[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 31 (Friday, February 14, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8975-8977]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03282]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families

[CFDA Numbers: 93.581, 93.587, 93.612]


Notice of Final Issuance on the Adoption of Administration for 
Native Americans (ANA) Program Policies and Procedures

AGENCY: Administration for Native Americans (ANA), ACF, HHS.

ACTION: Issuance of Final Policy Relating to Funding Opportunity 
Announcements.

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SUMMARY: The Administration for Native Americans (ANA) is issuing final 
interpretive rules, general statements of policy, and rules of agency 
organization, procedure, or practice relating to the following Funding 
Opportunity Announcements (FOAs): Social and Economic Development 
Strategies (hereinafter referred to as SEDS), Sustainable Employment 
and Economic Development Strategies (hereinafter referred to as SEEDS), 
Native Language Preservation and Maintenance (hereinafter referred to 
as Language Preservation), Native Language Preservation and 
Maintenance--Esther Martinez Immersion (hereinafter referred to as 
Language--EMI), and Environmental Regulatory Enhancement (hereinafter 
referred to as ERE).

DATES: The policies proposed in the Federal Register Notice for Public 
Comment (78 FR 76834, Dec. 19, 2013) are final and effective 
immediately upon this publication.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carmelia Strickland, Director, 
Division of Program Operations, ANA (877) 922-9262.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 814 of the Native American Programs 
Act of 1974 (NAPA), as amended, requires ANA to provide notice of its 
proposed interpretive rules, general statements of policy, and rules of 
agency organization, procedure, or practice. The proposed 
clarifications, modifications, and new text will appear in the five 
Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 FOAs: SEDS, SEEDS, Language Preservation, 
Language--EMI, and ERE. ANA published a Notice of Public Comment (NOPC) 
in the Federal Register (78 FR 76834, Dec. 19, 2013), with proposed 
policy and program clarifications, modifications, and activities 
governing standing FOAs beginning with FY 2014 FOAs. The public comment 
period was open for 30 days.
    This notice transmits ANA's final policy governing standing FOAs to 
be published in FY 2014. ANA received 20 comments from entities 
affected by the FOAs including 1 Native Hawaiian organization and 4 
federally recognized Indian tribes. Each comment was fully considered. 
This final notice summarizes all comments received and ANA's responses 
to them.

A. Comments and Responses

    1. Comment: ANA received two comments in reference to ANA's change 
to the frequency with which program progress reports must be submitted. 
Beginning with awards issued under the FY 2014 FOAs, program progress 
reports must be submitted semi-annually instead of quarterly. One 
commenter disagreed with the proposed change and recommended a program 
progress report frequency of no less than three times a year in order 
to ensure that grantees had time to analyze the progress of project 
goals and demonstrate financial accountability. Another commenter 
expressed support for the change to semi-annual reporting, expressing 
the belief that such reporting frequency could be just as effective as 
quarterly reporting provided there was effective communication between 
ANA and grantees.
    Response: ANA considered establishing a requirement for more 
frequent program progress reports but determined that semi-annual 
reporting is sufficient to provide grantees with opportunities to 
demonstrate the results of their on-going monitoring of project 
progress and provide ANA adequate information to maintain project 
accountability. ANA plans to increase the interaction it has with 
grantees through means other than reporting, including monthly one-on-
one telephone calls and weekly webinars.
    2. Comment: ANA received two comments related to proposed language 
requiring community involvement in both the development of proposed 
projects and in their implementation. One commenter praised ANA for 
clarifying that community involvement in the development of the project 
is required, as well as in the implementation of the project, and 
expressed the recommendation that the

[[Page 8976]]

