[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 45 (Friday, March 7, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13060-13062]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04959]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families

[CFDA Numbers: 93.612, 93.602]


Notice for Public Comment on the Adoption of Program Policies and 
Procedures for the Native Asset Building Initiative, a Joint Funding 
Opportunity Announcement Between the Administration for Native 
Americans and the Office of Community Services

AGENCY: Administration for Native Americans, ACF, HHS.

ACTION: Notice for Public Comment.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to Section 814 of the Native American Programs Act of 
1974 (NAPA), as amended, the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) 
is required to provide members of the public an opportunity to comment 
on changes in interpretive rules, general statements of policy, and 
rules of agency procedure or practice that affect programs, projects, 
and activities authorized under the NAPA. In accordance with notice 
requirements of NAPA, ANA herein describes its planned changes to 
interpretive rules, general statements of policy, and rules of agency 
procedure or practice as they relate to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Native Asset Building 
Initiative, HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NO-0786 (hereinafter referred to as NABI).
    Projects funded under this initiative receive two grant awards from 
two Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Program Offices--ANA 
and the Office of Community Services (OCS). Grantees under the NABI 
program implement economic capacity building projects that are targeted 
toward increasing the economic stability of low-income individuals and 
families, through the establishment of Individual Development Accounts 
(IDAs) and related services that motivate individuals to save, invest, 
and accumulate assets. NABI is part of a national Assets for 
Independence (AFI) demonstration project, authorized under the Assets 
for Independence Act of 1998, to test, demonstrate, and develop 
knowledge about the impact of IDAs and related services. For additional 
information about NABI, please see the Health and Human Services (HHS) 
Grants Forecast at the following link: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/hhsgrantsforecast/index.cfm?switch=grant.view&gff_grants_forecastInfoID=66481.

DATES: The deadline for receipt of comments is April 7, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Comments in response to this notice should be sent via email 
to Lillian Sparks Robinson, Commissioner, Administration for Native 
Americans, at ANACommissioner@acf.hhs.gov. Comments will be available 
for inspection by members of the public at the Administration for 
Native Americans, 901 D Street SW., Washington, DC 20024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carmelia Strickland, Director, 
Division of Program Operations, ANA, (877) 922-9262.
    A. Administrative Policies: ANA would make the following changes to 
the Administrative Policies in the NABI FOA.
    1. ANA will clarify the conflict of interest standards to ensure 
they align with the rule at 45 CFR 1336.50(f). This rule authorizes the 
Office of the Chief Executive of a federally recognized Indian tribal 
government to be paid salary and expenses with ANA grant funds provided 
such costs are related to a project funded under ANA FOAs and that the 
costs exclude any portion of salaries and expenses that are a cost of 
general government. Given this rule regarding the allowable use of 
grant funds, we would adopt a limited exception to previously published 
conflict of interest standards that previously did not include the

[[Page 13061]]

