BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Congress authorized the Lifespan Respite Care Program in 2006. Lifespan Respite Care Programs are coordinated systems of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers of children or adults of all ages with special needs. Such systems bring together Federal, state and local resources and funding streams to help support, expand and streamline the delivery of planned and emergency respite services while also providing for the recruitment and training of respite workers and caregiver training and empowerment.
Since ACL began implementing the requirements of the Program in 2009, a concerted effort has been made to support state grantees with targeted technical assistance. In its eleven years of operation, the ACL-funded Lifespan Respite Technical Assistance and Resource Center (TARC) has made considerable progress in supporting the development and implementation of the program as a whole.
Later in FY 2020, as detailed under Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2020-ACL-AOA-LRLT-0412, ACL will award a new, five-year cooperative agreement to continue technical assistance and support to the Lifespan Respite Program grantees both past and present, in the following areas:
Advancing the respite research agenda
Grantee- and state-specific program development and implementation technical assistance; and
National capacity building at the federal, state and local levels to increase respite capacities in former grantee states and states yet to receive funding to support their efforts to build or strengthen respite coalitions in their state.
ACTIVITIES AND DESIRED OUTCOMES
While broad-based technical assistance is critical for successful program implementation and capacity building for grantees (or those states wishing to apply for a Lifespan Respite Care Program grant award in the future), ACL has identified the opportunity and need to focus additional resources and support for work in the following three targeted areas:
Workforce development - “More than two million people work as personal care aides, and 800,000 people work as home health aides. These are among the fastest-growing occupations in the US and are anticipated to grow more than 40 percent from 2016 to 2026.”Yet, today, “…more than 1 in 5 Americans (21.3 percent) are caregivers, having provided care to an adult or child with special needs at some time in the past 12 months. This totals an estimated 53.0 million adults in the United States…” ACL believes that these statistics show a pressing need for a larger and stronger respite, home health aide, workforce, comprised of both paid and unpaid respite providers, due to the growing need for caregiver assistance. Recruitment, retention, recognition, and (voluntary) minimum training standards could serve to address the current barriers to providing respite to more families in need.
State-based respite planning – As the work of the Family Caregiving Advisory Council progresses towards the development of a National Caregiving Strategy and the requirement that it focus on respite, ACL believes there may be opportunities for expanded, complementary efforts in this regard, particularly as it pertains to state- and community-based respite planning efforts.
Natural supports – Maximizing the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers is at the heart of ACL’s mission. In recent years, ACL’s efforts to support families have focused on helping them identify the catalysts, infrastructures, and innovations that will lead to better outcomes for support, whatever their circumstances, and to remain in the community and maintain caregiving capacity. Given the current challenges associated with the workforce and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ACL is interested in further developing this area in a more robust and sustainable manner.
Additionally, applicants are welcome to propose other areas of expanded TA and capacity building to improve state-based respite capacities, as identified by applicants and their partners, as noted below:
4. Other areas of expanded TA and capacity building – While ACL has funded the Lifespan Respite Technical Assistance Resource Center (TARC) for the past eleven years, ACL recognizes that there may be the need for additional efforts in areas not identified in this FOA. In this regard, applicants are free to propose additional efforts to the three outlined above in the preparation of their applications.
Applicants’ proposed approaches for each of the areas described above will be evaluated on the extent to which they are grounded in documented gaps and identified opportunities to further expand national efforts and capacities as noted. Applicants to this FOA should consider and propose a variety of approaches designed to expand national capacities with respect to the following:
Develop, test and scale a respite workforce recruitment, training and retention program to better meet the respite needs of culturally diverse, urban, suburban, rural, or frontier families, particularly in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce;
Develop and field test a state-based framework and roadmap for respite system planning and development, which ties to the forthcoming National Caregiving Strategy, currently under development; and
Enhance approaches to help caregivers and families develop or strengthen their own natural support systems to include respite and other supports, including but not limited to:
Assisting state agencies with improving interaction with families when they first engage with service system;
Identifying natural supports, including possible respite providers, that incorporate each family’s strengths, resources, and community based supports, etc.; and
Assist state and local respite providers ensure the natural supports that are being incorporated are family-centered and culturally competent.
OPTIONAL: Other areas of expanded TA and capacity building to improve state-based respite capacities, as identified by applicants and their partners.
ADDITIONAL APPLICATION CONSIDERATIONS
Prioritization of project activities and target audiences
Applicants should prioritize work in a way that reflects on-the-ground realities. For example, workforce activities could be infused over the course of the three years, while the framework and roadmap might need to wait until the national caregiving strategy is closer to being released.
All work and products will be made available to all states and communities who are interested in building their respite and family support capacities as they relate to the above (the focus is not only on actual Lifespan Respite Program grantees). This project will be expected to coordinate its efforts closely with those of the soon-to-be-funded, new Lifespan Respite Technical Assistance and Resource Center (TARC) from Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2020-ACL-AOA-LRLT-0412.
Collaboration and partnerships
ACL fully expects that no one single organization will be able to completely address the priority areas addressed in this project. As a result, it is anticipated that the strongest applications will be those that reflect the efforts of a partnership of organizations representing a lifespan approach to the desired objectives. In this regard, one organization is expected to be the documented programmatic and fiscal lead, with other partnering organizations’ roles clearly defined throughout the application materials (e.g., work plan, budget, project narrative, etc.) The lead applicant and any collaborating partners to this Funding Opportunity Announcement will be those that:
Possess the knowledge and expertise in the issues associated with the areas of their focus, particularly as they relate to family caregiving and the programs that support family caregivers across the lifespan, including respite;
Demonstrated knowledge and expertise in working with federal, state and local agencies on the range of issues associated with this opportunity;
Demonstrated expertise in providing training and technical assistance on a range of topics associated with this opportunity;
Demonstrated experience working with entities and stakeholders that support, or are otherwise impacted by, the core issues associated with this Funding Opportunity Announcement; and
Demonstrated ability to lead sustainable change and innovation.
Steering, or advisory, committees are an effective method of ensuring that diverse ideas are considered in the planning and implementation of any new project. Applicants for this opportunity should explain how they will use a steering, or advisory, committee to assist their efforts, including a listing of some of the individuals or organizations that will be invited to participate and their anticipated roles and responsibilities.
Sub-grants and/or subcontracts
Provision of funding for sub-grantees or subcontracts to carry out specific activities is expected, as ACL believes this project will have a greater likelihood of success when a range of organizations undertakes the work and/or the applicant identifies a gap in expertise necessary to fully complete project goals and objectives. Applicants should fully describe their rationale and criteria for selecting sub-grantees/subcontractors, including their approaches for monitoring sub-grantee/subcontractor progress and ensuring successful completion of all tasks.
 AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving: Caregiving in the United States 2020, Executive Summary, p. 4.