g., resume). The extent to which the role, responsibilities and time commitments of each proposed project staff position, including consultants, subcontractors and/or partners, are clearly defined and appropriate to the successful implementation of the proposed project with respect to the target population.

(3) The extent to which there is a sound management plan for achieving the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, for accomplishing project tasks and ensuring quality. The extent to which the plan clearly describes the effective management and coordination of activities carried out by any partners, subcontractors and consultants (if appropriate). The extent to which there would be a mutually beneficial relationship between the proposed project and other work planned, anticipated or underway with Federal assistance by the applicant.

Objectives and Need for Assistance—20 Points

In reviewing the objectives and need for assistance, the following factors will be considered: (20 points)

(1) The extent to which the application demonstrates an understanding of the requirements of the Adoption Opportunities legislation and the Child and Family Services Reviews, and the extent to which the proposed project will contribute to meeting those requirements. The extent to which the application demonstrates a clear understanding of youth adoption issues.

(2) The extent to which the application demonstrates a thorough understanding of the need for knowledge about what works in youth adoption.

(3) The extent to which the application presents a thorough review of the relevant literature that reflects a clear understanding of the research on best practices and promising approaches as it relates to the proposed project. The extent to which the review of the literature sets a sound context and rationale for the project. The extent to which it provides evidence that the proposed project is innovative and, if successfully implemented and evaluated, likely to contribute to the knowledge base on youth adoption.

(4) The extent to which the application presents a clear vision for the proposed project to be developed and implemented. The extent to which the applicant makes a clear statement of the goals (end products of an effective project) and objectives (measurable steps for reaching these goals) of the proposed project. The extent to which these goals and objectives closely relate to the purposes of this funding announcement.

(5) The extent to which the lessons learned through the proposed project would benefit policy, practice and theory development in addressing the needs of the target populations as described in this funding announcement.

(6) The extent to which the proposed project would develop strong partnerships to meet the goals described in this funding announcement.

Budget and Budget Justification—10 Points

In reviewing the budget and budget justification, the following factors will be considered: (10 points)

(1) The extent to which the costs of the proposed project are reasonable and appropriate, in view of the activities to be conducted and expected results and benefits.

(2) The extent to which the applicant's fiscal controls and accounting procedures would ensure prudent use, proper and timely disbursement and accurate accounting of funds received under this program announcement.

2. Review and Selection Process

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) of specific salary rates or amounts for individuals specified in the application budget.

No grant award will be made under this announcement on the basis of an incomplete application.

A panel of at least three reviewers (primarily experts from outside the Federal government) will use the evaluation criteria described in this announcement to evaluate each application. The reviewers will determine the strengths and weaknesses of each application, provide comments about the strengths and weaknesses and give each application a numerical score.

The results of the competitive review are a primary factor in making funding decisions. In addition, Federal staff conducts administrative reviews of the applications and, in light of the results of the competitive review, will recommend applications for funding to the ACYF Commissioner. ACYF reserves the option of discussing applications with other funding sources when this is in the best interest of the Federal government. ACYF may also solicit and consider comments from ACF Regional Office staff in making funding decisions. ACYF may take into consideration the involvement (financial and/or programmatic) of the private sector, national, or State or community foundations; a favorable balance between Federal and non-Start Printed Page 38957Federal funds for the proposed project; or the potential for high benefit from low Federal investment. ACYF may elect not to fund any applicants having known management, fiscal, reporting, programmatic, or other problems which make it unlikely that they would be able to provide effective services or effectively complete the proposed activity.

With the results of the peer review and the information from Federal staff, the Commissioner of ACYF makes the final funding decisions. The Commissioner may give special consideration to applications proposing services of special interest to the Government and to achieve geographic distributions of grant awards. Applications of special interest may include, but are not limited to, applications focusing on unserved or inadequately served clients or service areas and programs addressing diverse ethnic populations.

Approved but Unfunded Applications

Applications that are approved but unfunded may be held over for funding in the next funding cycle, pending the availability of funds, for a period not to exceed one year.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Applications will be reviewed in the summer of 2005. Grant awards will have a start date no later than September 30, 2005.

VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

The successful applicants will be notified through the issuance of a Financial Assistance Award document which 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, and the total project period for which support is contemplated. The Financial Assistance Award will be signed by the Grants Officer and transmitted via postal mail.

Organizations whose applications will not be funded will be notified in writing.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Direct Federal grants, sub-award funds, or contracts under this program shall not be used to support inherently religious activities such as religious instruction, worship, or proselytization. Therefore, organizations must take steps to separate, in time or location, their inherently religious activities from the services funded under this Program. Regulations pertaining to the Equal Treatment for Faith-based Organizations, which includes the prohibition against Federal funding of inherently religious activities, can be found at either 45 CFR 87.1 or the HHS Web site at http://www.os.dhhs.gov/​fbci/​waisgate21.pdf.

45 CFR Part 74; 92. Grantees are subject to the requirements in 45 CFR part 74 (non-governmental) or 45 CFR part 92 (governmental) organizations.

3. Reporting Requirements

Program Progress Reports: Semi-Annually.

Financial Reports: Semi-Annually.

Grantees will be required to submit program progress reports and financial reports (SF269) throughout the project period. Program progress and financial reports are due 30 days after the reporting period. In addition, final programmatic and financial reports are due 90 days after the close of the project period.

VII. Agency Contacts

Program Office Contact: Patsy Buida, Children's Bureau, 330 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20447, Phone: 202-205-8769, E-mail: pbuida@acf.hhs.gov.

Grants Management Office Contact: Peter Thompson, Grants Officer, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau, 330 C Street, SW., Room 2070, Washington, DC 20447, Phone: 202-401-4608, E-mail: pathompson@acf.hhs.gov.

VIII. Other Information

Notice: Beginning with FY 2006, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) will no longer publish grant announcements in the Federal Register. Beginning October 1, 2005 applicants will be able to find a synopsis of all ACF grant opportunities and apply electronically for opportunities via: http://www.Grants.gov. Applicants will also be able to find the complete text of all ACF grant announcements on the ACF Web site located at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​grants/​index.html.

Additional information about this program and its purpose can be located on the following Web sites: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/​programs/​cb/​.

For general questions regarding this announcement please contact: ACYF Operations Center, The Dixon Group ATTN: Children's Bureau, 118 Q Street, NE., Washington DC 20002-2132, Telephone: 866-796-1591.

Applicants will not be sent acknowledgements of received applications.

Start Signature

Dated: June 28, 2005.

Joan E. Ohl,

Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 05-13302 Filed 7-5-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4184-01-P