regulatory exception applicable to the Office of the Chief Executive of 
federally recognized Indian tribes.
    2. ANA intends to adopt the following policy for the NABI FOA:
    ACF encourages all eligible applicants to participate in the Assets 
for Independence demonstration project; therefore awards made under 
this FOA will be exempt from the following Administrative Policies 
regarding limitation of ANA awards: ``Limitation on the Number of 
Awards under a Single CFDA Number,'' and ``Limitation on the Number of 
Awards Based on Two Consecutive Funding Cycles.'' (Please see FOA Index 
for a full statement of these policies).
    Since NABI was developed as a special initiative between ANA and 
OCS to increase Native American participation in the national Asset for 
Independence demonstration project, ANA also will remove the related 
disqualification factor titled ``Only One Active Award per CFDA.'' This 
disqualification factor had been included in the FY 2013 version of the 
NABI FOA to ensure the ``Limitation on Number of Awards per CDFA 
Number'' Administrative Policy. The exemption from the Administrative 
Policy coupled with the removal of the disqualification factor is 
intended to encourage increased participation in the NABI program.
    B. Federal Evaluation: ANA intends to include the following 
language:
    ANA and OCS are required by statute to evaluate the impact of their 
funding. To fulfill the evaluation requirements, ANA and OCS will 
implement a federally sponsored evaluation strategy to assess the 
success and impact of approved projects. The federal evaluation 
strategy will include grantee-level documentation. In accepting a grant 
award, all grantees will agree to participate fully in the federal 
evaluation if selected and to follow all evaluation protocols 
established by ANA and OCS or their designee contractor.
    C. Name Change of a Disqualification Factor: ANA would change the 
name of the disqualification factor titled ``Board Documentation'' to 
``Assurance of Community Representation on Board of Directors'' in 
order to further clarify what is being requested of applicants 
regarding demonstration of community representation. The content of 
this requirement will not change, and it still will not apply to tribes 
or Alaska Native Villages. All disqualification factors will be in 
Section III.3. Other of the published FOA.
    D. Eligible Applicants: ANA intends to clarify eligible applicants. 
Eligible applicants will remain the same as those entities noted in the 
FY 2013 version of the NABI FOA (HHS-2013-ACF-ANA-NO-0587, available 
at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/index.cfm?switch=foa&fon=HHS-2013-ACF-ANA-NO-0587) and will include 
Native 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, federally recognized tribal 
governments and Alaska Native Villages, Native non-profit organizations 
designated by the Secretary of the Treasury as Community Development 
Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and Native non-profit credit unions 
designated as low-income credit unions by the National Credit Union 
Administration (NCUA). The bulleted lists of example organizations 
under each type of applicant will be removed and clarifying language 
will be added that describes the following eligibility rules: Native 
non-profits must have 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue 
Service; tribes and Alaska Native Villages may only apply jointly with 
a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status; Tribal Colleges may apply as either 
a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status or jointly with a non-profit with 
501(c)(3) status.
    E. Projects Ineligible for Funding: ANA would revise language in 
this section to provide clarification on two of the types of projects 
ANA will not fund under regulations at 45 CFR 1336.33(b), as follows:
    1. Projects for which a grantee would provide training and 
technical assistance to other tribes or Native American organizations 
to the extent 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. This does 
not apply to ``train-the-trainer'' capacity building projects.
    2. Projects from consortia of tribes that do not include 
documentation from each participating consortium member specifying 
their role and support. Projects from consortia must have goals and 
objectives that will encompass the participating communities. ANA will 
not fund projects by a consortium of tribes that duplicates activities 
for which participating member tribes also receive funding from ANA.
    F. Page Limits for NABI Applications: ANA would change the maximum 
page limit for applications submitted in response to the FY 2014 NABI 
FOA from 200 pages to 150 pages. This page limit excludes business 
plans (if applicable) and mandatory grant forms (Standard Forms and 
ANA's Objective Work Plan form). The 150-page limit is consistent with 
ANA's other FY 2014 FOAs. Applications that exceed the page limit will 
have excess pages removed from consideration during the panel review 
process.
    G. Two-File Application Upload Requirement: ANA would exempt 
applicants from the ACF application two-file upload requirement for 
electronically submitted applications when responding to all FY 2014 
ANA FOAs, including NABI, in order to reduce the technical burden on 
such applicants and to ensure that lack of technical resources, not 
otherwise required of applicants, does not unintentionally act to 
disqualify an applicant, otherwise eligible, from applying under ANA 
FOAs.
    H. Outcomes Expected for NABI Applications: ANA intends to 
emphasize monitoring of outcomes specific to the AFI initiative by 
requiring applicants to provide annual targets for the following: The 
number of IDAs opened per savings goal (home ownership, education, and 
entrepreneurship); the number of participants completing financial 
education trainings; the number of individuals completing an asset 
purchase; the amount of non-federal cash contribution deposited in the 
Project Reserve Fund; and the percentage of the 5-year federal AFI 
budget that will be drawn down annually. Target numbers for the entire 
5-year project period were requested in previous FOAs.
    I. Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information: ANA 
intends to add the following application requirement to all FY 2014 
FOAs in order to ensure the protection of confidential and/or sensitive 
information:
    If any confidential or sensitive information will be collected 
during the course of the project, whether from staff (e.g., background 
investigations) or project participants and/or project beneficiaries, 
then provide a description of the methods that will be used to ensure 
that confidential and/or sensitive information is properly handled and 
safeguarded. Also provide a plan for the disposition of such 
information at the end of the project period.
    J. ANA Application Evaluation Criteria:
    1. Changes to Criteria: ANA would add three additional criteria to 
the FOA, titled: Need for Assistance, Objective Work Plan (OWP), and 
Organizational Capacity. The concept of Need for Assistance was 
articulated as the Problem Statement and was evaluated under the 
Outcomes Expected criteria in prior years' FOAs. The OWP and 
Organizational Capacity were

