Purpose and Goals
In 2013, approximately 34.2 million adult caregivers provided uncompensated care to those 50 years of age and older. These caregivers help with a range of tasks but more time is spent on tasks such as shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, and laundry, and less time is spent on activities of daily living such as feeding, dressing, grooming, walking, bathing, and assistance toileting. Providing care can take a physical, financial, and emotional toll on family caregivers. In addition to these stressors, many caregivers report difficulty managing and balancing work and family responsibilities.
Studies have documented respite to be among the most frequently requested supportive services for family caregivers. Respite comes in many forms and may include having the individual attend an adult day program outside the home or having a friendly visitor serve as a companion to provide light assistance while the caregiver takes a break. Programs that provide friendly visitors are often ideal opportunities to recruit and train volunteers, who often derive significant positive benefits from the assistance they provide.
Similarly, providing services and supports to older adults or persons with disabilities of all ages can enable them to maintain their independence and status in the community. The types of supportive services provided can vary greatly and they can often be provided by individuals with differing levels of training and expertise. For example, some services and supports require the use of trained individuals, including home care workers, possessing specific credentials (e.g., CNA, LPN or RN) while others can be provided by individuals with less specific training. As of 2017, there were over 2 million home care workers assisting older adults and people with disabilities in their homes or other community-based settings. Home care workers are critical as families and friends often need help to provide quality care for individuals in the community, or need a break from providing that care themselves. However, there are critical shortages in the direct care workforce as the number of older adults and persons with disabilities needing assistance continues to grow.
Volunteers can be an important resource in communities to assist family caregivers, older adults and persons with disabilities needing assistance. With proper training and support, volunteers can provide assistance such as respite and other non-medical forms of assistance. Not only can their presence offset some of the effects of a limited workforce, volunteering can have important benefits for both the volunteers and the people they are assisting. For example, volunteerism has been linked with better mental and physical health and increases in the feelings of life satisfaction.
Although there are a myriad of programs designed to provide volunteers to assist caregivers, there is sometimes a lack of sufficient resources and infrastructure at the local level to support robust volunteer programs. ACL is interested in filling this gap through a new grant program that will test models of programming designed to place volunteers in communities to assist caregivers, older adults, and persons with disabilities in maintaining independence by providing non-medical care in home-based or community–based settings. In addition, the program will provide an opportunity for volunteers to learn valuable skills that could be used to pursue more formal employment in a variety of health and human services settings.
Through this program ACL will pursue the following goals:
Increase the number of volunteer programs available to provide non-medical care to older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers at the local level; and
Decrease the number of older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers who need assistance at the local level but are unable to obtain help.
ACL/AoA will fund one (1) cooperative agreement under which the grantee will focus activity in two priority areas: 1) adding to the nation’s capacity to support volunteer programs that provide non-medical care to assist caregivers, older adults, and/or persons with disabilities; and 2) advancing innovative models that support local volunteer programs that provide non-medical care to assist caregivers, older adults, and/or persons with disabilities.
ACL recognizes the complexities associated with the development of local volunteer programs and understands that first having the proper tools and resources to support local program development may be necessary. In that regard, ACL/AoA will consider applications that propose a phased approach to addressing the Priority Areas described below. However, it is ACL/AoA’s intent that while a focus on Priority Area 1 may need to occur initially, the successful applicant will be expected to make some portion of first-year funding available to local communities to begin testing models of volunteer care corps. Applications will be scored, in part, on the extent to which applicants propose making some number of sub-awards available to community-based organizations during the first year of the project.
Priority Area 1: Improving the nation’s overall capacity to support volunteer care corps programs.
The ability of a community to support the development of a volunteer care corps model will likely depend on the types of technical support and resources that are available. Under this priority area, ACL/AoA seeks to support the curation and development of tools, resources, and approaches that provide foundational materials and guidance to communities and organizations interested in establishing or expanding volunteer care corps programs. Such tools, resources and approaches should be designed to assist local programs in building capacity and fostering innovation in service delivery through volunteer programs. Grantees will also be expected to measure the performance of those tools and local programs in terms of meeting the goal of the priority area of increasing capacity to support care corps programs.” Examples of possible tools include (but are not limited to):
Effective recruitment, selection and management of volunteers;
Screening and placement of volunteers;
Training of volunteers specific to identified community needs and that includes CPR and recognizing and reporting of abuse, neglect, and exploitation;
Training of volunteers on person-centered approaches that supports a volunteer recipient’s strengths, goals, preferences, needs, and desired outcomes. To learn more about the person-centered approaches visit the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems;
Implementing evidence-based programming;
Establishing community partnerships and collaborations; and
Administration of local programs, including compensation options for volunteers.
