U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Administration for Children and Families (ACF) - Office for Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE)
08/14/18 4:30 PM ET Hard Copy Receipt; or 11:59 PM ET Receipt via Grants.gov
Grants to USA state, territory, or tribal agencies to implement previously-developed plans to provide childcare assistance to low-income families. Applicants must create or verify the required registrations well in advance of the deadline date. Please note that the current intake is open to organizations supported for the previous cycle’s planning phase.
In May 2017, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) funded three cooperative agreements, under HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-YE-1217 (CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation Planning Grants, Phase I/Cohort 2), for 18-months to Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies. Those grants provided funding to develop a research-based evaluation plan of the implementation of policies and initiatives in response to the goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014. Under the current funding opportunity announcement (FOA), all grantees awarded planning grants (Phase I/Cohort 2) are eligible to apply for funding to implement their research plan. Awards will be on a competitive basis according to the evaluation criteria in the FOA.
During the period of this grant, CCDF Lead Agencies will refine their research and evaluation plan with their research partners (either within their organization or with an outside partner) and implement their research project. Grantees will be expected to clearly document the policies of interest that will be evaluated, document how they will measure the policy implementation or change in response to the goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014, and articulate how these findings will be used in future policy and planning decisions.
The CCDF is the primary federal funding source dedicated to providing child care assistance to low-income families. As a block grant, CCDF gives funding to states, territories, and tribes to provide child care subsidies through grants and contracts with providers, as well as vouchers or certificates to low-income families. In September 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a CCDF Final Rule, amending 45 CFR Part 98 to provide clarity to states, territories, and tribes CCDF Lead Agencies who administer the program on how to implement the CCDBG Act and administer the CCDF program in a way that best meets the needs of children, child care providers, and families.
From 2000 until 2015, Congress appropriated approximately $10 million annually from CCDF discretionary funds for research, demonstration, and evaluation. With the enactment of the CCDBG Act of 2014, Congress authorized a permanent reservation of CCDF funds for research and evaluation. The level reserved in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 was $14 million. The level reserved in fiscal year 2018 is $23 million. The Research funded through CCDF is intended to help child care decision-makers in crafting policies and initiatives that support positive outcomes for families and children; to increase the capacity for child care research at the national, state, and local levels; and to promote linkages among research, policy, and practice. To date, these funds have supported research efforts that have increased the knowledge about the efficacy of child care subsidy policies and programs in enhancing employment and economic self-sufficiency of low-income families, and in improving quality in all child care and early education settings to support learning and development of children.
Phase I Planning Grants:
In September 2016, OPRE funded eight CCDF Lead Agency grantees to engage in an 18-month planning period (Phase I/Cohort 1) to develop a research-based evaluation of their implementation of policies and initiatives in response to the goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014 (HHS-2016-ACF-OPRE-YE-1177). In March 2018, OPRE funded four CCDF Lead Agencies from Cohort 1 to carry out their research plans (HHS-2018-ACF-OPRE-YE-1274).
OPRE funded three additional CCDF Lead Agency grantees in May 2017 to engage in an 18- month planning period (Phase I/Cohort 2; HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-1217); this FOA only refers to the second cohort of grantees.
Brief Overview of Program Goals and Expectations:
The purpose of the CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation Planning Grants (Phase I/Cohort 2) was to provide CCDF Lead Agencies the opportunity to plan for a rigorous evaluation of their implementation of policies and initiatives, of their choosing, in response to the goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014. That grant program was a unique opportunity for CCDF Lead Agencies to build capacity in research and evaluation, learn to use data they were already collecting to evaluate their policy choices, and plan for an evaluation prior to applying for support to carry out the evaluation. It also allowed CCDF Lead Agencies to identify new data that facilitated tracking of changes and outcomes at the level of the early care and education programs, families, and children resulting from the changes in policies and implementation of new initiatives.
Grantees were also expected to work with the Center to Support CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation ("Center"). In September 2016, OPRE funded the Center through a contract with the Urban Institute. The Center supports the Administration for Children or Families (ACF) in learning from the CCDF Lead Agency grantees about how they implement policies in response to the goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014. The Center also supports ACF in building the capacity of the field, including CCDF Lead Agency grantees and non-grantees to conduct high-quality rigorous research to evaluate the policies. The Center informs the development of research-based information related to the implementation of policies responding to the goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014 and facilitates learning from the research conducted.
