[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 71 (Monday, April 14, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 21063-21083]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-08178]



[[Page 21063]]

Vol. 79

Monday,

No. 71

April 14, 2014

Part V





Department of Health and Human Services





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Administration for Children and Families





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





45 CFR Part 1351





Runaway and Homeless Youth; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 79 , No. 71 / Monday, April 14, 2014 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 21064]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families

45 CFR Part 1351

RIN 0970-AC43


Runaway and Homeless Youth

AGENCY: Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Administration on 
Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Administration for Children and 
Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice of proposed rulemaking would establish program 
performance standards for Runaway and Homeless Youth grantees providing 
services to eligible youth and their families. It also proposes 
revisions to reflect statutory changes, and to update procedures for 
soliciting and awarding grants. The proposed performance standards 
would be newly specified in regulation, but would build on standards 
already used by the program as priorities in funding opportunity 
solicitations and awards, in technical assistance, and in reporting 
requirements.

DATES: In order to be considered, comments on this proposed rule must 
be received on or before June 13, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on this 
proposed rule either (1) electronically via the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or (2) by mail to the Associate Commissioner, 
Family and Youth Services Bureau, Administration for Children and 
Families, 1250 Maryland Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20024. If you submit a 
comment, please include your name and address, identify the docket 
number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each 
comment. You may submit your comments and material to the government-
wide e-rulemaking site above, or to the address above, but please 
submit your comments by only one means.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Resa F. Matthew, Director, Division of 
Adolescent Development and Support, Family and Youth Services Bureau, 
1-800-865-0965, ncfy@acf.hhs.gov. Deaf and hearing impaired individuals 
may call the Federal Dual Party Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 between 
8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Statutory Authority

    This proposed regulation is published under the authority granted 
to the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Act (Title III of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency 
Prevention Act of 1974), 42 U.S.C. 5701 et seq. as amended by the 
Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-378).

II. Comment Procedures and Organization of NPRM

    Pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, the Department 
allows a period of time for members of the public to comment on 
proposed rules. In this case, we will allow 60 days for comments. In 
making any modifications to this notice of proposed rulemaking, we are 
not required to consider comments received beyond the 60-day comment 
period. To make sure your comments are addressed fully, we suggest the 
following:
     Be specific;
     Address only issues raised by the proposed rule, not the 
provisions of the law itself;
     Explain reasons for any objections or recommended changes;
     Propose appropriate alternatives; and
     Reference the specific section of the notice of the 
proposed rulemaking being addressed.
    The preamble to this proposed rule is organized as follows:
     Background of the proposals.
     Consultative processes used prior to developing the 
proposed standards.
     Scope of the rule.
     Section-by-section analysis and explanation of the 
proposed requirements.
    The section-by-section analysis is organized to follow the 
framework of 45 CFR part 1351. It proposes revisions to:
     Significant terms used in the program;
     Stated purposes of the program;
     Eligibility for grants;
     Priorities for awards;
     Matching requirements;
     Project periods;
     Allowable and non-allowable costs;
     Application procedures;
     Funding criteria;
     Other Federal requirements; and
     Additional requirements that apply to all runaway and 
homeless youth program services grants.
    A new section follows proposing program-specific standards, both 
performance standards and other standards, for each of the three major 
grant programs authorized under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.

III. Background

    The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (``the Act'') authorizes three 
major grant programs administered by the Family and Youth Services 
Bureau (FYSB), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), 
Administration for Children and Families (ACF), in the Department of 
Health and Human Services (HHS). These programs support local efforts 
to assist youth who have run away or are homeless. The Act also 
authorizes additional activities conducted through grants, including 
grants for research, evaluation, and service projects; grants for a 
national communications system to assist runaway and homeless youth in 
communicating with their families and service providers; and grants for 
technical assistance and training. The proposed rule covers all of 
these activities.
    The Basic Center Grant Program (hereafter referred to as the Basic 
Center Program) funds grants to community-based public and private 
agencies for the provision of outreach, crisis intervention, temporary 
shelter, counseling, family unification, and aftercare services to 
runaway and homeless youth and their families. Basic Center projects 
generally serve youth under 18 years of age and can provide up to 21 
days of shelter.
    The Transitional Living Grant Program (hereafter referred to as the 
Transitional Living Program) provides grants to public and private 
organizations for community-based shelter including group homes, host 
family homes, and supervised apartments for youth, ages 16 to under 22, 
who cannot safely live with their own families. Transitional Living 
projects provide a long-term, safe, stable, and nurturing environment 
for up to 21 months. Young people who have not yet reached their 18th 
birthday at the end of the 21-month period may continue to receive 
services until they turn 18. Services include counseling in basic life 
skills, interpersonal skill building, educational advancement, job 
attainment skills, and physical and mental health care. These services 
are designed to help youth who are homeless develop the skills 
necessary to make a successful transition to self-sufficient living. 
The Transitional Living Program also funds Maternity Group Homes, which 
are specifically designed to meet the needs of pregnant and parenting 
youth.
    The Education and Prevention Services to Reduce Sexual Abuse of 
Runaway, Homeless and Street Youth Program (hereafter referred to as 
the

[[Page 21065]]

Street Outreach Program) provides grants to public and private 
organizations for street-based outreach and education, including 
treatment, counseling, provision of information, and referrals for 
runaway, homeless, and street youth 21 years and younger who have been 
subjected to or are at risk of being subjected to sexual abuse or 
exploitation.
    The Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008 (hereafter referred to 
as ``the 2008 Act'') (Pub. L. 110-378) reauthorized the Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Act through FY 2013, and made a number of changes to the 
Act, including a requirement for the establishment of rules that 
specify performance standards for public and nonprofit private entities 
and agencies that receive grants authorized under sections 311, 321, 
and 351 of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.
    We have already implemented elements of these statutory mandates 
through funding opportunity announcements, technical assistance and 
training, and data collection. This proposed rule would allow us to 
complete implementation of these legislative requirements. In addition, 
it would bring our codified regulations, last updated August 17, 2000 
(65 FR 50139), into conformity with existing statutory provisions, the 
administrative and managerial procedures we already use in accordance 
with the 2008 Act, and previous statutory changes. We intend to provide 
technical assistance to grantees that focuses on effective 
implementation of these performance standards, and to implement them as 
new budget periods begin, after promulgation of a final rule, rather 
than in the middle of an existing budget period.

IV. Consultation and the Development of the NPRM

    In keeping with the requirements of the statute, the Family and 
Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) sought input from grantees and other 
stakeholders prior to the development of this proposed rule. In April 
2009, FYSB conducted a consultation forum that brought together forty-
four individuals including subject experts, technical assistance 
providers, Runaway and Homeless Youth grantees, Federal staff, persons 
with extensive program monitoring experience, and national, regional 
and statewide youth servicing organization representatives.
    Consultation participants represented the vast diversity of Runaway 
and Homeless Youth grantees from each geographic region and program 
size. Consultation participants also had expertise and extensive 
knowledge of the three FYSB Runaway and Homeless Youth programs. The 
three-day forum provided an opportunity for exchanges of views and 
ideas from a wide array of perspectives.
    FYSB also has obtained stakeholder perspectives and other 
information to inform this proposed rule in a number of additional 
ways. Since 2008, we have conducted national conferences bringing 
together all stakeholder groups and allowing for broad, informal 
exchanges of views. One such conference, the 2008 Runaway and Homeless 
Youth Grantee Conference, was attended by 442 participants, including 
representatives from 252 grantee organizations, to share ideas, 
promising approaches, and best practices. Participants met in over 30 
different workshops addressing both universal issues and specific 
programmatic needs of the three major Runaway and Homeless Youth 
programs. Through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical 
Assistance Centers, we have conducted an extensive training, technical 
assistance, and monitoring effort aimed not only at assisting grantees, 
but also at obtaining their feedback on operational issues. In tandem 
with these efforts, we conducted an in-depth review of existing 
regulatory and sub-regulatory issuances and developed a comprehensive 
set of on-site review materials, in use since February 2009.
    These consultative processes provided valuable input that we have 
used in formulating the proposed performance and procedural standards. 
Importantly, the input we received emphasized that:
     The standards should promote an integrated, holistic 
approach to service delivery.
     The standards should be responsive to the complex social 
identities (i.e. race, ethnicity, nationality, religion/spirituality, 
gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, 
physical ability, language, beliefs, values, behavior patterns, or 
customs) of clients.
     The standards should serve as models for program quality 
and encourage programs to strive for excellence.
     The standards should achieve a balance between clarity and 
precision of regulatory intent and regulatory flexibility so that 
programs can be most responsive to local needs, settings, and 
circumstances.
     The standards should place emphasis on family-focused 
aspects of the program by strengthening links with local community 
providers, and helping families identify and address individualized 
goals.
     Standards of any kind--whether performance or procedural--
should facilitate rather than impede local flexibility in creating and 
operating effective programs that respond to local needs and 
priorities.
     Standards should not unnecessarily impose burdensome 
requirements that would divert local resources away from service.
    We agree that ``Regular measurement of progress toward specified 
outcomes is a vital component of any effort at managing-for-results'' 
(Harry P. Hatry, Performance Measurement, Urban Institute Press, 2006). 
That said, we recognize that effective, workable, and successful 
performance standards are extremely difficult to formulate. Among the 
difficulties involved, some of the most important goals may be 
qualitative rather than quantitative. Near-term results may not 
correctly signal long-term effects. Measurement and appraisal may 
reduce the resources available for services. Not only may local 
circumstances vary, but also achieving a lower absolute result in some 
settings may actually reflect superior performance over other settings 
because difficulties were greater. There are challenges in establishing 
performance measures. However, they hold promise with regard to driving 
performance and assuring accountability. Despite these difficulties, in 
recent years some Federal programs, including the Runaway and Homeless 
Youth Program, have increasingly incorporated performance measures and 
standards into their ongoing operations because they can drive program 
improvement and help assure accountability. The standards and measures 
proposed in this rule represent what we believe are appropriate and 
realistic, consistent with the underlying complexity of the problems 
and processes involved in serving homeless and runaway youth. We 
welcome comments on whether our proposed standards strike the proper 
balance in meeting the objectives stated above, including measuring the 
most important program goals that are feasible to measure, preserving 
flexibility to grantees, and minimizing unnecessary burden. We welcome 
suggestions, particularly those supported by research or evaluative 
evidence, for improvements in the proposed standards.
    We also seek in this proposed rule to update program requirements 
that are important to successful implementation of the program. For 
example, as discussed in the section-by-section analysis, we propose to 
continue the

[[Page 21066]]

requirement that grantees coordinate their activities with the 24-hour 
National Toll-free Communication System and that grantees submit 
statistical reports. We propose to include in the text of the 
regulation a number of statutory requirements that are currently used 
in program administration. For example, we propose to continue the 
implementation of a statutory requirement that Basic Center grantees 
shall have an intake procedure that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days 
a week, to all youth seeking services and shelter and that addresses 
and responds to immediate needs for crisis counseling, food, clothing, 
shelter, and health care services. Additionally, we want to underscore 
the importance of grantees coordinating with and working with other 
providers of services to homeless individuals, and strongly encourage 
grantees to collaborate with their local Continuum of Care, with the 
goal of ending youth homelessness.
    In developing this proposed rule, we considered a large number of 
potential process and procedural requirements, some of which were 
generated by our public consultative process. We propose to codify a 
targeted number of these in order to minimize burden on grantees and to 
provide grantees flexibility in meeting their performance standards and 
in dealing with unique circumstances in their communities. Moreover, we 
believe that there are many effective practices that are best handled 
through technical assistance and training rather than established as 
regulatory standards.

V. Scope of the Proposed Rule

    This rule proposes Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Performance 
Standards to help assess the quality and effectiveness of the Runaway 
and Homeless Youth Program nationally by providing indicators of 
successful outcomes for youth. The performance standards will be used 
to monitor individual project performance in achieving the purposes of 
the Act. Projects will also be subject to other requirements including 
other applicable regulations (e.g., civil rights regulations), and 
those cited in funding opportunity announcements.
    This proposed rule also makes largely technical changes to existing 
program rules to conform to current law and to correct outdated 
provisions. Equally important, it proposes to revise our regulatory 
provisions on making awards to reflect the performance standards and to 
reflect onsite review and monitoring procedures that have been in place 
for a number of years.
    All grantees will be expected to comply with newly imposed 
standards when final rules are issued and become effective. We propose, 
however, to delay applicability of the new performance standards until 
the beginning of the next budget period (typically October 1) after the 
effective date of the final rule. This will allow existing grantees 
time to come into compliance with the new standards, provide time for 
us to assist grantees, and avoid any confusion that may result from 
changing standards in the middle of budget periods as well as provide 
new grantees advance notice of expectations. To assist grantees, we 
will provide them with guidance on best practices for implementing the 
standards. We also plan to conduct additional technical assistance to 
help grantee agencies understand and implement the new standards. We 
intend for the proposed rule to complement our existing efforts to 
strengthen Runaway and Homeless Youth monitoring and to improve the 
overall program.