FOA include language related to how such required community involvement 
could be reflected. The other commenter requested clarification on how 
community members were expected to be involved in project 
implementation given that different community members may be involved 
in the implementation of a project than those involved in the planning 
and development of a project.
    Response: In Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application 
Submission of the FOA, ANA has included text providing examples of 
community input in the development of projects (e.g., community 
meetings and surveys) and in the implementation of projects (e.g., 
recruitment strategies and outreach activities). We believe the 
language related to community involvement in Section IV.2. Content and 
Form of Application Submission provides sufficient detail in its 
examples to provide clear guidance to applicants.
    3. Comment: ANA received one comment related to language proposed 
in Section III.3. Other of the FOA clarifying the types of projects 
that ANA will not fund as prescribed by 45 CFR 1336.33(b). The 
commenter asked for clarification of the scope of the funding 
prohibition as applied to on-going social service delivery systems.
    Response: The text in Section III.3. Other of the FOA includes an 
explanation of the types of projects that ANA will not fund under the 
categorical prohibitions specified in 45 CFR 1336.33(b). Such 
ineligible projects are those that ``provide or expand ongoing social 
services that involve cash transfers or other material assistance such 
as food, medicine, child care, or income support to individuals.'' 
Here, we sought to make clear that if, prior to submission of an 
application for funding, an applicant was already or had been 
delivering social services that involved cash transfers or other 
material support, ANA would not fund a project that proposed to use ANA 
grant funds to replace or supplant existing sources of funding or to 
expand existing social services on an on-going basis.
    4. Comment: ANA received one comment related to another part of 
Section III.3. Other of the FOA clarifying the kinds of third-party 
technical assistance (TA) ANA will not fund as specified by 45 CFR 
1336.33(b) and what types of TA are permissible.
    Response: The text in Section III.3. Other of the FOA related to 
third-party TA that cannot be funded under 45 CFR 1336.33(b) includes 
clarification that the prohibition applies only to TA ``that is 
intended to be provided to other tribes or Native American 
organizations or to non-members of the grantee organization where such 
training or technical assistance is duplicative of ANA-funded training 
and technical assistance available to tribes and other entities that 
are eligible to apply for ANA funding.'' Such clarification makes clear 
the scope of activities that fall into the regulatory prohibition 
regarding TA ineligible for ANA funding.
    5. Comment: ANA received one comment expressing belief that the 
technology to enable all applicants to comply with a two-file 
application upload limitation was available and that an exemption from 
the requirement was unnecessary.
    Response: The burden that the two-file application upload 
requirement imposed on applicants and potential applicants to convert 
and consolidate multiple documents comprised a significant amount of 
feedback received related to last year's FOAs. In addition, application 
of the two-file upload requirement required ACF to independently 
determine what files, or parts of files, to accept when more than two 
files were received and page limitations otherwise satisfied. Finally, 
in the absence of a tribal consultation (including through a Federal 
Register notice soliciting input) we determined that it would not 
accord with our Tribal Consultation Policy to impose this requirement 
on tribes.
    6. Comment: One commenter disagreed with ANA's proposed policy to 
move the concept previously articulated in Section V.I. Criteria in the 
FOAs as ``Project Integration'' to the stand-alone criterion, 
``Objective Work Plan (OWP),'' believing that merely requiring 
applicants to complete the OWP form was insufficient to allow reviewers 
to evaluate whether all aspects of a proposed project were fully 
integrated with one another.
    Response: The change ANA proposed to Section V.I. Criteria was made 
to facilitate more focused attention on the applicant's integration of 
multiple project components documented through completion of the OMB-
approved OWP form. The form requires that the connections among project 
goals, objectives, results expected, benefits expected, and activities 
be addressed. We believe the OWP form allows for adequate demonstration 
of how all aspects of the proposed project are integrated with one 
another and do not believe any change to the proposed policy is 
necessary.
    7. Comment: One commenter objected to ANA's proposed policy 
establishing a 150 page limitation for all applications, including 
those that allowed for 5-year project periods. The commenter reasoned 
that a longer project period and larger budget made such projects more 
complex and required more explanation than 150 pages would allow.
    Response: We believe 150 pages provide ample opportunity to respond 
to FOAs, including those proposing 5-year projects. The FOA makes clear 
the maximum page limit excludes required Standard Forms and OMB-
approved forms. On the basis of ANA's consideration of recent grant 
competitions, we are confident the maximum 150 page limit applicable to 
all FOAs for all project periods is sufficient. Applications that 
exceed the maximum page limitation will have excess pages removed.
    8. Comments: One federally recognized Alaska Native tribe submitted 
comments on 11 separate issues. The commenter expressed ``no issues or 
concerns'' related to the name change of one FOA, ANA's administrative 
policies, name change of one disqualification factor, projects 
ineligible for funding, organizational changes to the evaluation 
criteria, and outcomes expected for SEEDS applications. Regarding the 
proposed language related to protection of sensitive and/or 
confidential information, the proposed weights assigned the evaluation 
criteria, the proposed clarification related to the requirement for 
community involvement, and language related to ANA's internal review 
process, the commenter also expressed support for ANA's changes. The 
commenter expressed disagreement with ANA's conflict of interest 
administrative policy in Section I. Funding Opportunity Description, 
under which, with one categorical exception, staff employed through an 
ANA-funded project cannot also serve as a member of the governing body 
for the grantee organization. The commenter characterized the policy as 
burdensome on communities or villages with small populations.
    Response: With regard to the disagreement with ANA's conflict of 
interest administrative policy, ANA believes such policy is an 
appropriate risk management strategy that, with the categorical 
exception, best ensures appropriate grant oversight and independent 
judgment in the discharge of obligations under ANA-funded grants.

B. Funding Opportunity Announcements

    For information on the projects funded by ANA, please refer to 
ANA's Web site for information on our program areas and FOAs: http://

[[Page 8977]]

www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ana. We encourage interested applicants to 
sign up for updates on these FOA at HHS Grant Forecast at 
www.acf.hhs.gov/hhsgrantsforecast.
    Once ANA's FOAs have been published, the FY 2014 FOAs can be 
accessed at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/office/ana or http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/. Synopses and application forms will 
be available at www.Grants.gov.

    Statutory Authority:  This notice for public comment is required 
by Section 814 of the Native American Programs Act of 1974 (NAPA), 
as amended.

Lillian A. Sparks Robinson,
Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans.
[FR Doc. 2014-03282 Filed 2-13-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4184-34-P