Within this priority area, the successful applicant will be expected to establish and maintain protocols for criminal background checks of all local volunteers that are consistent with the requirements of the Nationwide Program for National and State Background Checks for Direct Patient Access Employees of Long Term Care Facilities and Providers and must use the grievance and worker displacement procedures that are in the AmeriCorps program.
Priority Area 2: Advancing innovative local models that support volunteer care corps programs providing non-medical care.
Within this priority area, ACL/AoA wishes to advance the capacity of local community-based agencies to deploy trained volunteers to support older adults, persons with disabilities and family caregivers. To that end, ACL is interested in testing local models of volunteer care corps programs that are responsive to identified community needs. Applicants to this Funding Opportunity Announcement are encouraged to consider a broad range of possible approaches, while ensuring that local models:
Are delivered in home or community-based (non-institutional) settings;
Result in person-centered, supportive relationships between the volunteer and the individual being supported where autonomy, choice and control of each individual served is foremost;
Support the achievement and maintenance of the highest level of independent living for each individual served;
Are provided in coordination with a family caregiver, if applicable;
Recruit and train volunteers who are age 18 and older and pass a required criminal background check;
Serve persons who are: age 60 and older; of any age with a disability as defined in Section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and who have difficulty with self-care or living independently;
Coordinate closely with similar programs funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service and/or similar efforts; and
Do not provide medical, administrative or financial services.
In addressing this priority area, applicants should describe how they will develop and work with a network of partners representing a diverse cross section of the nation reflective of geography, urban/rural/frontier and Tribal communities, minority and limited English speaking populations while emphasizing supporting those communities with limited capacities to implement volunteer programs.
In proposing approaches in this priority area, applicants should describe the process by which they will make funds available to local-level organizations to establish and enhance volunteer care corps programs. Applicants will be expected to use no less than 75 percent of project funds for sub-awards. Applicants should propose how they will use a competitive process to solicit, objectively evaluate, select and make sub-awards to local organizations. Such descriptions should include: 1) a proposed timeline detailing the competition solicitation, application review and awarding process; 2) areas of focus for sub-awards; 3) the range of services to be funded; 4) how those services will enhance or expand volunteer for older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers; and 5) how the grantee or sub awardee(s) will measure the success of those services in increasing in the number of volunteer programs available to assist older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers at the local level and/or decreasing the number of older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers who need assistance at the local level butare unable to obtain help.
Priority should be given to local entities that are proposing to expand and or/enhance existing programs which have produced evidence of providing quality assistance to older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers, such as those supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service. ACL envisions that a broad range of entities will be funded, including local aging services organizations as defined in 102(5) of the Older Americans Act of 1965; centers for independent living as defined in section 702 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; a time-banking or volunteer agency with expertise in the delivery of home and community-based services to older adults and people with disabilities; a state, county or local government; Tribes; or any entity with expertise in the delivery of such services and supports. Funds made available to local entities are to supplement, not supplant, funding that would otherwise be available for volunteer activities. Local entities should provide plans for project sustainability.
The successful grantee, including any sub-grantees, will not be permitted to use project funds for construction and/or rehabilitation of buildings; basic research; medical or institutional care; income maintenance; or equipment purchases, unless such equipment is demonstrated to be necessary to carry out an activity otherwise fundable under Title IV of the Older Americans Act. IMPORTANT: the successful grantee selected from this FOA shall adhere to all requirements, including those for making and monitoring sub-awards, as outlined in 45 CFR Part 75.
Additional application elements
ACL/AoA believes that projects of this scope and intent require that prospective grantees come to the application process already possessing the capacities necessary to expedite startup of project activities and to complete all stated goals and objectives in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner through the use of sound business practices. When proposing approaches in response to the priority areas described above, applicants should incorporate descriptions of the following key elements within their application narratives:
To successfully meet ACL/AoA’s expectations for this initiative, the successful grantee will be one that possesses the organizational capacity to apply multi-faceted and comprehensive approaches in their efforts. To that end, applicants should fully describe their capacity to:
Ensure the expeditious startup of project activities upon notice of award;
Work effectively at both the national and local levels to achieve desired outcomes;
Use efficient and effective strategies that maximize limited resources while ensuring measureable impact of both service provision and training and TA activities;
Embed all efforts in targeted networks to ensure ownership and long-term sustainability;
Qualitatively measure program/service effectiveness; and
Use technology where possible to maximize project reach and impact.