VI. Section-by-Section Discussion of the Regulatory Provisions

Subpart A. Definition of Terms

    We propose to update the definitions of significant terms in Sec.  
1351.1 to reflect current statutory terminology and operating practice. 
We propose to revise a number of existing definitions, to add a number 
of definitions, to delete a few definitions that we do not believe are 
useful or necessary, and to change the format of the definitions. We 
request comment on each new or revised definition. For the most part, 
the additions and revisions are intended to reflect both recent changes 
to the statute and important practices in the administration of the 
program. The definitions section applies to all grants under the Act. 
Each individual definition only applies as it is applicable to each 
type of grant. The consultative process assisted in our proposed 
revisions because, as noted by many participants, the current 
regulations do not focus on some of the most important purposes and 
services of the programs operated under the statute. We add or clarify 
definitions to help achieve this goal.
    We propose to add a definition of Act to read: Act means the 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act as amended.
    We propose to revise the definition of Aftercare to read: Aftercare 
means additional services provided beyond the period of residential 
stay that offer continuity and supportive follow-up to youth served by 
the program. This would simplify the current definition for clarity but 
operationally constitutes no change.
    We propose to delete the term ``area'' because a precise definition 
is not required for the purposes of the program.
    As discussed later in the preamble, we propose to add a requirement 
for background checks of project staff and volunteers who come into 
contact with children and youth served or proposed to be served by the 
agency, and thus propose to add a definition to read: Background check 
means the review of an individual employee's or employment applicant's 
personal information, which shall include verification of educational 
credentials and employment experience, as well as a national 
examination of the individual's criminal records, and an examination of 
the individual's driving records, licensing records, and child abuse or 
neglect history. Volunteers who come into contact with children and 
youth served or proposed to be served by the agency must also undergo a 
background check. The purpose of such a background check is to protect 
both the grantee and the clients from potential harm from an employee 
or volunteer whose history presents a serious risk.
    Because a budget period is an essential element of project funding, 
we propose to add a definition to read: Budget period means the 
interval of time into which a multi-year period of assistance (project 
period) is divided for budgetary and funding purposes.
    Case management is a central concept in serving client youth, and 
we propose to add a definition to read: Case management means assessing 
the needs of the client and, as appropriate, arranging, coordinating, 
monitoring, evaluating, and advocating for a package of services to 
meet the specific needs of the client.
    Similarly, we propose to define the term client to read: Client 
means a runaway, homeless, or street youth, or youth at risk of running 
away or becoming homeless, who is served by a program grantee. This 
definition covers the full range of youth served under the program as 
it operates today.
    We propose to delete the definition of ``Coordinated networks of 
agencies'' because the term is self-explanatory and is not used in any 
substantive provision of the regulations.
    We propose to add definitions for congregate care, drop-in center, 
host family home, and supervised apartments to distinguish among 
different types of center models. These definitions distinguish centers 
that provide or use referrals for the full range

[[Page 21067]]

of services provided in the Basic Center Program, Transitional Living 
Program, and/or Street Outreach Program as appropriate from alternative 
models that provide more limited services. We propose congregate care 
to read: Congregate care means a shelter type that combines living 
quarters and restroom facilities with centralized dining services, 
shared living spaces, and access to social and recreational activities. 
We propose drop-in center to read: Drop-in center means a place 
operated and staffed for runaway or homeless youth that clients can 
visit without an appointment to get advice or information, to receive 
services or service referrals, or to meet other runaway or homeless 
youth. We propose host family home to read: Host family home means a 
family or single adult home that provides shelter to a homeless youth. 
And we propose supervised apartments to read: Supervised apartments 
means a type of shelter setting using building(s) with separate 
residential units where client supervision is provided on site or on 
call 24 hours a day. Supervised apartments can be scattered throughout 
the community, but they must be supervised.
    Core competencies are essential in providing services that lead to 
improved outcomes for clients. We propose to add a definition for core 
competencies of youth worker to read: Core competencies of youth worker 
means the ability to demonstrate skills in all of six domain areas: (1) 
Professionalism (including, but not limited to, consistent and reliable 
job performance, awareness and use of professional ethics to guide 
practice), (2) applied positive youth development approach (including, 
but not limited to, skills to develop a positive youth development plan 
and identifying the client's strengths in order to best apply a 
positive youth development framework), (3) cultural and human diversity 
(including, but not limited to, gaining knowledge and skills to meet 
the needs of clients of a different race, ethnicity, nationality, 
religion/spirituality, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation), 
(4) applied human development (including, but not limited to, 
understanding the needs of those at risk and with special needs), (5) 
relationship and communication (including, but not limited to, working 
with clients in a collaborative manner), and (6) developmental practice 
methods (including, but not limited to, utilizing methods focused on 
genuine relationships, health and safety, intervention planning).
    We propose to revise the definition of counseling services to 
include runaway prevention and intervention related services as 
follows: Counseling services means the provision of guidance, support, 
referrals for services including, but not limited to, health services, 
and advice to runaway or otherwise homeless youth and their families, 
as well as to youth and families when a young person is at risk of 
running away. These services are designed to alleviate the problems 
that have put the youth at risk of running away or contributed to his 
or her running away or being homeless.
    We propose to delete the definition of ``Demonstrably frequented by 
or reachable''. The definition is unnecessary.
    Drug abuse intervention and prevention services are important, and 
are defined under that term in the Act (section 387(1)). We propose to 
broaden the substance of the statutory definition in regulatory text to 
read: Drug abuse intervention and prevention services means services to 
prevent or reduce drug and/or alcohol abuse by runaway and homeless 
youth, and may include (i) individual, family, group, and peer 
counseling; (ii) drop-in services; (iii) assistance to runaway and 
homeless youth in rural areas (including the development of community 
support groups); (iv) information and training relating to drug and/or 
alcohol abuse by runaway and homeless youth to individuals involved in 
providing services to such youth; and (v) activities to improve the 
availability of local drug and/or alcohol abuse prevention services to 
runaway and homeless youth. Our reason for the broadening of this 
definition is two-fold: (1) We note that the RHY statute explicitly 
contemplates services to address alcohol abuse in section 387(5); (2) 
the inclusion of alcohol abuse in addition to drug abuse is standard 
practice in the substance abuse field as is demonstrated in the 
definition used by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services 
Administration that ``substance abuse means the abuse of alcohol or 
other drugs.''
    We add a proposed definition of health care services to read: 
Health care services include physical, mental, behavioral, and dental 
health services and, in the case of Maternity Group Homes, are provided 
to the child of the youth and are included in the proposed performance 
standards. Additionally, the statute requires that in the case of home-
based services under Part A, a youth's family (including unrelated 
individuals in the family households) shall receive counseling and 
information related to mental and physical health care services. 
Therefore, the proposed definition also includes, where applicable and 
allowable within a program, family or household members of the youth 
shall receive information on appropriate health related services.
    We propose to follow the substance of the statutory definition 
(section 387(2)) of home-based services to read as follows: Home-based 
services means services provided to youth and their families for the 
purpose of (i) preventing such youth from running away or otherwise 
becoming separated from their families and (ii) assisting runaway youth 
to return to their families. It includes services that are provided in 
the residences of families (to the extent practicable), including 
intensive individual and family counseling and training relating to 
life skills and parenting.
    Homeless youth is an essential definition because it identifies 
individuals eligible to be served under the Act. The current regulatory 
definition is obsolete and we propose to replace it to read as follows, 
paraphrasing the Act (section 387(3)): Homeless youth means an 
individual who cannot live safely with a parent, guardian or relative, 
and who has no other safe alternative living arrangement. For purposes 
of Basic Center Program eligibility, a homeless youth must be less than 
18 years of age (or higher if allowed by a State or local law or 
regulation that applies to licensure requirements for child- or youth-
serving facilities). For purposes of Transitional Living Program 
eligibility, a homeless youth cannot be less than 16 years of age and 
must be less than 22 years of age (unless the individual commenced his 
or her stay before age 22, and the maximum service period has not 
ended).
    Intake services are essential functions under the Act. We propose 
to define intake to read: Intake means a process for gathering 
information to assess eligibility and the services required to meet the 
immediate needs of the client.
    Extremely important in this program are interfaces between Runaway 
and Homeless Youth projects and juvenile justice facilities, including 
any location a youth is placed by order of the court for a set period 
of time. We propose to expand the existing definition of juvenile 
justice systems to read: Juvenile justice systems, institutions, or 
authorities means agencies that include, but are not limited to, 
juvenile courts, correctional institutions, detention facilities, law 
enforcement, training schools, or agencies that use probation,

[[Page 21068]]

parole, and/or court ordered home confinement. We note that grantees 
under the RHY programs are not obliged to serve youth who are under 
probation or parole. The RHY program was created as an alternative to 
involving runaway and homeless youth in the law enforcement, child 
welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice system. Indeed, as 
discussed later in the preamble we propose to add a program-wide 
requirement that grantees not provide services that substitute for 
those that juvenile justice, child welfare, or other systems are 
legally responsible for providing to youth who have not been released 
from their supervision.
    There are two definitions in the current regulations that are 
unnecessary, and accordingly we propose to delete: ``law enforcement 
structure'', and ``a locality.''
    For runaway and homeless youth who are pregnant or who have 
children, congregate or scattered-site maternity-related services are 
essential. Accordingly, we propose to define a key service: Maternity 
group home means a community-based, adult-supervised transitional 
living arrangement where client oversight is provided on site or on-
call 24 hours a day and that provides pregnant or parenting youth and 
their children with a supportive environment in which to learn 
parenting skills, including child development, family budgeting, health 
and nutrition, and other skills to promote their long-term economic 
independence and ensure the well-being of their children.
    We propose to add a definition for outreach to read as follows: 
Outreach means finding runaway, homeless, and street youth, as well as 
youth at risk of running away or becoming homeless, who might not use 
services due to lack of awareness or active avoidance, providing 
information to them about services and benefits, and encouraging the 
use of appropriate services. Outreach includes low-barrier services 
such as food packs and personal hygiene packs.
    We include risk and protective factors under the list of technical 
assistance or short-term training that may be determined as necessary 
by HHS as a condition of funding. Therefore, we propose a definition of 
risk and protective factors to read: Risk and protective factors mean 
those factors that are measureable characteristics of a youth that can 
occur at multiple levels, including biological, psychological, family, 
community, and cultural levels, that precede and are associated with an 
outcome. Risk factors are associated with a higher likelihood of 
problem outcomes, and protective factors are associated with a lower 
likelihood of problem outcomes.
    Another core statutory term is runaway youth. We propose to update 
the existing definition to reflect the Act (section 387(4)), to read: 
Runaway youth means an individual under 18 years of age who absents 
himself or herself from home or place of legal residence without the 
permission of a parent or legal guardian.
    We propose to revise the definition of runaway and homeless youth 
project to reflect the current scope of services under the Act. The 
revised definition would read: Runaway and homeless youth project means 
a community-based program outside the juvenile justice and child 
welfare systems that provides runaway prevention, outreach, shelter, 
and transition services to runaway, homeless, or street youth or youth 
at risk of running away or becoming homeless.
    The expectation for Basic Center projects is that they effectively 
stabilize the youth over a short period of time while working with the 
youth to strengthen family relationships, assisting the youth in 
determining their best future course of action, and, to the extent 
appropriate, reunifying the youth with their families. The expectation 
for Transitional Living projects is that they effectively provide 
longer term housing support while working with the youth to develop 
skills and competencies that lead to self-sufficiency, improving family 
relationships, and planning for future education, employment and 
independent living. Certain exit outcomes align with these goals 
(including, but not limited to, reunification with family, residing in 
a private residence or residential program where rent is paid, residing 
in a program with a structured educational/vocational training 
program), while others are contrary to these goals. Therefore, we 
propose to add a definition of Safe and Appropriate Settings When 
Exiting Basic Center Program Services or Transitional Living Program 
Services. The definition would read: Safe and Appropriate Settings When 
Exiting Basic Center Program Services or Transitional Living Program 
Services means settings that reflect achievement of the intended 
purposes of the Basic Center and Transitional Living programs as 
outlined in section 382(a) of the Act. Safe and Appropriate Settings 
When Exiting Basic Center Program Services or Transitional Living 
Program Services are not exits:
     To another shelter;
     To the street;
     To a private residence, other than a youth who is staying 
stably with family, if the youth is not paying rent;
     To another residential program if the youth is not paying 
rent or if the youth's transition to the other residential program was 
unplanned;
     To a correctional institute or detention center if the 
youth became involved in activities that lead to this exit after 
entering the program;
     To an unspecified other living situation; or
     To a living situation that is not known.
    By defining ``Safe and Appropriate Settings,'' our intent is to 
move the field beyond just finding a place for the youth to stay. Basic 
Center projects must also work toward: (A) Alleviating the problems of 
runaway and homeless youth; (B) if applicable or appropriate, reuniting 
such youth with their families and encouraging the resolution of intra-
family problems through counseling and other services; (C) 
strengthening family relationships and encouraging stable living 
conditions for such youth; and (D) assisting such youth in deciding on 
a future course of action.
    The ultimate goal of Transitional Living projects is to provide 
those services that lead to self-sufficiencies. Beyond housing, 
Transitional Living projects are to address the following to meet the 
standard: (A) The number and characteristics of homeless youth served 
by such projects; (B) the types of activities carried out by such 
projects; (C) the ability of such projects to alleviate the problems of 
homeless youth; (D) the ability of such projects to prepare homeless 
youth for self-sufficiency; (E) the ability of such projects to assist 
homeless youth to decide on future education, employment, and 
independent living; (F) the ability of such projects to encourage the 
resolution of intra-family problems through counseling and development 
of self-sufficient living skills; and (G) activities and programs 
planned by such projects for the following fiscal year.
    We include screening and assessment under the list of technical 
assistance or short-term training that may be determined as necessary 
by HHS as a condition of funding as well as within some of the proposed 
program standards. Therefore, we propose a definition of screening and 
assessment to read: Screening and assessment means standardized 
instruments and practices used to validly and reliably identify each 
youth's individual strengths and needs across multiple aspects of 
health, wellbeing and behavior in order to inform appropriate

