Foreign entities are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement.
Who are Kinship and Grandfamilies?
Increasingly, kin and grandparent caregivers across the nation are being called upon to provide vital support for American families, serving as a financial safety net for their adult children and offering practical assistance along the way, such as child-care. When unexpected tragedies happen and parents can no longer care for their children, there is no one better suited to step in as primary caregiver than grandparents and those extended family members and close friends who know and love the children.
Kinship Families and Grandfamilies are becoming increasingly common. Currently, an estimated 2.7 million American children living in households led by a parent, relative, or close family friend without their parents present (Generations United, 2020). These caregivers are stepping up at tremendous cost to their own financial, physical, and emotional well-being. While intergenerational living is often hailed as a way to support the older generation, many Kinship Families and Grandfamilies are formed and maintained out of necessity for the benefit of the children within them (Baker, Silverstein, & Putney, 2008).
While research data shows that these millions of families span the socioeconomic spectrum, they are overwhelming more likely to be led by older adults who are poor, ethnically diverse, and live with disabilities (Generations United, 2020). Coupled with the complex array of needs that exist in these families, is the fact that the system they often turn to for support is fragmented, inadequate and poorly resourced, or it simply does not acknowledge the roles and responsibilities they are taking on.
To heighten visibility and address the need for better support, information, and services to assist Kinship Families and Grandfamilies, Congress passed the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (SGRG) Act (PL 115-196). The SGRG Act, signed into law in July 2018, authorized the establishment of an advisory council made up of grandparents who are raising grandchildren and representatives from federal agencies, and the private and public sectors.
Congress charged the council with seeking ways to strengthen supports to Kinship Families and Grandfamilies through the identification and promotion of information, best practices, resources, and recommendations to ensure these caregivers meet the needs of the children in their care while at the same time are able to maintain their own physical and mental health, and emotional well-being. This vision includes all Kinship Families and Grandfamilies, regardless of their relationship to the child and whether they are providing formal (i.e., legally recognized) or informal care. It is anticipated that the advisory council will play an integral role in the ongoing work of the NTAC.
Purpose, Goals and Suggested Outcomes:
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. Section 2922 of the ARPA authorizes the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to establish a National Technical Assistance Center on Kinship and Grandfamilies (NTAC) for the purpose of expanding and enhancing the capacity of States, Territories, Indian Tribes, Tribal Organizations, urban Indian organizations, and nonprofit or other community-based organizations to better serve and support the health and well-being of kinship and grandfamilies.
ACL’s primary goal for the NTAC is to measurably increase the capacity and effectiveness of states, territories, tribes/tribal organizations and nonprofit and other community-based organizations to serve and support kinship and grandfamilies. As such, applicants will be expected to propose a set of specific and measurable outcomes against which to measure progress towards the stated goals. Over the course of this new, five-year project, ACL seeks outcomes that might include, but are not limited to:
Measureable increases in the number of identified existing and new, evidence-based, evidence informed, and exemplary practices or programs in use nationwide;
Measurable, sustained increases in the competency and capacity of states, territories, tribes/tribal organizations, nonprofit and other community-based organizations to better serve and support kinship and grandfamilies; and/or
Measurable improvements in the ability of kinship and grandfamilies to access the supports and services they need, across a range of issues.
Activities and Objectives of the NTAC on Kinship and Grandfamilies:
To realize Congress’ vision for the NTAC, ACL seeks applications from interested parties proposing to undertake strategies and approaches to:
Engage and collaborate with individuals who possess expertise in health promotion (including mental health and substance use disorder treatment), education, nutrition, housing, financial needs, legal issues, trauma, disability self-determination, criminal justice, caregiver support, and other issues relevant to supporting kinship and grandfamily caregivers;
Identify existing and/or foster the development of new, evidence-based, evidence informed, and exemplary practices or programs and propose approaches for supporting their implementation, scaling and replication;
Develop and provide technical assistance, resources, and training related to health promotion (including mental health and substance use disorder treatment), education, nutrition, housing, financial needs, legal issues, disability self-determination, caregiver support, and other issues to individuals and entities across systems;
Facilitate and foster learning across States, territories, Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to more effectively support kinship and grandfamilies;
Help government programs, nonprofit and other community-based organizations, and Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations, serving grandfamilies and kinship families plan and coordinate responses to assist grandfamilies and kinship families during national, State, Tribal, territorial, and local emergencies and disasters;
As applicable and possible, ground the NTAC’s activities in the recommendations of the Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and the forthcoming National Family Caregiving Strategy; and
Promote equity and implement culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches across all activities, topic areas and with all target audiences.
Priority Focus Areas:
ACL seeks to establish the NTAC as an entity that operates on a national scale and, from the outset, serves all target audiences as defined in Section 2922 of the ARPA and by ACL. In this capacity, the NTAC will become the nationally recognized source of expert, policy and programmatic training and technical support to states, territories, tribes/tribal organizations and nonprofit and other community-based organizations, with particular attention to the following topic areas known to be of critical importance to kinship and grandfamilies:
Health promotion, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment;
Legal issues, including guardianship, foster care, and adoption;
Trauma and trauma-informed care;
Multi-faceted, community-based supports (e.g., information, assistance, counseling, respite, other goods/services), with particular attention to:
Diversity and equity, including traditionally underserved populations, particularly those in greatest economic and social need;
Those who are further isolated from services and supports by their race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation/gender identity, geographic location (i.e., rural or frontier), and/or limited English speaking proficiency; and
Other topics as identified by the grantee, partners and ACL.
