(a) Service area. (1) A program must propose a service area in the grant application and define the area by county or sub-county area, such as a municipality, town or census tract or jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian reservation.
(i) A tribal program may propose a service area that includes areas where members of Indian tribes or those eligible for such membership reside, including but not limited to Indian reservation land, areas designated as near-reservation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) provided that the service area is approved by the tribe’s governing council, Alaska Native Villages, Alaska Native Regional Corporations with land-based authorities, Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Areas, and Tribal Designated Statistical Areas where federally recognized Indian tribes do not have a federally established reservation.
(ii) If the tribe’s service area includes any area specified in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, and that area is also served by another program, the tribe may serve children from families who are members of or eligible to be members of such tribe and who reside in such areas as well as children from families who are not members of the tribe, but who reside within the tribe’s established service area.
(2) If a program decides to change the service area after ACF has approved its grant application, the program must submit to ACF a new service area proposal for approval.
(b) Community wide strategic planning and needs assessment (community assessment). (1) To design a program that meets community needs, and builds on strengths and resources, a program must conduct a community assessment at least once over the five-year grant period. The community assessment must use data that describes community strengths, needs, and resources and include, at a minimum:
(i) The number of eligible infants, toddlers, preschool age children, and expectant mothers, including their geographic location, race, ethnicity, and languages they speak, including:
(A) Children experiencing homelessness in collaboration with, to the extent possible, McKinney-Vento Local Education Agency Liaisons (42 U.S.C. 11432 (6)(A));
(B) Children in foster care; and
(C) Children with disabilities, including types of disabilities and relevant services and resources provided to these children by community agencies;
(ii) The education, health, nutrition and social service needs of eligible children and their families, including prevalent social or economic factors that impact their well-being;
(iii) Typical work, school, and training schedules of parents with eligible children;
(iv) Other child development, child care centers, and family child care programs that serve eligible children, including home visiting, publicly funded state and local preschools, and the approximate number of eligible children served;
(v) Resources that are available in the community to address the needs of eligible children and their families; and,
(vi) Strengths of the community.
(2) A program must annually review and update the community assessment to reflect any significant changes including increased availability of publicly-funded pre-kindergarten- (including an assessment of how the pre-kindergarten available in the community meets the needs of the parents and children served by the program, and whether it is offered for a full school day), rates of family and child homelessness, and significant shifts in community demographics and resources.
(3) A program must consider whether the characteristics of the community allow it to include children from diverse economic backgrounds that would be supported by other funding sources, including private pay, in addition to the program’s eligible funded enrollment. A program must not enroll children from diverse economic backgrounds if it would result in a program serving less than its eligible funded enrollment.