[[Page 21069]]

service decisions and provide a baseline for monitoring outcomes over 
time. Screening involves brief instruments, for example with trauma and 
health problems, which can indicate certain youth for more thorough 
diagnostic assessments and service needs. Assessment, which is used 
here to mean assessment more broadly than for the purposes of 
diagnosis, involves evaluating multiple aspects of social, emotional, 
and behavioral competencies and functioning in order to inform service 
decisions and monitor outcomes.
    We also propose to define a service plan, sometimes called a 
treatment plan, to read: Service plan or treatment plan means a written 
plan of action based on the assessment of client needs and strengths 
and engaging in joint problem-solving with the client that identifies 
problems, sets goals, and describes a strategy for achieving those 
goals. To the extent possible, the plan should incorporate the use of 
evidence-based or evidence-informed interventions. It should also 
include safety planning.
    We propose to retain the definition of short-term training as the 
provision of local, State, or regionally-based instruction to runaway 
or otherwise homeless youth service providers in skill areas that will 
directly strengthen service delivery.
    From the Act (section 387(6)), we propose to define street youth to 
read: Street youth means an individual who is a runaway youth or an 
indefinitely or intermittently homeless youth who spends a significant 
amount of time on the street or in other areas that increase the risk 
to such youth for sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, prostitution, or 
drug and/or alcohol abuse. For purposes of this definition, youth means 
an individual who is age 21 or less.
    We propose to retain the definition of State under the current 
rule, which defines State as any State of the United States, the 
District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth 
of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any territory or possession of the 
United States.
    We propose to retain the definition of technical assistance as the 
provision of expertise or support for the purpose of strengthening the 
capabilities of grantee organizations to deliver services.
    Finally, we propose to update the definition of temporary shelter 
to read: Temporary shelter means all shelter settings in which runaway 
and homeless youth are provided room and board, crisis intervention, 
and other services on a 24-hour basis for up to 21 days. If a youth 
stays at a facility for longer than 21 days, the agency must utilize 
other funding sources when providing services and shelter for the extra 
days.

Subpart B--Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grants

    The existing rule contains a number of sections dealing with the 
purposes of the program, eligibility for grants, priority for grants, 
matching requirements, the period of grant awards, allowable costs, 
application procedures, criteria for grant funding decisions, and 
additional information for grantees. We propose revisions to all of 
these sections as well as to the title of the subpart to be Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program Grants. These sections apply to all grants under 
the program.
Purpose
    Currently, Sec.  1351.10 asks, ``What is the purpose of the Runaway 
and Homeless Youth Program grant?'' We propose to re-title this section 
``What is the purpose of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program grants?'' 
This change in title reflects the growth of the program over time from 
the core Basic Center Program to a broader range of grant types and 
purposes. Relatedly, we propose to amend the statement of purpose to 
emphasize not only transitional living services and other services 
added in recent years, but also the increasing emphasis on prevention 
and on the vulnerability of these youth. Under the proposal, the 
purpose of Runaway and Homeless Youth program grants would be to 
establish or strengthen community-based projects to provide runaway 
prevention, outreach, shelter, and transition services to runaway, 
homeless, or street youth or youth at risk of running away or becoming 
homeless. Youth who have become homeless or who leave and remain away 
from home without parental permission are disproportionately subject to 
serious health, behavioral, and emotional problems.1 2 They 
lack sufficient resources to obtain care and may live on the street for 
extended periods, unable to achieve stable safe living arrangements and 
at times putting themselves in danger.3 4 Many are urgently 
in need of temporary shelter and services,\5\ including services that 
are linguistically appropriate, responsive to their complex social 
identities (i.e., race, ethnicity, nationality, religion/spirituality, 
gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, 
physical ability, language, beliefs, values, behavior patterns, or 
customs), and acknowledge the environment they come from. Services 
should take a positive youth development approach that ensures a young 
person a sense of safety and structure; belonging and membership; self-
worth and social contribution; independence and control over one's 
life; skills to develop plans for the future and set goals; and, 
closeness in interpersonal relationships.\6\ To make a successful 
transition to adulthood, runaway youth, homeless youth, and other 
street youth also need opportunities to complete high school or earn a 
general equivalency degree, learn job skills, and obtain employment. 
HHS operates three programs to carry out these purposes through direct 
local services: The Basic Center Program, the Transitional Living 
Program (including Maternity Group Homes), and the Street Outreach 
Program. HHS operates three additional activities to support 
achievement of these purposes: research, evaluation, and service 
projects; a national communications system to assist runaway and 
homeless youth in communicating with service providers; and technical 
assistance and training. The proposed rule covers all of these 
activities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Whitbeck, LB; Johnson, KD; Hoyt, DR & Cauce, AM. (2004). 
Mental disorder and comorbidity among runaway and homeless 
adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. 35(2): 132.
    \2\ Cauce, AM, et al. (2000). The characteristics and mental 
health of homeless adolescents. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral 
Disorders. 8(4):230.
    \3\ Whitbeck, LB; Chen, X; Hoyt, DR; Tyler, KA & Johnson, KD. 
(2004). Mental disorder, subsistence strategies, and victimization 
among gay, lesbian, and bisexual homeless and runaway adolescents. 
The Journal of Sex Research. 41(4):329.
    \4\ Greene, JM; Ennet, ST & Ringwalk, CL. (1999). Prevalence and 
correlates of survival sex among runaway and homeless youth. 
American Journal of Public Health. 89(9):1406.
    \5\ Clark, R. & Robertson, M.J. (1996). Surviving for the 
Moment: A Report on Homeless Youth in San Francisco. Berkeley: 
Alcohol Research Group.
    \6\ Taylor-Seehafer, MA. (2004). Positive youth development: 
Reducing the health risks of homeless youth. MCN, American Journal 
of Maternal Child Nursing. 29(1):36.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eligibility for Grants
    The existing rule asks in Sec.  1351.11 ``Who is eligible to apply 
for a Runaway and Homeless Youth program grant?'' The eligibility 
requirements of the program have not changed significantly over the 
years but we propose changes to this section to conform the regulatory 
language to the current statute. We propose to state that all public 
(State and local) and private non-profit entities, and coordinated 
networks of such entities, are eligible to apply for a Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program grant unless they are part of the law 
enforcement structure or the juvenile justice system. While specific 
regulatory

[[Page 21070]]

language is not needed, we wish to point out that most faith-based 
organizations meet the regulatory definition of non-profit.
Priority for Awards
    The existing regulation addresses priority for awards in Sec.  
1351.12. We propose significant changes to the language regarding grant 
award priorities. We reference the new performance standards, we 
propose to raise the priority award level on the amounts available for 
award to $200,000 (from $100,000 in the current regulations), and we 
propose to raise the priority threshold on total project budgets, 
taking into account the funding from all sources, to $200,000 (from 
$150,000 in the current regulations). The change to the priority for 
grantees requesting awards for the Basic Center Program, the 
Transitional Living Program (including Maternity Group Homes), and the 
Street Outreach Program under a certain dollar level reflects inflation 
since the regulation was last revised. We also have indicated that 
future funding opportunity announcements may adjust these thresholds to 
account for inflation. We specifically state that we will give higher 
priority to those existing grantees that have performed better than 
other existing grantees in allocating funds, and to new applicants who 
are more likely to meet all applicable requirements than other new and/
or existing grantees. For clarity, we specifically reference both 
performance standards and other requirements. This language allows new 
applicants to demonstrate a likelihood of meeting applicable 
performance and other regulatory or funding opportunity standards, 
without requiring prior experience. Of course, an applicant with prior 
experience may be more likely to demonstrate its capabilities, but we 
propose changing the existing rule to indicate prior experience shall 
be weighed along with performance. While the statute is clear about 
preference for prior experience, new requirements for performance 
standards makes clear that experience must be weighed along with 
performance. These procedures and priorities apply to all types of 
grantees, but only as applicable (e.g., we do not establish performance 
standards for research or demonstration projects.)
    We call attention to the phrase ``performed highly in comparison to 
other agencies.'' We are not proposing that meeting every particular 
requirement, including performance standards, is a prerequisite for 
funding, although there may be cases where such a determination would 
be made (e.g., for conforming to civil rights laws or conducting 
background checks). We are proposing that applicants must compete for 
funds with other agencies, and that relative performance will be a 
factor in making award decisions among existing grantees.
    In discussing priorities, we do not specifically address geographic 
area(s) to be served. That will typically be addressed in funding 
opportunity announcements and may, depending on the type of grant, be 
national. We assume that either new applicants or existing grantees can 
compete for awards in the same geographic area. For example, a grantee 
already serving one city could apply for a grant to serve an additional 
city. As discussed later in this preamble in the performance standards 
section, we also do not propose to give specific numeric weights to 
failures to meet particular standards, whether performance standards or 
others. This allows for funding decisions that take into account unique 
local circumstances that favor or impede high performance, and for 
evidence that an applicant is both able and willing to correct a 
deficiency. This also allows for increases or decreases in grant awards 
to reward or penalize grantees whose performance is particularly high 
or modestly weak, without making the award decision ``all or nothing.'' 
Finally, it allows us to take into account availability of funds and 
other factors such as State allotment requirements. We note that the 
$200,000 priority award level on grant awards is unrelated to the 
statutory requirement that each State has an allotment of not less than 
$200,000. There may be, and usually are, multiple awards in each State. 
The statutory requirement simply means that the total of such awards in 
any State be at least $200,000 (and $70,000 for territories).
    We request comments on these proposed priorities and on ways to 
improve or refine them.
Matching Requirements
    We propose a change to Sec.  1351.13 regarding matching share. The 
current regulatory language conflicts with the statute on the amount of 
funding required by grantees to satisfy the match requirement. The 
current language requires a non-Federal match amount of 10 percent of 
the Federal share. To align the statute and the regulations, we propose 
that the Federal share reflect 90 percent, thus the remaining 10 
percent represents the match cost, cash or in-kind contributions.
    We note that the language of the statute is phrased in terms 
implying an exact 10 percent matching share, but the Department has 
always taken the position that the language should not be interpreted 
to prevent grantees from spending additional funds from their own 
resources.
Project Period
    We have not proposed changes to Sec.  1351.14, providing that the 
period for which a grant will be awarded is generally one year, 
renewable annually. The existing rule says that the project period 
during which the project will not have to re-compete for funds will not 
exceed five years and we see no reason to change this limit. Of course, 
we may specify a shorter project period in our program solicitations, 
and currently do so for the Basic Center Program and the Street 
Outreach Program, where the project period is generally three years.
Supportable Costs
    We propose minor changes to update the language under Sec.  1315.15 
to more fully describe costs allowed under Runaway and Homeless Youth 
grants. Costs that can be supported include, but are not limited to, 
staff training and core services such as outreach, intake, case 
management, data collection, temporary shelter, transitional living 
arrangements, referral services, counseling services, and aftercare 
services. We retain the existing prohibition against acquisition or 
renovation costs that exceed 15 percent of the grant award, subject to 
potential waiver. We also propose adding language that clarifies that 
research and evaluation, communications, and technical assistance 
grants are allowed costs that pertain to their unique purposes.
Costs Not Allowable
    We propose a change to the language under Sec.  1351.16 that 
currently states only that capital costs for new facilities are not 
allowed under Runaway and Homeless Youth grants. We propose retaining 
this prohibition and also explicitly prohibiting payment for the 
operating costs of existing community centers or other facilities that 
are used partially or incidentally for services to runaway or homeless 
youth clients. This does not mean that a reasonable fraction of utility 
or other overhead costs could not be charged to our grant when a 
facility provides multiple services, but it does mean that such 
fraction would have to be based on a reasonable cost allocation method 
approved by HHS, such as proportion of square footage devoted 
exclusively to each service in the facility. Separable costs of the 
runaway and homeless youth project are, of course, fully reimbursable. 
The reason for this clarification is that we