The specific goals and expectations of the Phase I/Cohort 2 grant program were:
1. To address issues of current relevance to CCDF decision-makers at the local, state, and national levels.
The reauthorization of the CCDBG Act provides a unique opportunity for CCDF Lead Agencies to test the implementation of policies and initiatives in response to the goals of the law and evaluate these changes through rigorous research methods. The research plans developed during the funded projects addressed issues relevant to CCDF decision-makers generally, in addition to issues specific to a single state, territory, or tribe.
2. To increase the capacity of CCDF Lead Agencies in states, territories, and tribes to plan and conduct rigorous, policy-relevant research.
The decisions CCDF Lead Agencies make as they implement new policies to comply with the changes to the CCDBG Act of 2014 may benefit from examining different strategies. However, CCDF Lead Agencies may not have experience evaluating policies using rigorous research methods. Phase I/Cohort 2 was intended to increase the capacity of CCDF Lead Agencies to conduct rigorous, policy-relevant research in Phase II/Cohort 2, but also to provide adequate time for them to develop a research plan that is rigorous, relevant, and feasible to carry out.
Grantees participated in a network of CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation Planning grantees and worked with the Center. Grantees met in-person annually and communicated regularly with federal staff, Center staff, and other grantees to share lessons learned, identify opportunities for collaboration, and to develop collective expertise and resources to be shared with the field at large.
Grantees were expected to have a functional data system that allows them to access relevant data at the time of the current FOA (Phase II/Cohort 2).
3. To encourage collaboration among policymakers and researchers to meet the goals of this project.
Grantees were expected to work with researchers either within their organization or through a partnership with an outside research entity such as a higher education institution or research consulting firm. During Phase I/Cohort 2, grantees developed relationships with their research partners and created a structure for working collaboratively. The grantees and their research partners worked together to develop comprehensive research projects including developing research questions, agree on the research design and its implementation, establish a mechanism to discuss the results as they are obtained and direct further research, consider the practice and policy implications of the results, disseminate the results to multiple audiences, and plan for future research. Relevant decision-makers from across the agency and other stakeholders were expected to take part in the research planning process.
4. To encourage active communication, networking, and interdisciplinary collaboration among prominent child care researchers and policymakers on critical issues for child care policies, programs, and outcomes.
Grantees were required to participate in the Annual Meeting of the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium (CCEEPRC). This is a group of researchers who have conducted research to answer child care and early education policy-relevant questions who are currently or previously funded by ACF.
Phase II Project Requirements:
The purpose of the CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation Grants (Phase II/Cohort 2) is to provide CCDF Lead Agencies with support to implement the research and evaluation plans (“research plans”) they developed during Phase I/Cohort 2. Section IV.2 describes the information applicants will be required to provide about the research plans they developed during Phase I/Cohort 2 and propose to implement with Phase II/Cohort 2 grant funding.
Phase II/Cohort 2 Goals and Expectations:
The specific goals and expectations of this grant program are to:
1. Evaluate policies and initiatives in response to goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014.
Phase II/Cohort 2 projects must build on the work that grantees completed as part of the Phase I/Cohort 2 planning grants. Some grantees may have conducted preliminary and/or pilot analyses and, as a result, have highly developed research plans. Other grantees may need more time to refine their research plans and conduct preliminary analyses or pilot studies during this grant period. During Phase II/Cohort 2, grantees will refine their research plans and conduct their evaluation. As part of this process, grantees will describe the specific policy (or policies) of interest and document the changes their state or territory will make or has already made as a result of the CCDBG Act of 2014. The grantees must also document how the policy change will be measured and how results from the study will be used in future policy and planning decisions.
The goal of this grant program is to conduct a rigorous research project that answers policy- relevant questions in response to the goals of the CCDBG Act of 2014. Rigorous research incorporates the four following criteria:
-Credibility: Ensuring what is intended to be evaluated is actually what is being evaluated; making sure that descriptions of the phenomena or experience being studied are accurate and recognizable to others; ensuring that the method used is the most definitive and compelling approach that is available and feasible for the question being addressed. If conclusions about program efficacy are being examined, the study design should include a comparison group (i.e., randomized control trial or quasi-experimental design).
-Applicability: Generalizability of findings beyond current project (i.e., when findings "fit" into contexts outside the study situation). Ensuring the population being studied represents one or more of the population being served by the program.
-Consistency: When processes and methods are consistently followed and clearly described, someone else could replicate the approach, and other studies can confirm what is found.
