[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 155 (Monday, August 14, 2017)]
[Pages 37861-37864]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-17099]



Administration for Children and Families

[CFDA Numbers: 93.581, 93.587, 93.612]

Request for Public Comment on the Proposed Adoption of 
Administration for Native Americans Program Policies and Procedures

AGENCY: Administration for Native Americans, ACF, HHS.

ACTION: Notice for public comment.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to Section 814 of the Native American Programs Act of 
1974 (NAPA), as amended, the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) 
is required to provide members of the public an opportunity to comment 
on proposed changes in interpretive rules and general statements of 
policy and to give notice of the final adoption of such changes no less 
than 30 days before such changes become effective. In accordance with 
notice requirements of NAPA, ANA herein describes proposed interpretive 
rules and general statements of policy that relate to ANA's funding 
opportunities beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Changes to FY 2018 
Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) will be based on the following 
previously published programs: Environmental Regulatory Enhancement 
(ERE) HHS-2017-ACF-ANA-NR-1221, Native American Language Preservation 
and Maintenance-Esther Martinez Immersion (EMI) HHS-2017-ACF-ANA-NB-
1226, Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance (P&M) HHS-
2017-ACF-ANA-NL-1235, Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) 
HHS-2017-ACF-ANA-NA-1236, Social and Economic Development Strategies-
Alaska (SEDS-AK) HHS-2015-ACF-ANA-NK-0960,

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and Native Youth Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and 
Development (ILEAD) HHS-2017-ACF-ANA-NC-1263. This notice of public 
comment also provides additional information about ANA's plan for 
administering grant programs.

DATES: The deadline for receipt of comments is 30 days from the date of 
publication in the Federal Register. No FOA will be published prior to 
30 days from publication of this Notice.