[[Page 21071]]

have seen proposed project budgets that include disproportionate 
allocations of facility-wide or overhead costs to runaway and homeless 
youth projects that use only a small portion of the facility.
Application Procedures
    Current rules under Sec.  1351.17 provide that HHS will publish 
program announcements of availability of grant funds annually in the 
Federal Register, and includes specific but outdated procedures for 
obtaining announcements and submitting applications. We propose to 
change Sec.  1351.17 to address three changes since the rule was last 
revised. First, proposed paragraph (a) recognizes that we now rely 
primarily on the Internet (rather than the Federal Register) for 
publication of our funding opportunity announcements. Second, under 
proposed paragraph (b) we now allow for electronic submission of 
completed grant applications through the Federal government's http://www.grants.gov Web site. We continue to allow for paper applications 
for grants. Third, our proposed language says that we publish such 
announcements periodically rather than annually. The timing and 
frequency varies by type of grant and has changed over time.
Funding Criteria
    Under existing Sec.  1351.18 we list a number of criteria that we 
use for deciding which grant applications to fund. We propose small 
technical changes to these criteria.
    Under paragraph (a) we propose to retain the criteria that proposed 
projects meet funding priorities. We also add a clause making specific 
reference to our use of funding opportunity announcements to establish 
specific details of the broad requirements, standards, and evaluation 
criteria contained in this proposed rule. Under the proposal, in 
reviewing applications HHS will take into consideration factors 
including whether the grant application meets the particular 
priorities, requirements, standards, or evaluation criteria established 
in funding opportunity announcements. We renumber these criteria 
accordingly.
    In paragraph (b), we propose to modify and combine the current 
requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) for demonstrating ``need'' to 
require that the likely estimated number of unserved runaway and 
homeless youth in the area exceeds the capacity of existing services. 
That is, we do not require a census-like count of such youth, but 
merely a reasonable estimate that the number of such youth exceeds the 
capacity of existing services. We welcome comment on these proposed 
changes.
    Under proposed paragraph (c), we propose to retain the existing 
requirement that runaway and homeless youth centers maintain a minimum 
residential capacity of 4 and a maximum of 20 (except where the 
applicant assures that the State where the center or locally controlled 
facility is located has a State or local law or regulation that 
requires a higher maximum to comply with licensure requirements for 
child and youth serving facilities) for all youth residing at the 
shelter on any given night. We propose to clarify that the capacity 
standards apply only to grants that include such centers. We also 
propose to revise the regulation to require centers to have the number 
of staff sufficient to assure adequate supervision of and treatment for 
the number of clients served rather than a mandatory ratio of staff to 
clients. This change is for consistency with the statute at section 
321(b)(2)(B). While we are not aware of any objective or agreed-upon 
basis for establishing such a ratio, an agency would refer to State 
laws and licensing regulations as they pertain to runaway and homeless 
youth shelters for guidelines. If no runaway and homeless youth shelter 
laws and licensing regulations have been established in a State, the 
agency would refer to State child welfare laws and regulations for 
youth. Agencies would be required to cite the guidelines they are 
following for the staff ratios they deem to be appropriate.
    Under paragraph (d) we propose to slightly modify the criteria 
under current paragraph (e) removing the language concerning the 72 
hour timeframe from admission for the program to make contact with 
family. The requirement is contained in Subpart C at new section 
1351.21(e) and in proposed new Subpart D at Sec.  1351.30(a)(1).
    We propose to retain the language in current paragraphs (f)-(h) and 
renumber them (e)-(g).
    We further propose to add a new paragraph (h) to include past 
performance in a RHY grant, including but not limited to programs 
standards. Current paragraphs (i) and (j) would be unchanged. A new 
paragraph (k) is proposed to include other factors as outlined in the 
funding opportunity announcements.
    We welcome comment on all these proposed changes to the Funding 
Criteria and ask that commenters proposing alternatives provide, if 
possible, research evidence in support of those alternatives. In this 
context, and throughout this proposed rule, we specifically ask 
commenters to distinguish between desirable best practices and minimum 
requirements that demonstrably preclude an applicant from providing an 
effective program.
Other Federal Requirements and Program Policies
    Under the current rule, Sec.  1351.19 contains a list of other 
rules and regulations that apply to applicants for, or recipients, of 
program funds. These include, for example, regulations concerning civil 
rights obligations of recipients and regulations concerning fraud, 
waste, and abuse. The existing text lists only five such rules. We 
propose amending it to include additional rules that also are 
specifically intended to apply to all HHS grantees or, in some cases, 
to all Federal grantees. The expanded list under proposed paragraph (a) 
includes rules related to civil rights requirements, to other client 
protections, to administrative requirements in HHS grant programs, and 
to preventing fraud or abuse. This expanded list does not attempt to 
list all the Federal laws and regulations (e.g., provisions of the 
Internal Revenue Code regarding non-profit status) that pertain to 
organizations that may be grant applicants or awardees. The provisions 
we list here are not all administered through either the Administration 
for Children and Families or its Runaway and Homeless Youth Program 
(though the agency may in some instances assist in their enforcement), 
but are for the most part administered by other HHS components or by 
other Federal agencies that set the conditions and enforcement 
mechanisms that apply to those provisions, and that determine whether 
and in what circumstances grant-related penalties may apply. For 
example, the HHS Office for Civil Rights enforces civil rights 
protections. This section already contains in paragraph (b) several 
additional provisions, mainly client confidentiality protections, that 
we do not propose to change. In paragraph (c), we propose to update our 
reference to the Act as defined in this proposed rule. We also propose 
to amend the title of the section to include ``other Federal 
Requirements'' in the title.

Subpart C--Additional Requirements That Apply to All Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program Local Services Grants

    Subpart C of the existing rule contains three crosscutting program-
wide requirements that apply to all local

[[Page 21072]]

services grants, at Sec.  1351.20(a), (b), and (c). At the time the 
rule was last revised, certain types of grants, such as those under the 
Street Outreach Program, were not part of the overall Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program. We propose to amend this section to make clear 
that it applies to the three major types of local services grants. It 
does not, however, apply to grants for research, evaluation, 
demonstration and service projects; grants for a national 
communications system to assist runaway and homeless youth in 
communicating with service providers; and grants for technical 
assistance and training.
    We propose a substantial expansion of regulatory provisions under 
Subpart C. We are aware that a myriad of additional provisions could be 
considered. For example, we considered including specific board 
composition and governance requirements for all grantees, and specific 
standards for counseling clients and for the condition of residential 
centers and shelters. We also considered specific planning requirements 
for determination of project-specific priorities and procedures, and 
detailed consultation requirements for interaction with other community 
providers. We considered proposing to require detailed documentation of 
case planning for individual clients. Some of these ideas were 
suggested in our consultative process. However, in keeping with one of 
the overarching principles we heard through consultation, that the 
standards of any kind--whether performance or procedural--should 
facilitate rather than impede local flexibility in creating and 
operating effective programs that respond to local needs and 
priorities, we do not include them. They involve processes that need to 
remain flexible to adjust to local or client circumstances, could 
result in potentially burdensome record-keeping or reporting, possibly 
divert scarce staff resources, or lead to other potential problems.
    We welcome comments on whether there is substantial evidence that 
these or any other requirements not proposed here would improve program 
outcomes, either overall or for each type of grant, at reasonable 
effort and cost. We also request comment on whether placing either the 
standards we propose or additional standards in funding announcements 
rather than in codified regulations would allow sufficient flexibility 
to grantees or would hinder our ability to use targeted initiatives to 
improve program practices.
    Under paragraph (a), we propose revising the language requiring 
grantees to participate in technical assistance and training in order 
to allow flexibility in which techniques will be used, and propose 
clarifying that grantees must also accept monitoring. We propose to 
expand this list considerably from the list in the current regulation. 
This list reflects primarily the evolution and expansion over the years 
of the training and technical assistance program, and the items listed 
are all conducted currently under the program. Requirements we propose 
to add are core competencies for youth workers, core support services, 
cultural and linguistic diversity, background checks, and ethics and 
staff safety. In particular and reflecting current program priorities, 
we propose positive youth development as a priority area for training 
or technical assistance. Under our proposal, grantees shall participate 
in technical assistance or short-term training as a condition of 
funding, as determined necessary by HHS, in areas such as, but not 
limited to:
     Aftercare services or counseling;
     Background checks;
     Core competencies of youth workers;
     Core support services;
     Crisis intervention techniques;
     Cultural and linguistic diversity;
     Development of coordinated networks of private nonprofit 
agencies and/or public agencies to provide services;
     Ethics and staff safety;
     Fiscal management;
     Low cost community alternatives for runaway or otherwise 
homeless youth;
     Positive youth development;
     Program management;
     Risk and Protective Factors related to youth homelessness;
     Screening and assessment practices
     Shelter facility staff development;
     Special populations (tribal youth; lesbian, gay, bisexual, 
and transgender youth; youth with disabilities; youth victims of 
trafficking, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse),
     Trauma and the effects of trauma on youth;
     Use of evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions;
     Youth and family counseling; and
     Confidentiality policies and protocols.
    We request comments on the expanded list of subjects. This is a 
substantial addition but one that we believe is useful to reflect the 
current set of policy and program priorities as set forth in the Act 
and in the program solicitations and management improvements that have 
been made in the overall program in recent years. Virtually all of 
these proposed provisions are derived from specific statutory mandates, 
and are already part of standard operating procedures. Many 
participants in our consultative process also suggested most of these 
items, reflecting the general consensus as to their importance in 
operating effective services.
    Under paragraph (b), we propose minor technical revisions to update 
the existing provision requiring coordination with the National Runaway 
Safeline. Under our proposal, grantees shall coordinate their 
activities with the 24-hour national toll-free communication system, 
which links runaway and homeless youth projects and other service 
providers with runaway or otherwise homeless youth, as appropriate to 
the specific activities provided by the grantee. At present, this 
system is called the National Runaway Safeline, its Web site is 
www.1800runaway.org, and the toll-free number is 1-800-RUNAWAY.
    Under paragraph (c), we also propose a technical revision to the 
reporting provision to require grantees to submit statistical reports 
that profile the clients served and that provide management and 
performance information in accordance with guidance provided by HHS. 
Such data submission is handled for services programs through the 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Management Information System (RHYMIS), 
which is described in detail at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/rhymis. RHYMIS has been a major innovation and improvement tool in 
program data collection, but from a regulatory perspective updating the 
regulatory reference is a minor change. The existing rule quotes 
specific statutory language in place when the rule was written. The Act 
now contains additional requirements (see in particular sections 
312(b)(7) and (8), and section 322(a)(9)). For example, it explicitly 
states that runaway and homeless youth projects ``shall keep adequate 
statistical records profiling the youth and family members whom it 
serves,'' that grantees ``shall submit annual reports to the Secretary 
detailing how the center has been able to meet the goals of its 
plans,'' and that grantees shall submit ``statistical summaries 
describing . . . the number and characteristics of the runaway and 
homeless youth . . . who participate . . . and the services provided to 
such youth.'' We propose to review this section to require appropriate 
reporting and to delete specific quotations from the Act.
    In its final stage, this rule may impose additional requirements if 
the rulemaking process or other information

[[Page 21073]]

leads us to decide that RHYMIS could be improved or expanded. We 
welcome comments on RHYMIS.
    We propose adding a new regulatory requirement for outreach for the 
three major grant programs. Outreach is a key statutory requirement of 
these programs. We propose in paragraph (d) that grantees shall perform 
outreach to locate runaway and homeless youth and youth at risk of 
running away or becoming homeless, and to coordinate activities with 
other organizations serving the same or similar clients. We request 
comments on this new requirement.
    Particular attention is needed for clients who may have fled foster 
care or a correctional program. It also is important that runaway and 
homeless youth projects not be used as a substitute for services that 
these or other programs are legally obliged to provide. We are 
especially interested in comments on the following two proposed 
requirements. First, under paragraph (e) we propose that grantees shall 
develop and implement a plan for addressing youth who have run away 
from foster care placement or correctional institutions, and for 
returning those youth appropriately to the responsible organizations, 
in accordance with Federal, State, or local laws that apply to these 
situations.
    Second, under paragraph (f) we propose that grantees shall take 
steps to ensure that youth who are under the legal jurisdiction of the 
juvenile justice or child welfare systems receive services from those 
systems until such time as they are released from the jurisdiction of 
those systems. The purpose of these provisions is to provide a clear 
demarcation between services that are the legal and financial 
responsibility of other programs, and services that are the 
responsibility of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program. Because the 
availability of Federal funds varies among programs, and where Federal 
funds are available the matching rates usually vary, other State and 
local agencies have financial incentives to blur these 
responsibilities. We strongly encourage grantees to take steps prevent 
other programs from displacing their costs onto these programs while 
also providing continuous service to youth.
    Additionally, we propose three provisions focusing on the need to 
serve youth outside the program. They are found in existing funding 
opportunity announcements. Under proposed paragraph (g), grantees shall 
develop and implement an aftercare plan covering at least 6 months to 
stay in contact with clients who leave the program in order to ensure 
their ongoing safety. A youth's individual aftercare plan shall outline 
what services were provided, including appropriate referrals for needed 
health care services, the youth's housing status, and the rate of 
participation and completion of the services in the plan at 3 months 
and at 6 months after exiting the program. In paragraph (h), grantees 
shall develop and implement a plan for health care services referrals 
for youth. Under proposed paragraph (i), grantees shall assist youth to 
stay connected with their schools or to obtain appropriate educational 
services. This includes coordination with McKinney-Vento school 
district liaisons, designated under the McKinney-Vento Homeless 
Assistance Act, to assure that runaway and homeless youth are provided 
information about the services available under that statute. Under that 
law, which is the primary piece of Federal legislation dealing with the 
education of homeless children in U.S. public schools, school districts 
are required to provide equal access to the same free, appropriate 
public education provided to other children and youth and to undertake 
additional steps as needed for such access. For example, school 
districts must identify potential barriers to the education of homeless 
youth, and homeless youth may not be segregated from other students.
    The Act, at sections 312(b)(13) and 322(a)(16), specifically 
requires grantees to develop emergency plans. We propose to adopt this 
requirement under paragraph (j) by requiring that grantees develop and 
document plans that address steps to be taken in case of a local or 
national situation that poses risk to the health and safety of staff 
and youth. Emergency preparedness plans should, at a minimum, include 
routine preventative maintenance of facilities (e.g. fire extinguishers 
and alarms checked, furnace serviced) as well as preparedness, 
response, and recovery efforts. The plan should contain strategies for 
addressing evacuation, security, food, medical supplies, and 
notification of youths' families. In the event of an evacuation due to 
specific facility issues, such as a fire, loss of utilities, or 
mandatory evacuation by the local authorities, an alternative location 
needs to be designated and included in the plan. Grantees must 
immediately provide notification to their Family and Youth Service 
Bureau project officer and grants officer when evacuation plans are 
executed.
    The Runaway and Homeless Youth Program does not assure or attempt 
to assure that its grantees meet any of the hundreds of State or local 
laws or regulations or other requirements that may apply to grantees or 
to individual staff members. That is the responsibility of State or 
local agencies charged with enforcing those requirements. The operation 
of shelters, however, is such an integral part of the program and in 
some instances the location of shelters so controversial that we 
believe it prudent as a condition of grant award to require that 
grantees shall ensure that all shelters that they operate are licensed 
where that is required, and determine that any shelters to which they 
regularly refer clients have evidence of current licensure, if 
licensure is applicable to shelters of that type. We add this 
requirement under proposed paragraph (k). We do not mean by this 
language to suggest that grantees must independently verify particular 
conditions imposed as a condition of licensure at facilities to which 
they refer clients (that is the responsibility of the State or local 
officials who make licensure decisions), but simply that grantees must 
determine that such shelters have a current license where one is 
required. Of course, grantee-operated facilities also are responsible 
to State or local authorities for meeting any requirements, whether 
required for licensure or not, imposed by those authorities as a 
condition of operation. Failure to meet any applicable State or local 
legal requirements as a condition of operation may be grounds for grant 
termination.
    Under paragraph (l), we propose to require that all employees be 
subject to a broad range of background checks for criminality and 
suitability (see the definition of background check). We also propose 
to require that host homes be subject to criminal and child abuse 
checks. We believe that current methods of obtaining background checks 
are reasonably simple, straightforward, and inexpensive. These policies 
are already operational and a requirement in the Funding Opportunity 
Announcement. We welcome comments on any potential problems with the 
proposed requirement and with any suggestions as to improving its 
scope.
    Positive youth development (PYD) has been a central framework of 
the program for years. PYD emphasizes:
     Healthy messages to adolescents about their bodies, 
behaviors, interpersonal relationships, and interaction;
     Safe and structured places for teens to study, recreate, 
and socialize;
     Strong relationships with adult role models;
     Skill development in literacy competence, work readiness, 
and social skills; and
     Opportunities for youth to serve others and build self-
esteem.

