To support transparency in the competitive grants process, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) does not respond directly to individual questions.
If you would like to submit a question, contact the OHS Grant Review Operations Center at OHSTech@reviewops.org, or call (toll-free) 888-242-0684 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.
To whom it may concern, RE: | HHS-2017-ACF-OHS-CH-R11-1212 | Opportunity Title: American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion. Will the funds in the amount of $5,000,000 be available to provide American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion program services to eligible infants, toddlers, pregnant women, and their families? Will these funds be available to each of the 10 grantors? Or will only $500.000.00 of the $5,000.000 be awarded to each of the 10 awards at the time?
Thank you for your interest in becoming an Early Head Start (EHS) grantee. The total amount of funding available through this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is $5,500,000 per Budget Period. Under this FOA, new entities or existing Head Start and EHS grantees can apply to expand the number of center-based and/or home-based slots in traditional American Indian Alaska Native EHS programs through expansion. You are encouraged to review Section I. Program Description, Eligible EHS Program Participants section of the FOA.
Per Section II. Federal Award Information, Expected Number of Awards of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA)," Please note that the expected number of awards represents an estimated range of awards that the Office of Head Start might make as the result of this funding opportunity announcement." The Office of Head Start (OHS) may award one grant or up to 10 grants as a result of the American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion FOA. The funding amount for each awardee(s) will vary based on individual applicants' proposed program option and enrollment as well as the availability of federal funding.
Can an organization apply for this funding even though we are not a Tribe? If we do apply, can we serve tribal and non-tribal children at a facility located on tribal land? We would be leasing the facility from the tribe and collaborating with them for staff training around cultural sensitivities, language preservation, etc.
Per the Executive Summary and Section III.1 Eligible Applicants in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), “ACF solicits applications from public entities, including states; Native American Tribal organizations; Native American Tribal Governments (federally recognized); private, nonprofit organizations, including community-based or faith-based organizations; or for-profit agencies that meet eligibility for applying as stated in section 645A of the Head Start Act.” That said, interested applicants should also be aware of the additional eligibility requirement stated in Section III.1 Eligible Applicants that reads, “Eligible applicants are also subject to section 641(e) of the Head Start Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9836, Prohibition Against Non-Indian Head Start Agency Receiving a Grant for an Indian Head Start program.” Interested applicants are encouraged to read these sections of the Head Start Act prior to submitting an application in response to this FOA.
I have a question regarding the American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion grant, funding opportunity no. HHS-2017-ACF-OHS-CH-R11-1212. Page 6, under Administrative Cost Waiver, references administration costs that are limited at 15 percent. The organization I work for has an indirect rate of 42.30 percent, which also includes administration costs such as financial management, office space costs, etc. for the project. Is this limit referring to a 15 percent limit on indirect costs, or to costs of efforts to develop and implement the program after the grant is awarded? In the budget, there is also a section where an applicant would enter their indirect cost rate, as well as provide a copy of their Indirect Rate Agreement. Can you please clarify?
Thank you for your interest in becoming an American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start grantee.
You are encouraged to review the following Administrative Cost Limitations resource, and information on direct and indirect costs contained in the Uniform Guidance, 45 CFR §§ 75.412-415. The 15 percent administrative cost limitation applies independently of the organization’s established indirect cost rate.
You are also encouraged to review Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission, The Project Budget and Budget Justification of the FOA for information on the inclusion of organization’s indirect cost rate in content of the application. Per this Section of the FOA, the indirect cost rate agreement can be included in the Appendices of the application.
We are interested in expanding the number of center-based slots in our EHS program and have the following question: If we apply, and our application is funded, will our annual funding allocation increase to cover the cost of the additional slots added through the expansion grant?
All grants rewarded as a result of the American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will be new five year grants with a corresponding grant number. The grants made as a result of this FOA are not a supplement to existing grants even though Early Head Start services are expanded within the program.
We are in the process of applying for American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion Grant—CFDA: 93.600. Part of the grant will involve requesting funding assistance for facility needs. Our current facilities are in non-compliance due to inadequate size and quality. I have a couple of questions regarding our application for this grant.
- Part of our grant application will address how we will seek funding to expand our organizational resources and staff capacity to provide comprehensive early childhood education and development services that comply with the new Early Head Start Performance Standards. Working with the director and staff of the Early Head Start program, we will be able to address these issues.
- Facility Needs. This is an area I am having challenges. To comply with the guidelines expressed in the new Performance Standards for securing grant funding for facilities, the expectations are formidable. This grant is due June 16, 2017. The challenges I see are two-fold:
- We don't have enough time to accomplish the guidelines as expressed in the Performance Standards.
- We don't have available financial resources to accomplish many of these tasks.
It states in the Performance Standards—1303.43 (pg. 72) that:
- A grantee may submit a written request to the responsible HHS official for reasonable fees and costs necessary to determine preliminary eligibility under Section 1303.42 before it submits an application under 1303.44. If the responsible HHS official approves the grantee’s application, the grantee may use federal funds to pay fees and costs.
The Preliminary Eligibility guidelines include:
- Preliminary Eligibility
- Before a grantee can apply for funds to purchase, construct, or renovate a facility under 1303.44, it must establish that:
- The facility will be available to Indian Tribes or other low-income communities;
- The proposed purchase, construction, or major renovation is within the grantee’s designated service area; and
- The proposed purchase, construction, or major renovation is necessary because the lack of suitable facilities in the grantee’s service area, will inhibit the operation of the program.
- If a program applies to construct a facility, that the construction of such facility is more cost-effective than the purchase of available facilities or renovation.