ADDRESSES: Comments in response to this notice should be addressed to 
Carmelia Strickland, Director of Program Operations, Administration for 
Native Americans, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20201. Delays may 
occur in mail delivery to federal offices; therefore, a copy of 
comments should be emailed to [email protected]. Comments will be 
available for inspection by members of the public at the Administration 
for Native Americans, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20201.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 814 of NAPA, as amended, 
incorporates provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) that 
require ANA to provide notice of its proposed interpretive rules and 
statements of policy and to seek public comment on such proposals. This 
notice serves to fulfill the statutory notice and public comment 
requirement. ANA has also chosen to provide notice of its proposed 
rules of agency practice and procedure. The proposed interpretive 
rules, statements of policy, and rules of ANA practice and procedure 
reflected in clarifications, modifications, and new text will appear in 
the six FY 2018 FOAs: Environmental Regulatory Enhancement (ERE), 
Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance-Esther Martinez 
Immersion (EMI), Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance 
(P&M), Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS), Social and 
Economic Development Strategies-Alaska (SEDS-AK), and Native Youth 
Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (ILEAD). This 
notice also reflects ANA's elimination of the Sustainable Employment 
and Economic Strategies (SEEDS) FOA.
    For information on the types of projects funded by ANA, please 
refer to the following for information on current and previously funded 
ANA grants at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ana/grants.
    Pre-publication information on ANA's FOAs is available at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html by clicking on 
`Forecasted' under Opportunity Status and `Administration for Children 
and Families--ANA [HHS-ACF-ANA]' on the left side of the page. ANA's 
FOAs can be accessed at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/office/ana or http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/. Synopses and 
application forms will be available on https://www.grants.gov/.
    A. Interpretive rules, statements of policy, procedures, and 
practice. The proposals below reflect ANA's proposed changes in rules, 
policy, or procedure which will take effect in the FY 2018 FOAs.
    1. Application periods. ANA proposes to provide an open application 
period of no less than 90 days to respond to FOAs. ANA is increasing 
the open application period to provide applicants with additional time 
to review proposed changes that are actualized in the FY 2018 FOAs, and 
to develop their applications according to FOA requirements. ANA 
intends to maintain the 90 day open application period for subsequent 
    2. Two-File Upload Requirement. ANA proposes to include the grant 
application submission requirement established by the Administration 
for Children and Families (ACF), which specifies ``applicants 
submitting their applications electronically are required to upload 
only two electronic files. No more than two files will be accepted for 
the review and additional files will be removed. Standard Forms will 
not be considered as additional files.'' ANA requested to deviate from 
this policy in order to provide rural communities and lower capacity 
organizations an opportunity to adjust to any technological, or 
bandwidth requirements that go along with transfer and upload of large 
files. The policy has now been in existence for several years for other 
ACF Programs, therefore ANA will no longer request a deviation from 
this standard ACF policy.
    3. Reduced project period for ILEAD. ANA proposes to maintain the 
reduced maximum project period for awards made under the ILEAD FOA from 
four years (four 12- month budget periods) to three years (three 12-
month budget periods). The reduced project period was made in FY 2017 
FOAs to align the program with ANA's Social and Economic Development 
Strategies (SEDS) program, which is published under the same CFDA 
number as ILEAD.
    4. FY 2018 FOA--Project Description. ANA proposes to modify the 
information requested in the project description for FY 2018 
application submissions. Modifications are being proposed to reflect a 
shift away from a deficit approach, towards a strength-based approach 
to defining projects and addressing long-term community goals, and to 
align the application request for information with common terminology 
related to program evaluation. The following is applicable to project 
description requests, and evaluation criterion for all ANA FOAs 
published beginning in FY 2018:
    (a) ANA will no longer require the ``Problem Statement'' or include 
the section titled ``Objectives and Need for Assistance''. Instead, ANA 
proposes to focus on long term community goals, the community 
condition, and how the project outcomes relate to the community 
condition. Information will be requested under the Expected Outcomes 
section of the Project Description request.
    (b) To shift terms included in the FOA towards commonly used 
evaluation terminology, objectives will no longer be referred to as 
Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). 
ANA proposes to define objectives with population, targets, indicators, 
and timelines. In addition the terms ``results'' and ``benefits'' will 
be replaced with ``outcomes'' and ``outputs.''
    (c) ANA proposes to require information that addresses elements of 
a ``Project Framework''. The project framework will include the 
following elements: Long-term community goal, current community 
condition, outcomes; project goal, objectives, indicators, and outputs. 
The project framework includes elements previously requested in ANA 
FOAs, in combination with new elements, to fully identify the project 
in relation to overall community goals; identify project outcomes 
related to the enhancement of a current community condition; and 
establish a framework for monitoring changes and identifying tangible 
results from the project.
    (d) ANA will no longer require the identification of impact or an 
impact indicator; instead, ANA proposes the requirement of an outcome 
tracking strategy. The outcome tracking strategy will require 
applicants to identify an indicator and outcome for each objective; a 
means for measuring change to the indicator, which includes data points 
and establishes targets to be met throughout project implementation; 
and a list of project outputs related to each project objective. Within 
the FY 2018

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FOAs, ANA intends to include a suggested format for organizing the 
information included in the outcome tracking strategy, similar to the 
suggestion included in the FY 2017 FOAs for organizing impact 
    (e) To prioritize community based projects, ANA proposes to require 
information to identify a community-based strategy for project 
implementation. The requirement will include information to describe 
how the proposed project relates to community based priorities, how the 
community was involved in project development, and how the community 
will be involved in implementation and sustainability.
    (f) The ANA Objective Work Plan (OWP) [current OMB form 0970-0452] 
will be modified. The terms ``results'' and ``benefits'' will no longer 
be used; instead, applicants will be required to identify outcomes and 
outputs. Key project activities will be included separately from 
administrative activities. Requirements for key activities will include 
alignment to outputs that are created by project implementation and a 
maximum of 25 key activities per objective during each year of 
    (a) To accommodate modifications to ANA's application information 
request, ANA proposes the following evaluation criteria headings and 
scoring values: Outcomes Expected (0-25 points), Outcome Tracking 
Strategy (0-10 points), Approach (0-25 points), Organizational Capacity 
(0-15 points), OWP (0-15 points), and Budget (0-10 points).
    (b) A scoring table will be included in all FOAs to provide 
additional guidance to panel reviewers regarding the allocation of 
points in relation to the quality of information provided in the 
    5. ANA Administrative Policies. The following modifications are 
applicable to the ANA Administrative Policies included in all FY 2018 
    (a) ANA proposes to add an administrative policy to prioritize the 
award of funds to applicant organizations that are local, community 
based organizations. In the case of national, regional, or non-local 
based organizations, ANA may provide support to organizations that have 
provided information to justify they are the appropriate applicant 
organization to administer the proposed project in support of the 
community and project beneficiaries being served. The policy is 
proposed as follows:

    Prioritized Funding for Local, Native American Community Based 
    ANA reserves the right to prioritize funding to local Native 
American community-based organizations serving their local 
communities and populations. Applications from national and regional 
organizations that propose projects that are performed in a 
different geographic location must clearly demonstrate how the 
target community was selected. They must also demonstrate a need for 
the project, explain how the project originated, discuss the 
community-based delivery strategy of the project, identify and 
describe the intended beneficiaries, describe and relate the actual 
project benefits to the community and organization, and describe a 
community-based delivery system. National and regional organizations 
must describe their membership, define how the organization operates 
and demonstrate Native community and/or Tribal government 
involvement in the development of the project and support for the 
project. The type of community to be served will determine the type 
of documentation necessary to support the project.

    This proposed administrative policy is based on the priority for 
self-sufficiency for Native American communities, and follows the 
premise that self-sufficiency is best obtained when local organizations 
are leading efforts to achieve community goals. The policy will state 
ANA's priority for community local, community based organizations, and 
describe information requirements for national, regional, or non-local 
based organizations.
    (b) Limitation on Number of Awards Based on Two Consecutively 
Funded Projects: ANA proposes to edit language for this policy to 
clarify that a no cost extension (NCE) will be included as a period of 
project implementation, towards consecutively funded projects. The 
policy is proposed as follows:

    Limitation on Number of Awards Based on Two Consecutively Funded 
    ANA will maximize the reach of its limited funding. Therefore, 
applicants that have implemented at least two consecutive projects 
within one CFDA number may not be funded for a third consecutive 
project within the same CFDA number if other applicants who have not 
received ANA funding in the past 3 years are within the scoring 
range to be funded. Project implementation periods are comprised of 
newly awarded first year project periods, Non Competing Continuation 
(NCC) periods, and any No Cost Extensions (NCE) periods.

    Therefore grantees that have been approved for a NCE must complete 
a year after the end of the NCE period without implementing an ANA 
project under the same CFDA number before they are considered to be 
exempt from this policy. This specific issue has raised several 
questions during the implementation period for ANA projects. Editing 
the policy is meant to clarify its application prior to the start of an 
    6. Ineligible Activities. ANA proposes to revise language 
describing ineligible third party training and technical assistance, 
which is included in the list of Projects Ineligible for Funding in all 
FY 2018 FOAs. The revision will remove the statement that describes 
third party training and technical assistance as activities that 
duplicate training and technical assistance provided by ANA T/TA 
providers, and the language will directly align the ineligible activity 
with language in Subchapter D--The Administration for Native Americans, 
Native American programs, 45 CFR 1336.33(b).
    Ineligible Third Party Training and Technical Assistance activities 
will be stated in the FOAs as follows:

    Projects for which a grantee will provide training and technical 
assistance to other tribes or Native American organizations or to 
non-members of the grantee organization (third party training or 
technical assistance).

    7. Disqualification Factors. ANA proposes the following edits to 
the ANA Disqualification Factors included in all FY 2018 FOAs:
    (a) ANA will include language to clarify that Tribal Colleges and 
public agencies serving native peoples from Guam, American Samoa, or 
the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, are required to 
submit Assurance of Community Representation and Governing Body 
Documentation from the governing body of the Tribal College. 
Documentation from the governing body of the Tribe will not fulfill the 
requirements for this documentation. This clarification is proposed to 
reduce the number of applications that are disqualified due to 
misunderstanding the requirements.
    (b) ANA will revise the categories for community representation, as 
described under the Assurance of Community Representation on Board of 
Directors. ANA proposes to remove the second category of affiliation/
relationship to the community being served. This category was listed 
as: ``persons eligible to be a participant in, or beneficiary of the 
project.'' The Assurance of Community Representation is included to 
ensure ANA funds are awarded to organizations that directly represent 
the Native American community that will be served (See 45 CFR 1336.33). 
However, ANA does not limit project participants or beneficiaries to 
individuals that represent the community being served. Therefore ANA 
has determined that the inclusion of this category does not support the 
intention of this policy.