[[Page 21074]]

    Runaway and homeless youth projects that adopt these principles 
provide the youth they serve with opportunities for positive use of 
time, for positive self-expression and self-development, and for 
constructive civic and social engagement. Accordingly, we propose under 
paragraph (m) to require PYD on a program-wide basis. Under this 
paragraph, grantees shall utilize and integrate into the operation of 
their projects the principles of positive youth development, including 
healthy messages, safe and structured places, adult role models, skill 
development, and opportunities to serve others.
    As previously discussed in this preamble, there are numerous other 
possible requirements that could be included in the final rule. For 
example, we could require certain kinds of staff training. We do not 
propose such additional requirements for three reasons. First, it is 
difficult to craft requirements that do not unduly constrain grantee 
flexibility by imposing a ``one size fits all'' approach that does not 
in fact reasonably apply to particular grantees or particular 
situations or particular staff. Second, such requirements almost by 
necessity create burdens, e.g. for recordkeeping or reporting to 
demonstrate that grantees meet the requirement. Third, there is an 
alternative mechanism in the form of funding opportunity announcements. 
These announcements provide the flexibility to add particular 
requirements (including temporary priorities) without going through a 
rulemaking process and, more importantly, allow far more flexibility 
than codified rules normally allow. For example, the 2013 funding 
opportunity announcement for the Basic Center Program (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/view/HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CY-0575) gives 
examples of practices to follow or services that agencies can provide, 
all flexibly described. This language allows grantees the option to 
provide most but not all of these services. This would allow, for 
example, for the situation in which some other agency provides a key 
service and the grantee can use referral arrangements. Particularly in 
a program dealing with such complex problems, and given the extreme 
variation in service availability from other providers in particular 
localities, we believe that funding opportunity announcements are often 
a superior vehicle for encouraging certain practices.
    To this end, we propose to add at paragraph (n) that grantees 
provide such other services and meet such additional requirements as 
the Department of Health and Human Services determines are necessary to 
carry out the purposes of the statute, as appropriate to the services 
and activities for which they are funded. These services and 
requirements are articulated in the funding opportunity announcements 
and other instructions issued by the Secretary or secretarial 
designees. This includes operational instructions and standards of 
execution determined by the Secretary or secretarial designees to be 
necessary to properly perform or document meeting the requirements 
applicable to particular programs or projects.
    In addition to the requirements all RHY grantees must meet, there 
are additional requirements specific to each of the three core RHY 
programs which stem from the Act and the unique purposes of each 
program.
    We propose to create a new section Sec.  1351.21 ``What are the 
additional requirements that the Basic Center Program grantees must 
meet?''. There are four additional program specific requirements that 
are central to the purposes of the Basic Center Program. First, under 
proposed paragraph (a) all Basic Center grantees shall have an intake 
procedure that is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to all 
youth seeking services and temporary shelter. The intake process must, 
at all hours, enable staff to address and respond to young people's 
immediate needs for crisis counseling, food, clothing, shelter, and 
health care services. The second proposed requirement under paragraph 
(b), describes the largest and arguably most important function 
described under the Act for Basic Center grantees, requiring that 
grantees shall provide, either directly or through arrangements, access 
to temporary shelter 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Any grantee that 
did not provide temporary living services to eligible youth would not 
be meeting an essential function of the program (section 311(a)(2) of 
the Act). Note that this requirement allows for a combination of 
facilities that are directly operated by the grantee, operated by 
others, or accessible through referral. Third, under paragraph (c), we 
propose to require that Basic Center grantees provide case management, 
counseling and referral services that meet client needs and that 
encourage when in the best interests of youth particularly with regard 
to safety, the involvement of parents or legal guardians. Under 
paragraph (d), we propose to require that grantees provide additional 
core support services to clients both residentially and non-
residentially, as appropriate. The core services must include case 
planning, skill building, recreation and leisure activities, and 
aftercare. Again, this is an essential function of the program and 
codification does not require changes in program operations. Under 
paragraph (e), we propose to require that grantees make contact with 
the parent(s), legal guardian or other relatives of the youth within 72 
hours of entering the program with a ``best interest of the youth'' 
exception allowed for disclosure of the location if additional 
information is needed to ensure the safety of the youth. The ``best 
interest of the youth'' would be defined by the State child welfare 
legal requirements with respect to child protective services and law 
enforcement mandatory reporting. Finally, under paragraph (f), we 
propose to include grantees be subject to any additional requirements 
that are included in the annual funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
    We also propose a new section Sec.  1351.22 ``What are the 
additional requirements that the Transitional Living Program and 
Maternity Group Home grantees must meet?'' to include specific 
requirements for core services to be provided by the programs. Under 
paragraph (a), we would require that grantees provide transitional 
living arrangements and additional core services including case 
planning/management, counseling, skill building, consumer education, 
referral to social and health care services, and education, recreation 
and leisure activities, aftercare and, as appropriate, parenting 
skills, child care, and child nutrition. Note that this language 
requires for Maternity Group Home grantees a focus on parenting skills, 
childcare, and child nutrition. Additionally, under paragraph (b), we 
require that TLP and MCP grantees be subject to any additional 
requirements included in the funding opportunity announcement.
    We propose to create a new section Sec.  1351.23 ``What are the 
additional requirements that the Street Outreach Program grantees must 
meet?''. The proposed requirements are specific to the purposes of the 
Street Outreach program. We propose under paragraph (a) to require that 
SOP grantees provide services designed to assist clients in leaving the 
streets, in making healthy choices, and in building trusting 
relationships in areas where targeted youth congregate. Under paragraph 
(b), we require SOP grantees provide directly or by referral other core 
services to their clients. Finally, under paragraph (c), we require 
that SOP grantees be subject to any additional requirements included in 
the funding opportunity announcement.

[[Page 21075]]

    We request comments on each of these proposed provisions and 
suggestions for deletions or additions. We believe that each is clearly 
justified by the Act and by recent and current priorities for programs 
conducted under the Act. We are particularly interested in suggestions 
for additions that would directly and substantially further the 
purposes of these programs without unduly limiting flexibility on the 
part of grantees or creating substantial new paperwork or reporting 
requirements.

Subpart D--What Are the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program-Specific 
Standards?

    In addition to requirements that apply to all Runaway and Homeless 
Youth programs, the Department proposes to establish a new Subpart that 
creates specific standards for each major type of local services grant, 
with a focus on performance-based standards. These new performance 
standards were mandated by the Act, as amended by the Reconnecting 
Homeless Youth Act of 2008. Performance standards focus directly on 
program goals and create or use criteria that either measure goal 
attainment or are close proxies to meeting the goal. In addition, for 
each program, we propose standards encompassing core functions and 
services that are essential for success in that program. We believe the 
performance standards can best be organized by building upon four core 
outcomes based on research which indicates that improvements on risk 
and protective factors can serve as pathways to get to better outcomes 
in social and emotional well-being, permanent connections, education or 
employment, and stable housing.7 8 9 These four core 
outcomes are expected to lead to healthy and productive transitions to 
adulthood for homeless youth in the following ways:
    (1) Social and Emotional Well-being includes the development of key 
competencies, attitudes, and behaviors that equip a young person 
experiencing homelessness to avoid unhealthy risks and to succeed 
across multiple domains of daily life, including school, work, 
relationships, and community; (2) Permanent connections include ongoing 
attachments to families or adult role models, communities, schools, and 
other positive social networks which support young people's ability to 
access new ideas and opportunities that support thriving and they 
provide a social safety net when young people are at-risk of re-
entering homelessness; (3) Education or employment includes high 
performance in and completion of educational and training activities, 
especially for younger youth, and starting and maintaining adequate and 
stable employment, particularly for older youth. Achievements in 
education and employment increase a youth's capacity to support himself 
or herself and avoid future homelessness; and (4) Stable housing 
includes a safe and reliable place to call home. Stable housing 
fulfills a critical and basic need for homeless youth. It is essential 
to enabling functioning across a range of life activities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Kidd, S., & Shahar, G. (2008). Resilience in homeless youth: 
The key role of self-esteem. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78 
(2), 163.
    \8\ Milburn, N. G., Jane Rotheram-Borus, M., Batterham, P., 
Brumback, B., Rosenthal, D., & Mallett, S. (2005). Predictors of 
close family relationships over one year among homeless young 
people. Journal of Adolescence, 28(2), 263-275.
    \9\ Milburn, N., Liang, L., Lee, S., Roteram-Borus, M., 
Rosenthal, D., Mallett, S., et al. (2009). Who is doing well? A 
typology of newly homeless adolescents. Journal of Community 
Psychology, 37 (2), 135-147.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We do not propose to establish such standards for grants for 
research, evaluation, demonstration and service projects; grants for a 
national communications system to assist runaway and homeless youth in 
communicating with their families and service providers; and grants for 
technical assistance and training.
    The consultative process involved extensive discussion of potential 
performance standards. During the consultation process, the 
participants looked at current practices and discussed minimum 
expectations versus exceptional service. For example, the participants 
of the consultation process discussed appropriate methods for notifying 
parents and legal guardians when a young person enters a shelter: 
Telephone, email or other types of communication. The best method for 
parent/guardian notification depends on grantees' technological 
capacity, community expectations, and other factors. For that reason, 
the standard should focus on the timing of the notification and not the 
methods to ensure that grantees with various communication systems can 
achieve the standard.
Basic Center Program Standards
    We propose a new Sec.  1351.30 for Basic Center Grantees. For these 
grantees we propose under paragraph (a) that grantees must contact the 
parent(s), legal guardian or other relatives of clients within 72 hours 
of entering the program to inform them that the youth is safe, with a 
determination to be made on a case-by-case basis of whether it is in 
the best interests of the youth to notify the parent(s), legal guardian 
or other relatives of the location of the youth until further 
information has been gathered to assure safety. Under paragraph (b), we 
propose to require grantees shall maintain at 90 percent or higher the 
proportion of youth transitioning to safe and appropriate settings when 
exiting Basic Center Program services. Paragraph (c) proposes that 
grantees shall ensure that youth have received appropriate counseling 
services informed by screening and assessment of each youth's 
psychosocial strengths and needs. Data shall be reported by each 
grantee on the type of counseling each youth received (individual, 
family and/or group counseling), the participation rate based on a 
youth's service plan or treatment plan, and the completion rate based 
on a youth's service plan or treatment plan. Under paragraph (d), we 
propose that grantees that choose to provide street-based services, 
home-based services, drug and/or alcohol abuse education and prevention 
services, and/or testing for sexually transmitted diseases (at the 
request of the youth) shall ensure youth receive the appropriate 
services informed by screening and assessment of each youth's strengths 
and needs. Data shall be reported on the completion rate for each 
service provided based on the youth's service plan or treatment plan.
    These performance standards both involve critical and measurable 
program objectives. The first standard requires parental contact (if 
feasible, of course) within 72 hours. We encourage contact within 24 
hours. The second requires that these centers achieve 90 percent or 
higher the proportion of youth living in safe and appropriate settings 
immediately after exiting Basic Center Program services. We note that 
RHYMIS data show that on average, grantees have achieved a 92 percent 
success rate under the second measure. We welcome specific comment on 
these standards. Proposed paragraph (c) emphasizes the statutory 
requirement for counseling services and outlines specific data to be 
reported. Proposed paragraph (d) outlines specific data to be reported 
for services grantees may choose to provide based on the statute.
    In addition to these proposed measures, we welcome comment on 
measures for the Basic Center Program that will demonstrate youth 
outcomes post-exit.
Transitional Living Program Standards
    We propose to add a new section Sec.  1351.31 for Transitional 
Living Programs (including Maternity Group Homes). Under paragraph (a), 
we propose to require as performance