- Before a grantee can apply for funds to purchase, construct, or renovate a facility under 1303.44, it must establish that:
- Proving a lack of suitable facilities: To satisfy paragraph (a)(i)(3) of this section, the grantee must have a written statement from an independent real estate professional familiar with the commercial real estate market in the grantee’s service area that includes factors considered and supports how the real estate professional determined that there are no other suitable facilities in the area.
We develop this statement with a statement from a real estate agent to submit this request. If there anything else we need to know and do to submit this request for approval for preliminary eligibility? My understanding is that this request should be directed to you.
The application to purchase, construct, and renovate facilities (1303.44 — pg 73) has a lot of activities that we will not be able to accomplish and do not have the funding for by the June 16, 2017 deadline. What advice can you provide me to write and submit this application requesting funding assistance for facility needs? The facility improvements is a major need for the Early Head Start program and we need funding assistance to address it. We are looking at a new facility which requires a lot of pre-design and design/development activities. How can we accomplish these activities and satisfy the requirements of the grant application?
We are definitely interested in applying for this grant, but we need assistance to satisfy all the grant application requirements as they relate to securing funding for facility needs to comply with the new Performance Standards.
Per Section I. Program Description of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), “Under this FOA, new entities or existing Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) grantees can apply to expand the number of center-based and/or home-based slots in traditional AIAN EHS programs through Expansion.”
Funding awarded as a result of this FOA cannot solely be used for quality improvements to an existing grant’s program.
Section V.I. Criteria of the FOA includes the following criterion, “5.5. Describes plans to meet or exceed federal requirements concerning facilities and to be accessible by federal authorities for purposes of monitoring and ensuring compliance, unless federal laws prohibit such access. Where facilities are not available, the application provides a plan to acquire facilities in accordance with the requirements provided for the purchase, construction, and major renovation of facilities described in 45 CFR Part 1303.40 Subpart E.”
The aforementioned criterion requires an applicant, when facilities are not available, to provide a plan to acquire facilities in accordance with federal regulations. If an applicant is awarded funding through this FOA and wants to acquire new facilities and/or complete major renovations to a facility, then as a grantee the program must comply with the requirements described in 45 CFR Part 1303.40 Subpart E. Applicants are not required to comply with any of the Head Start Program Performance Standards requirements for the additionally proposed expansion slots prior to the submission of the organization’s application.
Questions regarding funding specifically for facility improvements and/or the expanding organizational resources and staff capacity should be sent directly to the existing grantee’s program specialist.
My organization is planning to apply for a AIAN Early Head Start grant this cycle; however, we have a few specific questions about service area that are not answered anywhere online. I'm wondering if ACF offers TA hours to grant applicants like other federal agencies or if there is an individual who is appropriate to contact with pre-application questions.
The Office of Head Start (OHS) does not provide technical assistance directly to individual applicants during the competitive grant review process.
You are encouraged to review the funding opportunity announcement in its’ entirety. You are also encouraged to review the information within the Grants Toolkit on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center website.
Direct questions related to the requirements of the FOA may be submitted to the OHS Operations Center at (toll-free) 1-888-242-0684 or OHSTech@reviewops.org. The answers to any submitted questions regarding this funding opportunity are available at https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/grant-application/article/frequently-asked-questions.
We would like to know if we are eligible to receive an EHS Expansion grant through ACF-OHS-CH-R11-1212. Background: As a Native American Tribal Organization that operates a Head Start program, it would seem that our organization would be eligible. However, the Tribe was recently awarded an EHS grant and is in the start-up period with direct services scheduled to begin this summer. Question: Even though the Tribe was recently awarded an EHS grant, given the significant need that exists on the reservation, is the Tribe eligible for funding under this competition? And, assuming the application is of high quality, would it receive serious consideration even though it will be just beginning services from the recently awarded grant?
The recent award of one grant does not affect an organization’s eligibility to submit an application in response to the American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion funding opportunity announcement (FOA). Likewise, the recent award of Early Head Start funding to an applicant entity does not preclude that entity from receiving further funding. You are encouraged to review Section V.2. Review and Selection Process, Objective Review, and Results of the FOA for additional information on the award decision-making process.
My first question is 1) On page 30 of 59, Pre-Award Costs, is there an allowable amount for these pre-award costs or would they fall into the total ceiling amount of $5.5MM for the budget period? 2) Because the Pre-Award Costs are for costs included up to 90 days before the grant start (starting in 6/1 assuming a 9/1 start date) is the assumption that start-up time at the outset of the grant period on 9/1 is disallowed? In other words, is it allowable to have a couple of months at the beginning of the grant period to ramp up on staff or is the expectation that the program begin immediately on 9/1/2017?
Funding provided for the operation of the program is referred to as “base operating funds” or “base funding”; funding provided for training and technical assistance is referred to as “T/TA.” The Award Ceiling, listed within Section II. Federal Award Information of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), of $5,500,000 represents the total amount of base and T/TA funding available through this funding opportunity. Per Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission of the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), “Pre-award costs, including start-up costs, may be requested by an applicant in addition to the base operating and T/TA grant funds.” You are encouraged to review additional information on Start-Up/Pre-Award Costs on pg. 8 of the FOA.
Per Section V.I. Criteria of the FOA, all applicants must,”5.6. Demonstrates the ability to provide timely and efficient implementation of all program components and services immediately upon award, including planning during the transition period; the availability of classroom space and facilities that meets applicable federal standards; the ability to provide necessary transportation; and the ability to recruit eligible tribal infants, toddlers, and their families.”