Can organizations partner to apply for the award with a prime grantee coming in with a second organization to support them?
Applicants must designate a primary applicant organization for the award; however, applicants can partner with other organizations on the award through agreements, subcontracts, letters or support, or MOUs. Please note that multiple applications from an organization are not allowable; and the primary applicant must meet program eligibility criteria. Only one entity per state will be chosen. Please note the partnership and organizational capacity requirements in the NOFO as they outline the recommended and required partnerships and the attachments that should be submitted with the application.
What if we do not have a connection to the state Title V agency, will we still be considered?
Eligible entities for this funding opportunity include: domestic public or private entities, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, and faith-based and community organizations. Applications that meet eligibility requirements and other programmatic requirements outlined in the NOFO will be eligible for the objective review process, which considers the review criteria as outlined in the NOFO. Please carefully review the organizational capacity and partnership expectations outlined in the announcement. HRSA expects that applicants representing state MCH agencies, or applicants with strong partnerships with such agencies, will be best positioned for success in achieving program goals. If the state’s Title V MCH services agency is not the lead applicant for your proposal, provide an MOU or similar written agreement with the lead Title V agency and describe how you will partner with the Title V MCH Block Grant Program.
Are you looking for applicants within states or national organizations? What about community level applicants?
As outlined in the NOFO, HRSA expects that applicants representing state MCH agencies, or applicants with strong partnerships with such agencies, will be best positioned for success in achieving program goals. While all entities meeting the eligibility criteria are eligible to apply only one entity per state will be chosen for this program. Please note that a goal of the program is to increase state-level infrastructure and capacity and strengthen statewide maternal and early childhood systems of care.
Are there any priority points awarded for this funding opportunity?
There are no priority points as part of this funding opportunity.
Do applicants need to address all of the objectives listed in the NOFO or only one or some of the objectives?
HRSA expects that recipients pursue all core program objectives over the course of the project period.
Please define “family leader” and how a family leader may be chosen (i.e. qualifications, background etc.).
The Family Leader position is expected to contribute to the planning and implementation of the project and support family engagement. This individual may work in partnership with the ECCS Lead to provide family and caregiver leadership and guidance, and should advance family leadership across the system. Please see program expectations and review criteria in the NOFO for more information about expectations for the Family Leader position. HRSA also encourages recipients to support meaningful and equitable engagement of and partnership with families and community representatives in state-level decision-making.
Are the two positions listed the only positions that can be supported by the ECCS. Can we include program support staff?
Other positions may be supported as well. The positions listed in the NOFO are strongly recommended, with recommendations regarding qualifications and capacity included in the NOFO. Please also note that the FTE level for the ECCS Lead is recommended at 1.0, and there is not a specific FTE requirement for the Family Leader listed in the NOFO.
Can an interim ECCS Lead be hired while a more permanent candidate is being recruited and hired?
The NOFO does not provide any restrictions regarding the temporary hiring of recommended staff. However, it is recommended that the ECCS Lead position be filled as soon as feasible upon award and in accordance with the organizational capacity and staffing guidance outlined in the NOFO. Position descriptions and a staffing plan are required as part of your application.
Is the workplan that is required within the application for one year or the full five years?
The workplan should include goals and activities for the entire five years of the project.
Do all of the activities have to be new activities or may they include activities to build upon that are currently being explored or implemented?
Recipients’ activities should leverage and be closely coordinated with current state (and community) maternal and early childhood systems efforts. There is not a requirement that activities be new; activities are encouraged to build upon those currently being explored or implemented. For example, the ECCS asset and gap analysis should build upon and coordinate with existing state-level needs assessments to avoid duplication of efforts and strengthen integration. Similarly, existing state cross-sector advisory bodies and other aligned cross-sector initiatives may be leveraged. HRSA recognizes that states’ maternal and early childhood systems may range in capacity, readiness, and maturity. Successful proposals should reflect needs, capacities, and activities that are feasible and will yield significant improvements in the state’s current system. HRSA anticipates that some states will require more significant planning, partnership development and analysis, while others will be positioned to implement and spread strategies earlier in the period of performance.