[[Page 21076]]

standards that grantees maintain at 90 percent or higher the proportion 
of youth transitioning to safe and appropriate settings when exiting 
Transitional Living Program services. Under paragraph (b), we propose 
that grantees maintain at 45 percent or higher the proportion of youth 
who are engaged in community service and service learning activities 
while in the program. In proposed paragraph (c), grantees shall ensure 
youth are engaged in educational advancement, job attainment skills or 
work activities while in the program. In proposed paragraph (d), 
grantees shall ensure and report that youth receive health care 
services as determined within their health care referral plan. Finally, 
under proposed paragraph (e), MGH grantees shall ensure and report that 
youth receive consistent pre-natal care, well-baby exams, and 
immunizations for the infant while in the program. We note that 
grantees achieved an 86 percent success rate on average in FY 2007 
under the safe exit measure. Additionally, we note that grantees 
achieved a 42 percent success rate on average in FY 2007 under the 
engagement measure. We believe that these standards are readily 
achievable by well-run programs.
    We welcome specific suggestions for improvements to these 
standards. In addition to these proposed measures, we welcome comment 
on measures for the Transitional Living Program that will demonstrate 
youth outcomes post-exit.
Street Outreach Program Standards
    We propose to add a new Sec.  1351.32 for the Street Outreach 
Program. Creating a reasonably achievable performance measure for this 
program is difficult because of the circumstances under which it 
operates (e.g., meeting youth in unstructured street situations). As 
currently stated in the Onsite Review Protocol: Runaway and Homeless 
Youth Programs (at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/docs/rhy_review_protocol/index.htm but subject to future change), in its 
section on performance standards, the ``Street Outreach Program 
provides services to youth under circumstances that make a 
straightforward adaptation of some of the elements of the performance 
standards impractical'' (Introduction, page 3).
    We are, however, considering requiring the following approach: The 
most important activity under this program is simply contacting street 
youth, and we already collect data on the total number of contacts 
(counting a youth contacted twice as two contacts). Accordingly, we 
propose as a performance measure the number of total contacts made by 
the project, giving the projects credit for repeatedly reaching youth. 
A ``contact'' is the engagement between Street Outreach Program staff 
and homeless youth in need of services that could reasonably lead to 
shelter or significant harm reduction. FYSB is open to public comment 
on the proposed definition. This measure has the defect of potential 
unreliability, and it is difficult to set an actual numeric standard 
that would not unfairly penalize smaller grantees. Unlike our proposed 
performance standards for the other programs there is no denominator 
against which to calculate a percentage. Nonetheless, we propose to use 
the total number of contacts with homeless or runaway youth as a 
performance measure, but not to set a numeric standard at this time. An 
alternative might be to use the percent of youth contacted that accept 
shelter or other services--such as referrals, family reunification 
services, conflict resolution, or mediation counseling, and case 
management--as a performance standard. We welcome comment on these 
options and suggestions for other alternatives.
    We request comments on the proposals for all three programs and 
recommendations for alternatives. We do not propose performance 
standards for technical assistance and other grants that do not provide 
direct services. We do not believe that support grants such as these 
lend themselves to across-the-board, outcome-oriented performance 
standards such as those proposed here. We opt to include benchmarks in 
some of the proposed performance standards, those where historic data 
exists to allow for a reasonable benchmark to be set, rather than 
leaving it to the funding opportunity announcement or other guidance 
mechanism.
    We propose to create a new section Sec.  1351.33 ``How and when 
will performance standards for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program 
be revised?''. For those performance standards for which benchmarks are 
not set within this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, benchmarks will need 
to be set in the coming years as data are collected. Additionally, as 
grantees improve performance, it will be necessary to adjust the 
benchmark on a given performance standard in the coming years. 
Furthermore, as more is learned about how to improve outcomes, 
performance standards themselves may need to be modified or added. The 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) process takes a considerable 
amount of time and is not conducive to on-going adjustments. Therefore, 
in order to ensure that performance standards as well as the benchmarks 
set within a given performance standard keep pace with improvements 
grantees are able to make over time, we are proposing that the 
Secretary may, based upon available program data, add, amend, or 
suspend performance standards and/or benchmark levels when appropriate. 
All performance standards and benchmark levels will be consistent with 
the performance standards provision in the most current reauthorization 
of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act and will relate to one or more 
four core outcomes: Social and emotional well-being; permanent 
connections; education or employment; and/or stable housing. 
Notification to grantees shall be given in advance of the revision 
through a public notification mechanism such as a funding opportunity 
announcement, policy guidance or other appropriate means. We welcome 
comment on how performance standards and benchmarks can be set and/or 
adjusted in a timely, yet transparent and public, manner.
    We propose to create a new section Sec.  1351.34 ``When Are 
Program-Specific Requirements Effective?''. After we review public 
comments, the Department will make final decisions on these proposed 
requirements and will then issue a final rule. Normally, a final rule 
contains a date section with language such as this: These final 
regulations are effective on June 13, 2014. We intend to use this 
standard approach. We also are proposing in Sec.  1351.34, for the 
local services program specific requirements, specific language that 
would delay the actual imposition of those requirements until the 
beginning of the next budget period. We propose that grantees shall 
meet program specific requirements, as applicable, upon the effective 
date of those requirements, or starting at the beginning of the next 
budget period for the grant, whichever comes later. Since most budget 
periods begin on October 1 of each year, this means that grantees would 
have however many days there are between the issuance of final 
regulations and that date, but never less than 60 days. The purpose of 
this delay is threefold. First, it avoids the need to assess 
performance over a fraction of a grantee's annual budget period, i.e. 
over a fraction of a year, but instead uses a full year of performance 
as the standard for assessment. Second, it facilitates comparisons 
among grantees, by using a full year of performance as uniform basis 
for comparison. Third, and most

[[Page 21077]]

important, it provides time for grantees to prepare for these 
requirements, and for the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) to 
provide technical assistance and training to assist them. We appreciate 
that some grantees, particularly TLP grantees, operate on more 
staggered schedules and will have less time than others. We would 
expect to target early help on those facing the shortest deadlines. We 
welcome comments on this proposed approach and suggestions for 
alternatives.

VII. Impact Analysis

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains no new information collection 
requirements. We note that the existing RHYMIS information collection 
system has been renewed through FY 2013. We request comments on whether 
anything in this rule should, if adopted, suggest a change in RHYMIS. 
In particular, we want to be sure that RHYMIS reflects all performance 
standards in any future revision. We also welcome comments on technical 
or implementation changes in RHYMIS that might facilitate measurement 
of performance or otherwise assist in achieving higher performance.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary certifies that this proposed rule will not result in 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. We have not proposed any new requirements that would have 
such an effect. Our proposed standards would almost entirely conform to 
the existing statutory requirements and existing practices in the 
program. In particular, we have proposed imposing only a few new 
process, procedural, or documentation requirements that are not 
encompassed within the existing rule, existing funding opportunity 
announcements, or existing information collection requirements. None of 
these would impose a consequential burden on grantees. Accordingly, an 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Executive Order 12866 requires that regulations be reviewed to 
ensure that they are consistent with the priorities and principles set 
forth in the Executive Order. The Department has determined that this 
rule is consistent with these priorities and principles. The Executive 
Order requires a Regulatory Impact Analysis for proposed or final rules 
with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. Nothing in this 
proposed rule approaches effects of this magnitude. Nor does this 
proposed rule meet any of the other criteria for significance under the 
Executive Order. This proposed rule has been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget.

Congressional Review

    This proposed rule is not a major rule (economic effects of $100 
million or more) as defined in the Congressional Review Act.

Federalism Review

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism, requires that Federal agencies 
consult with State and local government officials in the development of 
regulatory policies with federalism implications. This rule will not 
have substantial direct impact on the States, on the relationship 
between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution 
of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. 
Therefore, in accordance with the Executive Order we have determined 
that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

Family Impact Review

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations 
Act of 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277) requires Federal agencies to issue a 
Family Policymaking Assessment for any rule that may affect family 
well-being. This proposed rule would not have any new or adverse impact 
on the autonomy or integrity of the family as an institution. Like the 
existing rule and existing program practices, it directly supports 
family well-being. Since we propose no changes that would affect this 
policy priority, we have concluded that it is not necessary to prepare 
a Family Policymaking Assessment.

List of Subjects in 45 CFR 1351

    Administrative practice and procedure, Grant programs--Social 
programs, Homeless, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Technical 
assistance, Youth.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Numbers 93.550, 
Transitional Living for Homeless Youth; 93.557, Education and 
Prevention Grants to Reduce Sexual Abuse of Runaway, Homeless and 
Street Youth; and 93.623, Basic Center Grants for Runaway Youth)

    Dated: April 4, 2014.
Mark Greenberg,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families.
    Approved: April 7, 2014.
Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, title 45 CFR Part 1351 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 1351--RUNAWAY AND HOMELESS YOUTH PROGRAM

0
1. The authority citation for part 1351 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 5701.

Subpart A--Definition of Terms

0
2. Revise Sec.  1351.1 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.1  Significant Terms.

    For the purposes of this part:
    Act means the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. 
5701 et seq.
    Aftercare means additional services provided beyond the period of 
residential stay that offer continuity and supportive follow-up to 
youth served by the program.
    Background check means the review of an individual employee's or 
employment applicant's personal information, which shall include 
verification of educational credentials and employment experience, as 
well as a national examination of the individual's criminal records, 
and an examination of the individual's driving records, licensing 
records, and child abuse or neglect history. Volunteers who come into 
contact with children and youth served or proposed to be served by the 
agency must also undergo a background check.
    Budget period means the interval of time into which a multi-year 
period of assistance (project period) is divided for budgetary and 
funding purposes.
    Case management means assessing the needs of the client and, as 
appropriate, arranging, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating, and 
advocating for a package of services to meet the specific needs of the 
client.
    Client means a runaway, homeless, or street youth, or youth at risk 
of running away or becoming homeless, who is served by a program 
grantee.
    Congregate care means a shelter type that combines living quarters 
and restroom facilities with centralized dining services, shared living 
spaces, and access to social and recreational activities.
    Contact means the engagement between Street Outreach Program staff

[[Page 21078]]

and homeless youth in need of services that could reasonably lead to 
shelter or significant harm reduction.
    Core competencies of youth worker means the ability to demonstrate 
skills in six domain areas:
    (1) Professionalism (including, but not limited to, consistent and 
reliable job performance, awareness and use of professional ethics to 
guide practice);
    (2) Applied positive youth development approach (including, but not 
limited to, skills to develop a positive youth development plan and 
identifying the client's strengths in order to best apply a positive 
youth development framework);
    (3) Cultural and human diversity (including, but not limited to, 
gaining knowledge and skills to meet the needs of clients of a 
different race, ethnicity, nationality, religion/spirituality, gender 
identity/expression, sexual orientation);
    (4) Applied human development (including, but not limited to, 
understanding the needs of those at risk and with special needs);
    (5) Relationship and communication (including, but not limited to, 
working with clients in a collaborative manner); and
    (6) Developmental practice methods (including, but not limited to, 
utilizing methods focused on genuine relationships, health and safety, 
intervention planning).
    Counseling services means the provision of guidance, support, 
referrals for services including, but not limited, to health services, 
and advice to runaway or otherwise homeless youth and their families, 
as well as to youth and families when a young person is at risk of 
running away. These services are designed to alleviate the problems 
that have put the youth at risk of running away or contributed to his 
or her running away or being homeless.
    Drop-in center means a place operated and staffed for runaway or 
homeless youth that clients can visit without an appointment to get 
advice or information, to receive services or service referrals, or to 
meet other runaway or homeless youth.
    Drug abuse education and prevention services means services to 
prevent or reduce drug and/or alcohol abuse by runaway and homeless 
youth, and may include:
    (1) Individual, family, group, and peer counseling;
    (2) Drop-in services;
    (3) Assistance to runaway and homeless youth in rural areas 
(including the development of community support groups);
    (4) Information and training relating to drug and/or alcohol abuse 
by runaway and homeless youth to individuals involved in providing 
services to such youth; and
    (5) Activities to improve the availability of local drug and/or 
alcohol abuse prevention services to runaway and homeless youth.
    Health care services means physical, mental, behavioral and dental 
health services and, in the case of Maternity Group Homes mean those 
provided to the child of the youth; and where applicable and allowable 
within a program, family or household members of the youth shall 
receive information on appropriate health related services.
    Home-based services means services provided to youth and their 
families for the purpose of preventing such youth from running away or 
otherwise becoming separated from their families and assisting runaway 
youth to return to their families. It includes services that are 
provided in the residences of families (to the extent practicable), 
including intensive individual and family counseling and training 
relating to life skills and parenting.
    Homeless youth means an individual who cannot live safely with a 
parent, guardian or relative, and who has no other safe alternative 
living arrangement. For purposes of Basic Center Program eligibility, a 
homeless youth must be less than 18 years of age (or higher if allowed 
by a State or local law or regulation that applies to licensure 
requirements for child- or youth-serving facilities). For purposes of 
Transitional Living Program eligibility, a homeless youth cannot be 
less than 16 years of age and must be less than 22 years of age (unless 
the individual commenced his or her stay before age 22, and the maximum 
service period has not ended).
    Host family home means a family or single adult home that provides 
shelter to a homeless youth.
    Intake means a process for gathering information to assess 
eligibility and the services required to meet the immediate needs of 
the client.
    Juvenile justice systems, institutions, or authorities means 
agencies that include, but are not limited to, juvenile courts, 
correctional institutions, detention facilities, law enforcement, 
training schools, or agencies that use probation, parole, and/or court 
ordered confinement.
    Maternity group home means a community-based, adult-supervised 
transitional living arrangement where client oversight is provided on 
site or on-call 24 hours a day and that provides pregnant or parenting 
youth and their children with a supportive environment in which to 
learn parenting skills, including child development, family budgeting, 
health and nutrition, and other skills to promote their long-term 
economic independence and ensure the well-being of their children.
    Outreach means finding runaway, homeless and street youth, or youth 
at risk of becoming runaway or homeless, who might not use services due 
to lack of awareness or active avoidance, providing information to them 
about services and benefits, and encouraging the use of appropriate 
services.
    Risk and protective factors mean those factors that are measureable 
characteristics of a youth that can occur at multiple levels, including 
biological, psychological, family, community, and cultural levels, that 
precede and are associated with an outcome. Risk factors are associated 
with higher likelihood of problem outcomes, and protective factors are 
associated with lower likelihood of problem outcomes.
    Runaway youth means an individual under 18 years of age who absents 
himself or herself from home or place of legal residence without the 
permission of a parent or legal guardian.
    Runaway and homeless youth project means a community-based program 
outside the juvenile justice or child welfare systems that provides 
runaway prevention, outreach, shelter, and transition services to 
runaway, homeless, or street youth or youth at risk of running away or 
becoming homeless.
    Safe and Appropriate Settings When Exiting Basic Center Program 
Services or Transitional Living Program Services means settings that 
reflect achievement of the intended purposes of the Basic Center and 
Transitional Living programs as outlined in section 382(a) of the Act. 
Safe and Appropriate Settings When Exiting Basic Center Program 
Services or Transitional Living Program Services are not exits:
    (1) To another shelter;
    (2) To the street;
    (3) To a private residence, other than a youth who is staying 
stably with family, if the youth is not paying rent;
    (4) To another residential program if the youth is not paying rent 
or if the youth's transition to the other residential program was 
unplanned;
    (5) To a correctional institute or detention center if the youth 
became involved in activities that lead to this exit after entering the 
program;
    (6) To an unspecified other living situation; or
    (7) To a living situation that is not known.
    Screening and assessment means standardized instruments and 
practices used to validly and reliably identify