In this regard, applicants should carefully consider and describe how the strategies and approaches outlined previously will be carried out while addressing the key topic areas directly above.
To successfully meet ACL’s expectations for this initiative, the successful grantee will be one that possesses the organizational capacity to apply multi-faceted, comprehensive approaches in their efforts. To that end, applicants should fully describe their capacities to:
Ensure expeditious startup of project activities upon notice of award;
Work effectively with all stated target audiences to achieve desired outcomes;
Employ efficient and effective strategies that maximize available resources, including technology, while ensuring measurable reach and impact of technical assistance; and
Ensure sustainability of all activities once Federal funding ends.
Applicants should demonstrate expertise, either directly or through the use of subject matter experts, sub-contracts and sub-grants to carry out the desired activities outlined in this funding opportunity. Applicants will be reviewed and scored, in part, on how well they demonstrate such expertise and/or how they propose to ensure it is available throughout the life of the project. To this end, the use of sub-grants or sub-contracts is permissible. Applicants should fully describe their rationale and criteria for selecting sub-grantees/contractors as well as how they will be managed and monitored to ensure successful completion of all project tasks.
Collaboration and Partnerships
To most effectively accomplish the goals and objectives outlined in this funding opportunity, ACL anticipates that the successful applicant will demonstrate the commitment to broad collaboration with other organizations and individuals with the diverse areas of expertise required to meet the objectives described above. Applicants should describe the partner organizations and the role of each in the planning, development and implementation of the proposed project. Letters of support from partnering organizations should be included as part of the application package and should reflect the unique contributions of each entity. Letters of support will be reviewed and evaluated to determine the likely value of each named partner and its relative impact to the proposed project.
Use of advisory/steering committee and subject matter experts
A steering committee and other subject matter experts (SMEs) can be effective additions to any project and can help to ensure 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 committee to assist their efforts and include a listing of the backgrounds of individuals (e.g. consumers, professionals and organizations) that will be invited to participate. As this is a cooperative agreement, ACL anticipates ongoing and substantial involvement in the identification and engagement of steering committee members and other subject matter experts over the life of the project. The grantee is permitted to provide stipends to steering committee members and other SMEs, as necessary, to appropriately reimburse for their time and expertise on work directly related to this project.
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, or individual subject matter experts, 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.
Training and Technical Assistance Approaches and Strategies
ACL has a long history of funding training and technical support activities for the purposes of expanding capacities and competencies of relevant entities to provide essential services and supports to targeted populations. To be successful, the NTAC’s approaches will need to be multifaceted and multimodal with respect to how the intended objectives of the Center are achieved. Applicants should thoroughly describe how all aspects of the NTAC’s formation, startup and ongoing operation will be managed.
ACL understands that the formation and startup of a new national technical assistance center, as with other new training and technical support activities, may need to take a phased, layered approach to achieve optimal outcomes. Applicants should address how, over the course of the 5-year project, they propose to structure the ongoing activities and objectives of the NTAC on Kinship and Grandfamilies, as outlined above, to result in a robust, national training and technical assistance center that realizes Congress’ vision.
Given this project’s focus as a technical assistance and resource center, ACL anticipates that the successful grantee will develop and employ a robust and far-reaching dissemination strategy designed to ensure that project information, best practices and other information are available and shared broadly. Applicants should describe their dissemination plans and articulate the methods (e.g., electronic/web-based, in-person, print, etc.) by which such activities will occur. Furthermore, it is ACL’s expectation that disseminated information, regardless of the dissemination method, will be fully accessible, i.e., 508-compliant, as well as meet the cultural and linguistic needs of the intended audience.
Given the web-based nature of most modern technical assistance activities, it is ACL’s expectation that the grantee will develop a web-based platform for housing and showcasing the work of the NTAC. To keep the work of the NTAC separate from any parallel activities, applicants should carefully describe their proposed approaches for ensuring any website or related vehicles will be 508-compliant and separate and distinct from other such efforts of the organization or their partners.
ACL expects to realize tangible, measurable and sustainable enhancements to state, territorial, Indian Tribes, including urban Indian organizations capacities to effectively serve and support kinship and grandfamily caregivers. Applicants will be scored, in part, on the extent to which a plan for the project’s sustainability beyond the period of Federal funding is articulated and appears feasible and likely.
 Baker, L., Silverstein, M., & Putney, N. (2008). Grandparents raising grandchildren in the United States: Changing family forms, stagnant social policies. J Soc Soc Policy, 53-69. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2888319/
 Generations United. (2020). Grandfamilies: Strengths and Challenges (Fact Sheet). Retrieved from Grandfamilies.org: https://www.gu.org/app/uploads/2020/05/Grandfamilies-GeneralFactSheet.p…
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