-Neutrality: Producing results that are as objective as possible and acknowledge the bias brought to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the results.
Both formative and summative evaluations are welcome. Grantees should choose a research design that most appropriately answers their research questions, whether it is descriptive or causal in nature. Collaborative projects that would explore common questions across states would be permitted and encouraged.
2. Continue to build and strengthen partnerships between CCDF Lead Agencies and researchers (either within or outside of the organization).
Projects must be led by CCDF Lead Agencies in partnership with researchers either within their organization or with an outside organization (e.g., university or research firm). Grantees must build on the partnerships they developed during Phase I/Cohort 2 and continue to work together throughout the project period.
This includes jointly refining a structure for working collaboratively, refining and/or developing the research questions and research plan, establishing a mechanism to discuss the results of the evaluations, considering the practice and policy implications of the results, disseminating the results to multiple audiences, and planning for future research. Working together to develop and implement the research plan helps ensure that the research will be of direct use to the CCDF Lead Agency as well as to the field at large.
3. Disseminate evaluation findings to relevant stakeholders at local, state, and national levels.
Results of the studies funded through this grant program, including the implications for decision-makers at the local, state, and national levels will be made widely accessible. Grantees are expected to communicate findings beyond research audiences and must develop communications for policy audiences as well. In addition, grantees are expected to identify and/or develop additional opportunities, products, activities, or resources to communicate about the implications and innovations of the research project for decision-makers and other audiences, as appropriate, at the local, state, and national levels.
Publications, briefs, and other project products must be archived with Child Care and Early Education Research Connections (“Research Connections”) or any future data archive. Project teams must work with Research Connections, or any future data archive, throughout the project period to plan for archiving the research data (if appropriate) and the dissemination products resulting from their projects.
4. Communicate, network, and collaborate with prominent child care researchers, CCDF administrators, and policymakers on critical issues for child care policies, programs, and outcomes.
Grantees must participate in the Annual Meeting of CCEEPRC. This is a group of researchers, currently or previously funded by ACF, who have conducted research to answer child care policy-relevant questions. Grantees may also be invited to meetings of CCDF administrators to share the process of developing their research plan and disseminate findings.
Grantees will be expected to:
-Participate in a network of CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation grantees;
-Attend annual in-person grantee meetings;
-Communicate regularly with federal staff and other grantees; and
-Continue to work with the Center to Support CCDBG Implementation Research
GrantWatch ID#: 183893
Expected Number of Awards: 3
-Award Ceiling: $250,000 Per Budget Period
-Award Floor: $100,000 Per Budget Period
-Average Projected Award Amount: $200,000 Per Budget Period
The anticipated project start date is 11/01/2018. The grant covers a 48-month project period with four 12-month budget periods.
Eligibility is limited to the three grantees that received planning grants in fiscal year 2017 under HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-YE-1217. The three grantees funded in fiscal year 2017 for Phase I/Cohort 2 have undertaken an intensive and structured planning process over the last 18-months. Because much of the work conducted under the planning grants was foundational, limiting the competition to the three grantees from Phase I/Cohort 2 would assist OPRE in funding those grants that are most ready to implement the research and evaluation projects they developed during the planning grants.
Applicants eligible to receive awards under this FOA are state, territory, and tribal CCDF Lead Agencies. "Lead Agency" means the state, territorial, or tribal entity designated in accordance with 45 CFR §§ 98.10 and 98.16(a) to which a CCDF grant is awarded and that is accountable for the use of the funds provided.
CCDF Lead Agencies may partner with local government agencies or nongovernmental agencies that administer CCDF programs on their behalf (e.g., child care resource and referral agencies), as well as with institutions of higher education or research organizations, especially if the eligible agency does not have the in-house capacity to conduct research.
Applicants are required to submit written evidence that they are one of the three grantees under HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-YE-1217 as part of the application submissions. The required documentation is described in Section IV.2. The Project Description, Additional Eligibility Documentation. Lack of the required documentation will disqualify the application from review and from award. See Section III.3. Other, 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.
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.
The due date for applications is August 14, 2018.
The deadline for electronic application submission is 11:59 p.m., ET. 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.
The deadline for receipt of paper applications is 4:30 p.m., ET, on the due date listed. 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.
View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Program Office Contact:
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Division of Child and Family Development
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Phone: (877) 350-5913
Office of Grants Management Contact:
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Grants Management
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Phone: (202) 401-4855
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