[[Page 21079]]

each youth's individual strengths and needs across multiple aspects of 
health, wellbeing and behavior in order to inform appropriate service 
decisions and provide a baseline for monitoring outcomes over time. 
Screening involves brief instruments, for example with trauma and 
health problems, which can indicate certain youth for more thorough 
diagnostic assessments and service needs. Assessment, which is used 
here to mean assessment more broadly than for the purposes of 
diagnosis, involves evaluating multiple aspects of social, emotional, 
and behavioral competencies and functioning in order to inform service 
decisions and monitor outcomes.
    Service plan or treatment plan means a written plan of action based 
on the assessment of client needs and strengths and engaging in joint 
problem solving with the client that identifies problems, sets goals, 
and describes a strategy for achieving those goals. To the extent 
possible, the plan should incorporate the use of evidence-based or 
evidence-informed interventions.
    Short-term training means the provision of local, State, or 
regionally-based instruction to runaway or otherwise homeless youth 
service providers in skill areas that will directly strengthen service 
delivery.
    Street youth means an individual who is a runaway youth or an 
indefinitely or intermittently homeless youth who spends a significant 
amount of time on the street or in other areas that increase the risk 
to such youth for sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, prostitution, or 
drug and/or alcohol abuse. For purposes of this definition, youth means 
an individual who is age 21 or less.
    State means any State of the United States, the District of 
Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands, and any territory or possession of the United 
States.
    Supervised apartments means a type of shelter setting using 
building(s) with separate residential units where client supervision is 
provided on site or on call 24 hours a day.
    Technical assistance means the provision of expertise or support 
for the purpose of strengthening the capabilities of grantee 
organizations to deliver services.
    Temporary shelter means all shelter settings in which runaway and 
homeless youth are provided room and board, crisis intervention, and 
other services on a 24-hour basis for up to 21 days.
0
3. Revise the Subpart B heading to read as follows:

Subpart B--Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grants

0
4. Revise Sec.  1351.10 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.10.  What is the purpose of Runaway and Homeless Youth 
Program grants?

    The purpose of Runaway and Homeless Youth program grants is to 
establish or strengthen community-based projects to provide runaway 
prevention, outreach, shelter, and transition services to runaway, 
homeless, or street youth or youth at risk of running away or becoming 
homeless. Youth who have become homeless or who leave and remain away 
from home without parental permission are disproportionately subject to 
serious health, behavioral, and emotional problems. They lack 
sufficient resources to obtain care and may live on the street for 
extended periods, unable to achieve stable safe living arrangements and 
at times putting themselves in danger. Many are urgently in need of 
shelter, which, depending on the type of runaway and homeless youth 
project, can include host family homes, drop-in centers, congregate 
care, or supervised apartments, and services, including services that 
are linguistically appropriate, responsive to their complex social 
identities (i.e., race, ethnicity, nationality, religion/spirituality, 
gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, 
physical ability, language, beliefs, values, behavior patterns, or 
customs), and acknowledge the environment they come from. Runaway and 
Homeless Youth grant services should take a positive youth development 
approach that ensures a young person a sense of safety and structure; 
belonging and membership; self-worth and social contribution; 
independence and control over one's life; skills to develop plans for 
the future and set goals; and closeness in interpersonal relationships. 
To make a successful transition to adulthood, runaway youth, homeless 
youth, and other street youth also need opportunities to complete high 
school or earn a general equivalency degree, learn job skills, and 
obtain employment. HHS operates three programs to carry out these 
purposes through direct local services: The Basic Center Program; the 
Transitional Living Program (including Maternity Group Homes); and the 
Street Outreach Program. HHS operates three additional activities to 
support achievement of these purposes: Research, evaluation, and 
service projects; a national communications system to assist runaway 
and homeless youth in communicating with service providers; and 
technical assistance and training.
0
5. Revise Sec.  1351.11 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.11  Who is eligible to apply for a Runaway and Homeless 
Youth Program grant?

    Public (State and local) and private non-profit entities, and 
coordinated networks of such entities, are eligible to apply for a 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program grant unless they are part of the 
law enforcement structure or the juvenile justice system.
0
6. Revise Sec.  1351.12 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.12  Who gets priority for the award of a Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program grant?

    In making Runaway and Homeless Youth Program grants to existing 
grantees, prior experience shall be weighed along with performance; 
therefore the Secretary or the Secretary's designee gives priority to 
those public or private agencies that have performed highly in 
comparison to other agencies receiving grants in past years, both in 
meeting applicable performance standards and in complying with 
applicable conditions of grant award or execution required under these 
regulations or under funding opportunity announcements. In making 
awards to new applicants or to existing grantees seeking to expand to a 
new service area, consideration will be given to the likelihood that 
the applicant or grantee will be able to meet applicable performance 
standards and other regulatory requirements under this Part or funding 
opportunity conditions in comparison to the performance of other new 
applicants or of existing grantees providing the same types of 
services. The Secretary also gives priority to new or existing Basic 
Center Program, Transitional Living Program (including Maternity Group 
Homes), and Street Outreach Program applicants whose total grant 
requests for services to runaway or otherwise homeless youth are less 
than $200,000 and whose project budgets, considering all funding 
sources, are smaller than $200,000. These amounts are subject to 
adjustment in funding opportunity announcements as necessary to reflect 
inflation.
0
7. Revise Sec.  1351.13 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.13  What are the Federal and non-Federal match requirements 
under a Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grant?

    The Federal share of the project represents 90 percent of the total 
project cost supported by the Federal Government. The remaining 10 
percent represents the required project match

[[Page 21080]]

cost by the grantee. This may be a cash or in-kind contribution.
0
8. Revise Sec.  1351.15 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.15  What costs are supportable under a Runaway and Homeless 
Youth Program grant?

    Costs that can be supported include, but are not limited to, staff 
training and core services such as outreach, intake, case management, 
data collection, temporary shelter, transitional living arrangements, 
referral services, counseling services, and aftercare services. Costs 
for acquisition and renovation of existing structures may not normally 
exceed 15 percent of the grant award. HHS may waive this limitation 
upon written request under special circumstances based on demonstrated 
need. For grants that support research, evaluation, and service 
projects; a national communications system to assist runaway and 
homeless youth in communicating with service providers; and for 
technical assistance and training grants; costs that can be supported 
include those enumerated above as well as services such as data 
collection and analysis, telecommunications services, and preparation 
and publication of materials in support of the purposes of such grants.
0
9. Revise Sec.  1351.16 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.16  What costs are not allowable under a Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program grant?

    A Runaway and Homeless Youth Program grant does not cover the (a) 
capital costs of constructing new facilities, or (b) operating costs of 
existing community centers or other facilities that are used partially 
or incidentally for services to runaway or homeless youth clients, 
except to the extent justified by application of cost allocation 
methods accepted by HHS as reasonable and appropriate.
0
10. Revise Sec.  1351.17 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.17  How is application made for a Runaway and Homeless Youth 
Program grant?

    HHS publishes periodically over the Internet funding opportunity 
announcements of grant funds available under the Act for each type of 
local services grant, and also may publish additional announcements for 
special projects. The funding opportunity announcements state the 
amount of funds available, program priorities for funding, and criteria 
for evaluating applications in awarding grants. The announcements also 
describe specific procedures for receipt and review of applications. An 
applicant should:
    (a) Obtain a program announcement from the ACF Web site or from the 
ACYF Operations Center; and
    (b) Submit a completed application either electronically to the 
Grants.gov Web site or to the ACYF Operations Center.
0
11. Revise Sec.  1351.18 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.18  What criteria has HHS established for deciding which 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program grant applications to fund?

    In reviewing applications for a Runaway and Homeless Youth Program 
grant, HHS takes into consideration a number of factors, including:
    (a) Whether the grant application meets the particular priorities, 
requirements, standards, or evaluation criteria established in funding 
opportunity announcements;
    (b) A need for Federal support based on the likely number of 
estimated runaway or otherwise homeless youth in the area in which the 
runaway and homeless youth project is or will be located exceeding the 
availability of existing services for such youth in that area;
    (c) For runaway and homeless youth centers, whether there is a 
minimum residential capacity of four (4) and a maximum residential 
capacity of twenty (20) youth in a single structure (except where the 
applicant assures that the State where the center or locally controlled 
facility is located has a State or local law or regulation that 
requires a higher maximum to comply with licensure requirements for 
child and youth serving facilities), or within a single floor of a 
structure in the case of apartment buildings, with a number of staff 
sufficient to assure adequate supervision and treatment for the number 
of clients to be served;
    (d) Plans for meeting the best interests of the youth involving, 
when possible, both the youth and the family. The plans also must 
include methods for assuring the youth's safe return home or to local 
government officials or law enforcement officials and indicate efforts 
to provide appropriate alternative living arrangements;
    (e) Plans for the delivery of aftercare or counseling services to 
runaway or otherwise homeless youth and their families;
    (f) Whether the estimated cost to HHS for the runaway and homeless 
youth project is reasonable considering the anticipated results;
    (g) Whether the proposed personnel are well qualified and the 
applicant agency has adequate facilities and resources;
    (h) Past performance on a RHY grant, including but not limited to 
program standards;
    (i) Whether the proposed project design, if well executed, is 
capable of attaining program objectives;
    (j) The consistency of the grant application with the provisions of 
the Act and these regulations; and
    (k) Other factors as outlined in funding opportunity announcements.
0
12. Revise Sec.  1351.19 to read as follows:


Sec.  1351.19  What additional information should an applicant or 
grantee have about other Federal requirements for a Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program grant?