Applicants must possess direct, in-house experience and expertise to carry out the desired activities outlined in this FOA. Applications will be reviewed and scored based, in part, on how well applicants demonstrate key subject-matter expertise, the experience, and the capacity to carry out the tasks proposed. While the use of sub-grants or subcontracts to carry out specific activities is expected in priority area 2 as a means of testing local volunteer care corps models, additional sub-grants/contracts are permissible in Priority Area 1, when the applicant identifies areas where specific, additional expertise is necessary to complete specified goals and objectives. In both priority areas, applicants should fully describe their rationale and criteria for selecting sub-grantees/sub-contractors as well as their approach for managing the activities of all sub-grantees/contractors to ensure successful completion of all tasks in either Priority Area.
Through this funding opportunity, ACL/AoA expects to realize tangible, measurable and sustainable enhancements to national and local capacities to provide person-centered, volunteer care corps programs. Applications 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. Applicants are encouraged to consider and propose a range of potential approaches for ensuring sustainability of project efforts once Federal funding has ended.
Performance Measurement and Project Evaluation
Performance measurement is an important component of any new project and allows the funder, grantee and sub-grantees (where applicable) to monitor progress towards stated goals and objectives and to address project weaknesses so as to ensure continuous improvement.Applicants to this funding opportunity should include a comprehensive plan for evaluating and reporting project performance and effectiveness. This plan should include measurable outcomes that demonstrate the benefit of project in increasing in the number (scope, reach, breadth and/or types) of volunteer programs available to assist older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers at the local level and decreasing the number of older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers who need assistance at the local level but are unable to obtain help. In addition, financial sustainability will be included as an outcome of the evaluation. For example, grantees should consider measures of:
Increased numbers of volunteers and/or volunteer hours;
Increased volunteer retention/reduced volunteer turn over;
Increased in types of services offered and/or range of clients served (e.g., geographic locations, demographic diversity);
Increased number of clients served (i.e., older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers) served;
Increased efficiency of the volunteer program (with no reductions in volunteer or client satisfaction);
Increased number and percentage of clients that indicate that their needs and preferences for service were met and/or that a greater percentage of their needs and preferences were met;
Increased number and percentage of clients that indicate that the services received increased their ability to remain in the community (i.e., community tenure).
Applicants should describe how they will identify and collect information necessary to document and describe both outputs and outcomes for all activities undertaken in both priority areas of this cooperative agreement. All local sites will collect on a set of agreed upon performance measures, outlined in the application, as part of the cross site evaluation. However, local sites may collect data on additional measures specifically related to the design of their program or local needs. Applications should include a description of expected sources for output and outcome data and the methods for how such data will be gathered (e.g., surveys of consumers and/or providers, collection and review of administrative data and records), analyzed and reported.
Should the collection of information require the use of an information technology system (2 CFR 200.58), the grant recipient and subrecipient(s) will be expected to adhere to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to help ensure the security of any system used or developed by the grant recipient or subrecipient(s). In particular, if the data to be collected includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII, 2CFR 200.79) or Protected PII (2 CFR 200.82), the grant recipient and subrecipient(s) must apply the appropriate security controls required to protect the privacy and security of the collected PII and/or Protected PII.
Collaboration and Partnerships
To most effectively accomplish the goals and objectives outlined in this FOA, ACL/AoA anticipates that the successful application will demonstrate the commitment to broad collaboration with other national and local organizations with diverse areas of expertise, including such as those administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Applications 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 likely value of each named partner and its relative impact to the proposed project.
In addition, a steering committee can be 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 if, and how, they will use a steering committee to assist their efforts and include a listing of some of the individuals or organizations that will be invited to participate.
[i] 1 U.S. Census Bureau, “2014 National Population Projections,” Table 1. Projected Population by Single Year of Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: 2014 to 2060. Released December 2014, http://www.census.gov/population/projections/data/national/2014/downloa…. 2018. U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Selected Age Groups by Sex for the United States, States, Counties, and Puerto Rico Commonwealth and Municipios: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016. Released June 2017, https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview….
[ii] U.S. Census Bureau, “Americans with Disabilities: 2010,” Issued July 2012, https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2012/dem…
[iii] National Alliance for Caregiving, and AARP Public Policy Institute. Caregiving in the US, 2015 report. June 2015. Washington DC. https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2015/caregiving-in-the-united…
[v] The Arc. (2011). Still in the Shadows with Their Future Uncertain: A Report on Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS 2011). Wash, DC: Author; National Family Caregivers Association. (2011). Allsup Family Caregiver Survey. Kensington, MD
[vi] PHI, U.S. Home Care Workers: Key Facts (2018). https://phinational.org/resource/u-s-home-care-workers-key-facts-2018/