[[Page 37864]]

    The revised policy is proposed as follows:

    Assurance of Community Representation on Board of Directors
    Applicants other than tribes or Alaska Native Villages applying 
for funding must show that a majority of board members are 
representative of a Native American community to be served. 
Applicants must submit documentation that identifies each board 
member by name and indicates his/her affiliation or relationship to 
at least one of ANA's three categories of community representation, 
which include: (1) Members of federally or state-recognized tribes; 
(2) persons who are recognized by members of the eligible Native 
American community to be served as having a cultural relationship 
with that community; or (3) persons considered to be Native American 
as defined in 45 CFR 1336.10 and Native American Pacific Islanders 
as defined in Section 815 of the Native American Programs Act. 
Applicants that do not include this documentation will be considered 
non-responsive, and the application will not be considered for 
competition. See Section IV.2. Project Description, Additional 
Eligibility Documentation.
    Public agencies serving native peoples from Guam, American 
Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and 
Tribal Colleges governed by a board that is separate from the 
governing body of a tribe, must include Assurance of Community 
Representation from the governing body of the Tribal College, and 
not from the governing body of the Tribe. If the documentation is 
not included by the submission deadline, the application will be 
considered unresponsive and will be disqualified from the 

    8. Review and Selection Process. ANA will modify the implementation 
of the Review and Selection process, as stated in all FY 2018 FOAs as 
    (a) ANA's commissioner has the discretion to make all final funding 
decisions. In exercising this discretion, the commissioner includes a 
list in Section V.2. Review and Selection Process of projects that may 
not be chosen for funding. For the FY 2018 FOAs, ANA proposes the 
     Projects that have not demonstrated a community-based 
strategy as described in Section I. Program Description, Key Project 
     Projects proposed by national, regional, and non-local 
organization that have not justified their position as the best 
applicant organization to address long term community goals for a local 
community. Please see Section I. Administrative Policies, Prioritized 
Funding for Local, Native American Community Based Organizations.
     Projects proposing activities that were previously 
implemented without Federal Assistance.
    Because ANA funding is limited, ANA proposes adding these items to 
the list in order to align with new language emphasizing community-
based strategies, and to highlight the priority for funding these 
projects. ANA also wants to ensure that its limited funding is being 
used for projects that are not able to secure other sources of funding 
for activities that were being previously implemented without support 
from the Federal Government.
     Projects that provide couples or family counseling 
activities that are medically-based.
    ANA has stated in other administrative policies that it will not 
fund human research, or projects that may cause unintended harm to 
project participants. Outside of these limitations, and in an effort to 
support the Native American community's ability to determine if these 
activities are actually beneficially to achievement of their long-term 
goals, ANA will no longer limit the proposal of projects that include 
medically-based couples or family counseling activities.
    9. Native American Preservation and Maintenance Program. The 
following modifications are being proposed to the ``Native American 
Languages Preservation and Maintenance,'' and ``Native American 
Languages Preservation and Maintenance Esther Martinez Immersion'' FOAs 
    (a) ANA proposes the identification of language specific outcomes 
that relate to one of the following categories: Language fluency, 
increased community member use of language learning resources; 
certified language teachers; or increased capacity to implement a 
language program. The categories are being proposed in order to further 
define the outcomes for ANA language projects, and to support the 
monitoring and evaluation of ANA's language and preservation program.
    (b) ANA will include language in the FY 2018 FOAs to restate 
application requirements included in Section 803C(c)(5-6) of the Native 
American Programs Act (NAPA) of 1974. The requirements are as follows:

    (5) if appropriate, an identification of opportunities for the 
replication of such project or the modification of such project for 
use by other Native Americans; and
    (6) a plan for the preservation of the products of the Native 
American language project for the benefit of future generations of 
Native Americans and other interested persons''
    This language will be added directly as stated in ANA's 
authorizing legislation to ensure that applications meet the 
requirements of NAPA.

    Statutory Authority:  Section 814 of the Native American 
Programs Act of 1974 (NAPA), as amended.

Kimberly Romaine,
Deputy Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans.
[FR Doc. 2017-17099 Filed 8-11-17; 8:45 am]