    (a) A number of other rules and regulations apply to applicants and 
grantees. These include:
    (1) 2 CFR Part 182--Government-wide Requirements for Drug Free 
Workplace;
    (2) 2 CFR Part 376--Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension;
    (3) 45 CFR Part 16--Procedures of the Departmental Grant Appeals 
Board;
    (4) 45 CFR Part 30--Claims Collection;
    (5) 45 CFR Part 46--Protection of Human Subjects;
    (6) 45 CFR Part 74--Uniform Administrative Requirements for 
Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit 
Organizations, and Commercial Organizations;
    (7) 45 CFR Part 80--Nondiscrimination Under Programs Receiving 
Federal Assistance Through the Department of Health and Human Services 
Effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
    (8) 45 CFR Part 81--Practice and Procedure for Hearings Under part 
80;
    (9) 45 CFR Part 84--Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in 
Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance;
    (10) 45 CFR Part 86--Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in 
Education Programs or Activities receiving Federal Financial 
Assistance;
    (11) 45 CFR Part 87--Equal Treatment for Faith Based Organizations;
    (12) 45 CFR Part 91--Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Age in 
Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance;
    (13) 45 CFR Part 92--Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants 
and Cooperative Agreements to State, Local, and Tribal Governments; and
    (14) 45 CFR Part 93--New Restrictions on Lobbying.
    (b) Several program policies regarding confidentiality of 
information, treatment, conflict of interest and State protection apply 
to recipients of

[[Page 21081]]

Runaway and Homeless Youth Program grants. These include:
    (1) Confidential information. All information including lists of 
names, addresses, photographs, and records of evaluation of individuals 
served by a runaway and homeless youth project shall be confidential 
and shall not be disclosed or transferred to any individual or to any 
public or private agency without written consent of the youth and 
family unless release of information is compelled by a court or 
statutory mandate. In such cases, the grantee is required to make 
reasonable attempts to notify the victims affected by the disclosure 
and to take steps to protect the privacy and safety of the persons 
affected by the release. Youth served by a runaway and homeless youth 
project shall have the right to review their records; to correct a 
record or file a statement of disagreement; and to be apprised of the 
individuals who have reviewed their records. Procedures shall be 
established for the training of project staff in the protection of 
these rights and for the secure storage of records.
    (2) Medical, psychiatric or psychological treatment. No youth shall 
be subject to medical, psychiatric or psychological treatment without 
the consent of the youth and family unless otherwise permitted by State 
law.
    (3) Conflict of interest. Employees or individuals participating in 
a program or project under the Act shall not use their positions for a 
purpose that is, or gives the appearance of being, motivated by a 
desire for private gain for themselves or others, particularly those 
with whom they have family, business or other ties.
    (4) State law protection. HHS policies regarding confidential 
information and experimentation and treatment shall not apply if HHS 
finds that State law is more protective of the rights of runaway or 
otherwise homeless youth.
    (5) Non-discriminatory services and training. Service delivery and 
staff training must comprehensively address the individual strengths 
and needs of youth as well as be language appropriate, gender specific 
(interventions that are sensitive to the diverse experiences of male, 
female, and transgender youth), and culturally sensitive and respectful 
of the complex social identities of youth (i.e. race, ethnicity, 
nationality, religion/spirituality, gender identity/expression, sexual 
orientation, socioeconomic status, physical ability, language, beliefs, 
values, behavior patterns, or customs).
    (c) Nothing in the Act or these regulations gives the Federal 
Government control over the staffing and personnel decisions regarding 
individuals hired by a runaway and homeless youth project receiving 
Federal funds.
0
13. Revise subpart C to read as follows:

Subpart C--Additional Requirements

Sec.
1351.20 What are the additional requirements that apply to all 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program local services grants?
1351.21 What are the additional requirements that the Basic Center 
Program grantees must meet?
1351.22 What are the additional requirements that the Transitional 
Living Program and Maternity Group Home grantees must meet?
1351.23 What are the additional requirements that the Street 
Outreach Program grantees must meet?


Sec.  1351.20  What are the additional requirements that apply to all 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program local services grants?

    This section applies to the Basic Center Program, the Transitional 
Living Program, and the Street Outreach Program. To improve the 
administration of these Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs by 
increasing the capacity of runaway and homeless youth projects to 
deliver services, by improving their performance in delivering 
services, and by providing for the evaluation of performance:
    (a) Grantees shall participate in technical assistance, monitoring, 
and short-term training as a condition of funding, as determined 
necessary by HHS, in such areas as: Aftercare services or counseling; 
background checks; core competencies of youth workers, core support 
services; crisis intervention techniques; cultural and linguistic 
diversity; development of coordinated networks of private nonprofit 
agencies and/or public agencies to provide services; ethics and staff 
safety; fiscal management; low cost community alternatives for runaway 
or otherwise homeless youth; positive youth development; program 
management; risk and protective factors related to youth homelessness; 
screening and assessment practices; shelter facility staff development; 
special populations (tribal youth; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and 
transgender youth; youth with disabilities; youth victims of 
trafficking, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse); trauma and the 
effects of trauma on youth; use of evidence-based and evidence-informed 
interventions; and youth and family counseling.
    (b) Grantees shall coordinate their activities with the 24-hour 
National toll-free and Internet communication system, which links 
runaway and homeless youth projects and other service providers with 
runaway or otherwise homeless youth, as appropriate to the specific 
activities provided by the grantee.
    (c) Grantees shall submit statistical reports profiling the clients 
served and providing management and performance information in 
accordance with guidance provided by HHS.
    (d) Grantees shall perform outreach to locate runaway and homeless 
youth and to coordinate activities with other organizations serving the 
same or similar client populations.
    (e) Grantees shall develop and implement a plan for addressing 
youth who have run away from foster care placement or correctional 
institutions, in accordance with Federal, State, or local laws that 
apply to these situations.
    (f) Grantees shall take steps to ensure that youth who are under 
the legal jurisdiction of the juvenile justice or child welfare systems 
receive services from those systems until such time as they are 
released from the jurisdiction of those systems.
    (g) Grantees shall develop and implement an aftercare plan, 
covering at least 6 months, to stay in contact with youth who leave the 
program in order to ensure their ongoing safety. A youth's individual 
aftercare plan shall outline what services were provided, including 
appropriate referrals for needed health care services, the youth's 
housing status, and the rate of participation and completion of the 
services in the plan at 3 months and at 6 months after exiting the 
program.
    (h) Grantees shall develop and implement a plan for health care 
services referrals for youth during the service and aftercare periods.
    (i) Grantees shall assist youth to stay connected with their 
schools or to obtain appropriate educational services. This includes 
coordination with McKinney-Vento school district liaisons, designated 
under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, to assure that 
runaway and homeless youth are provided information about the services 
available under that Act.
    (j) Basic Center Program, Transitional Living Program, and Street 
Outreach grantees shall develop and document plans that address steps 
to be taken in case of a local or national situation that poses risk to 
the health and safety of staff and youth. Emergency preparedness plans 
should, at a minimum, include routine preventative

[[Page 21082]]

maintenance of facilities as well as preparedness, response, and 
recovery efforts. The plan should contain strategies for addressing 
evacuation, security, food, medical supplies, and notification of 
youths' families, as appropriate. In the event of an evacuation due to 
specific facility issues, such as a fire, loss of utilities, or 
mandatory evacuation by the local authorities, an alternative location 
needs to be designated and included in the plan. Grantees must 
immediately provide notification to their project officer and grants 
officer when evacuation plans are executed.
    (k) Grantees shall ensure that all shelters that they operate are 
licensed where that is required, and determine that any shelters to 
which they regularly refer clients have evidence of current licensure 
if licensure is applicable to shelters of that type. For grantee-
operated facilities, failure to meet any applicable State or local 
legal requirements as a condition of operation may be grounds for grant 
termination.
    (l) Grantees shall conduct complete background checks on all 
employees and volunteers. Grantees shall also conduct criminal and 
child abuse checks for all host homes.
    (m) Grantees shall utilize and integrate into the operation of 
their projects the principles of positive youth development, including 
healthy messages, safe and structured places, adult role models, skill 
development, and opportunities to serve others.
    (n) Grantees shall provide such other services and meet such 
additional requirements as HHS determines are necessary to carry out 
the purposes of the statute, as appropriate to the services and 
activities for which they are funded. These services and requirements 
are articulated in the funding opportunity announcements and other 
instructions issued by the Secretary or secretarial designees. This 
includes operational instructions and standards of execution determined 
by the Secretary or secretarial designees to be necessary to properly 
perform or document meeting the requirements applicable to particular 
programs or projects.


Sec.  1351.21  What are the additional requirements that the Basic 
Center Program grantees must meet?

    (a) Grantees shall have an intake procedure that is available 24 
hours a day and 7 days a week to all youth seeking services and 
temporary shelter that addresses and responds to immediate needs for 
crisis counseling, food, clothing, shelter, and health care services.
    (b) Grantees shall provide, either directly or through 
arrangements, access to temporary shelter 24 hours a day and 7 days a 
week.
    (c) Grantees shall provide case management, counseling and referral 
services that meet client needs and that encourage, when in the best 
interests of the youth particularly with regard to safety, the 
involvement of parents or legal guardians.
    (d) Grantees shall provide additional core support services to 
clients both residentially and non-residentially as appropriate. The 
core services must include case planning, skill building, recreation 
and leisure activities, and aftercare.
    (e) Grantees shall contact the parent(s), legal guardian or other 
relatives of each client within 72 hours of the youth entering the 
program to inform them that the youth is safe. The grantee should 
determine on a case-by-case basis if it is in the best interests of the 
youth to notify the parent(s) or legal guardian of the location of the 
youth until further information has been gathered to assure safety.
    (f) Additional requirements included in the funding opportunity 
announcement (FOA).


Sec.  1351.22  What are the additional requirements that the 
Transitional Living Program and Maternity Group Home grantees must 
meet?

    (a) Grantees shall provide transitional living arrangements and 
additional core services including case planning/management, 
counseling, skill building, consumer education, referral to needed 
social and health care services, and education, recreation and leisure 
activities, aftercare and, as appropriate to grantees providing 
maternity-related services, parenting skills, child care, and child 
nutrition.
    (b) Additional requirements included in the funding opportunity 
announcement (FOA).


Sec.  1351.23  What are the additional requirements that the Street 
Outreach Program grantees must meet?

    (a) Grantees shall provide services that are designed to assist 
clients in leaving the streets, making healthy choices, and building 
trusting relationships in areas where targeted youth congregate.
    (b) Grantees shall directly or by referral provide treatment, 
counseling, prevention, and education services to clients as well as 
referral for emergency shelter.
    (c) Additional requirements included in the funding opportunity 
announcement (FOA).
0
14. Add Subpart D to read as follows:

Subpart D--What Are the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program-Specific 
Standards?

Sec.
1351.30 What performance standards must Basic Center grantees meet?
1351.31 What performance standards must Transitional Living Programs 
(TLP), including Maternity Group Homes (MGH), meet?
1351.32 What performance standards must Street Outreach Programs 
(SOP) meet?
1351.33 How and when will performance standards for the Runaway and 
Homeless Youth Program be revised?
1351.34 When are program-specific requirements effective?


Sec.  1351.30  What performance standards must Basic Center grantees 
meet?

    What are the minimum performance standards that Basic Center 
grantees must achieve to receive and maintain funding?
    (a) Grantees must contact the parent(s), legal guardian or other 
relatives of each client within 72 hours of the youth entering the 
program to inform them that the youth is safe. The grantee should 
determine on a case-by-case basis if it is in the best interests of the 
youth to notify the parent(s) or legal guardian of the location of the 
youth until further information has been gathered to assure safety.
    (b) Grantees shall maintain at 90 percent or higher the proportion 
of youth transitioning to safe and appropriate settings when exiting 
Basic Center Program services.
    (c) Grantees shall ensure that youth receive counseling services 
that match the individual needs of each participant. Data shall be 
reported by each grantee on the type of counseling each youth received 
(individual, family and/or group counseling), the participation rate 
based on a youth's service plan or treatment plan, and the completion 
rate based on a youth's service plan or treatment plan, where 
applicable.
    (d) Grantees that choose to provide street-based services, home-
based services, drug and/or alcohol abuse education and prevention 
services, and/or testing for sexually transmitted diseases (at the 
request of the youth) shall ensure youth receive the appropriate 
services. Data shall be reported on the completion rate for each 
service provided based on the youth's service or treatment plan.


Sec.  1351.31  What performance standards must Transitional Living 
Programs (TLP), including Maternity Group Homes (MGH), meet?

    What are the minimum performance standards that TLP and MGH 
grantees

[[Page 21083]]

must achieve to receive and maintain funding?
    (a) Grantees shall maintain at 90 percent or higher the proportion 
of youth transitioning to safe and appropriate settings when exiting 
Transitional Living Program services.
    (b) Grantees shall maintain at 45 percent or higher the proportion 
of youth who are engaged in community service and service learning 
activities while in the program.
    (c) Grantees shall ensure youth are engaged in educational 
advancement, job attainment skills or work activities while in the 
program.
    (d) Grantees shall ensure and report that youth receive health care 
services as determined within their health care referral plan.
    (e) MGH grantees shall ensure and report that youth receive 
consistent pre-natal care, well-baby exams, and immunizations for the 
infant while in the program.


Sec.  1351.32  What performance standards must Street Outreach Programs 
(SOP) meet?

    What are the minimum performance standards that SOP grantees must 
achieve to receive and maintain funding? Grantees shall contact youth 
who are or who are at risk of homeless or runaway status on the 
streets, in numbers that are reasonably attainable for the staff size 
of the project. Grantees with larger staffs will be expected to contact 
larger numbers of youth in approximate proportion, as determined by 
HHS, to the larger number of staff available to provide this service.


Sec.  1351.33  How and when will performance standards for the Runaway 
and Homeless Youth Program be revised?

    (a) Current and future performance standards for grantees will be 
related to one or more of the following four core outcomes:
    (1) Social and Emotional Well-being;
    (2) Permanent Connections;
    (3) Education or Employment; and/or
    (4) Stable Housing.
    (b) The Secretary may, based upon available program data, add, 
amend, or suspend benchmark levels for current and future performance 
standards for grantees. The specific benchmark levels in Sec. Sec.  
1351.30, 1351.31, and 1351.32 may be amended per this section.
    (c) The Secretary may, based upon available program data, add, 
amend or suspend performance standards for grantees that relate to one 
or more of the four core outcomes in paragraph (a) of this section.
    (d) Notification to grantees shall be given in advance of any 
revision to either program standards or benchmark levels through a 
public notification mechanism such as a funding opportunity 
announcement, policy guidance or other appropriate mechanism.


Sec.  1351.34  When are program-specific requirements effective?

    Grantees shall meet program specific requirements as applicable 
upon the effective date of those requirements, or starting at the 
beginning of the next budget period for the grant, whichever comes 
later.

[FR Doc. 2014-08178 Filed 4-10-14; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 4184-01-P