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previously listed and evaluated as part of the Approach section. They 
will be listed as separate criteria to highlight the critical nature of 
these elements to project success. Bonus Points that appeared in prior 
years' FOAs will be removed from the evaluation criteria.
    2. Titles and Assigned Weight: ANA would adjust the maximum point 
values of the evaluation criteria scores to further prioritize elements 
that are important to project monitoring and success. ANA proposes to 
use the following criteria values for the FY 2014 NABI FOA:
    Need for Assistance--15 points;
    Outcomes Expected--10 points;
    Project Approach--20 points;
    Organizational Capacity--25 points;
    Objective Work Plan--20 points;
    Budget and Budget Justification--10 points.
    3. Scoring Guidance: ANA intends to provide guidance to reviewers 
to utilize the table below when allocating points for applications in 
order to ensure consistency and equivalence in scoring between 
different panels and panel reviewers. ANA would add the following table 
to all FY 2014 FOAs:

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Excellent..................................................       93-100
Very Good..................................................        86-92
Good.......................................................        78-85
Fair.......................................................        70-77
Needs Significant Improvement..............................         0-69
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    K. ANA Internal Review of Proposed Projects: ANA proposes to 
clarify the language in Section V.2. Review and Selection Process of 
all FY 2014 FOAs to clarify the scope of discretion to be exercised in 
making funding decisions as follows:
    Based on the ranked order of applications, ANA staff will perform 
an internal review and analysis of the highest ranked applications in 
order to determine their consistency with the purposes of NAPA, all 
relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, and the requirements of 
this FOA. ANA's Commissioner has discretion to make all final funding 
decisions. In the exercise of such discretion, the Commissioner would 
consider whether the project:
    1. Would further the purpose of this funding opportunity as 
described in Section I. Description, or is likely to be successful or 
cost effective based on what is submitted for evaluation in response to 
Section IV.2. Project Description.
    2. Fails to provide documented commitment of non-federal cash 
contributions as described in Section III.2. Cost Sharing or Matching 
and Section IV.2. Project Description, Commitment of Non-Federal 
Resources.
    3. Allows any one community, or region, to receive a 
disproportionate share of the funds available for award.
    4. Is essentially identical or similar in whole, or in part, to 
previously funded projects proposed by the same applicant, or 
activities or projects proposed by a consortium that duplicates 
activities for which any consortium member also receives funding from 
ANA.
    5. Provides couples or family counseling activities that are 
medically based.
    6. Originated with and/or was designed by consultants who provide a 
major role for themselves and are not members of the applicant 
organization, tribe, or village.
    7. Contains contingent activities that may impede, or indefinitely 
delay, the progress of the project.
    8. Has the potential to cause unintended harm or that could 
negatively impact the safety or privacy of individuals.
    9. May be used for the purpose of providing loan capital. Federal 
funds awarded under this FOA may not be used for the purpose of 
providing loan capital. This is not related to loan capital authorized 
under Sec. 803A of NAPA [42 U.S.C. 2991b-1(a)(1)] for the purpose of 
the Hawaiian Revolving Loan fund.
    10. Includes human subject research as defined at 45 CFR 45.102(d) 
and (f).
    L. Reporting: ANA would change the reporting requirement from 
quarterly to semi-annual for Objective Progress Reports (OPR) and 
Financial Status Reports (FSR). Therefore, grantees will be required to 
submit an OPR and an FSR every 6 months instead of every 3 months. 
Please note grantees will still be required to submit a Federal 
Financial Report--Federal Cash Transaction Report to the Division of 
Payment Management on a quarterly basis.

Lillian Sparks Robinson,
Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans.
[FR Doc. 2014-04959 Filed 3-6-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4184-34-P