Could our proposal include the funding of positions to conduct outreach in the community, or staffing at a centralized access point to expand the coordinated intake and referral system?
HRSA recognizes such a position may represent needed systems capacity. There is nothing specifically restricting these activities, per the requirements outlined in the NOFO. At the same time please note the core program goals and objectives are around achieving sustainable maternal and early childhood systems, including making progress in financing and policy development to support enabling services. Oftentimes, community-level cross-sector initiatives are disconnected from state-level planning bodies and lack the infrastructure necessary for sustainability and spread. For this reason, HRSA is focusing this initiative on building state-level capacity to leverage and coordinate with these assets and opportunities. State systems coordination, policy and financing development are necessary to accelerate and sustain community-level early childhood systems. HRSA would encourage you to review the NOFO guidance, including the review criteria which considers the following:
- The feasibility of the plan to achieve core program goals and objectives outlined in the Purpose section.
- The likelihood of program sustainability beyond the federal funding.
Please clarify the age range of the P-3 population for this NOFO. Is it inclusive of children age 3 and older?
Children prenatal to age three is defined as children up to one day before their third birthday (0-35 mos.) Please note that this NOFO defines the P-3 population as inclusive of families, including pregnant and parenting individuals, and the providers and systems that serve them (as per NOFO glossary).
Community and Place-Based Activities
Do we have to identify place-based communities and provide funds to them?
This ECCS program is a state systems and infrastructure focused program. This iteration of the program prioritizes the State systems coordination, policy and financing development that is necessary to accelerate and sustain community level early childhood systems and does not require identification and funding of PBCs.
HRSA does expect recipients to integrate community input into the planning and design of program activities; to have family and community partner representation as part of the advisory bodies; to promote communication and information-sharing across state and local levels; and to partner closely with community level efforts and family leaders. If recipients have the capacity and resources to do so, they may also advance early childhood leadership development at community levels and this can include funds to PBCs. Furthermore, recipients are strongly encouraged to develop strategic goals driven by specific community-defined priorities and input.
Are we able to continue the current ECCS work we are doing and still partner with our current PBCs?
The ECCS HIP-3 program is a new award and has specific requirements that differ from the required activities of the ECCS Impact program. While you are encouraged to leverage the progress, capacity and learnings of current ECCS this program is not a direct continuation of the current program and you are expected to achieve goals and objectives as outlined in the NOFO.
Technical Assistance Provision
What activities will be required related to the ECCS TA Center?
As noted on pp. 5-6 of the NOFO, awardee responsibilities include and are not limited to:
- Working to refine data and reporting plans and to ensure alignment with existing early childhood system data, overall ECCS program goals, and the ECCS performance measurement approach;
- Collaborating on program evaluation and CQI efforts, including responding to surveys, participating in interviews, and providing other reports upon request;
- Participating in regular calls, peer networking platforms, face to face and virtual meetings, and other TA opportunities in support of achievement of program goals.
The ECCS Lead (a key staff position) should also be poised to engage with the TA Center in communities of practice and other shared learning and TA opportunities. Note attendance at an annual in person meeting outlined under awardee responsibilities.
Data Collection and Evaluation
Is an evaluation of the program required?
HRSA does not require a formal evaluation of each awardee’s project. However, recipients must gather, track, and report data regarding project progress and outcomes as a routine part of their ECCS project. HRSA expects that such activities will support the culture of shared learning and measurement across partners, quality improvement efforts, and performance reporting to HRSA if that is both feasible and actionable. Recipients are required to collect and report information related to: required HRSA Discretionary Grant Information System (DGIS) forms (as listed in the NOFO), outcomes associated with core program objectives, and customized process and outcome measures, including relevant systems indicators. Recipients will receive support from the ECCS TA Center after award to support measurement and reporting activities.
What information should applicants include in Attachment 6: Project Performance and Outcome Measures?
Information included in Attachment 6 should align with the response provided in the Project Narrative. Narratives should respond to the requirements outlined in the NOFO on pages 20-22 (Narrative Section: Evaluation and Technical Support Capacity) and describe an overall strategy to monitor and evaluate project performance, including reporting on required data elements, which should include an overview of expected data sources and established instruments that may be used for program monitoring and evaluation (to the extent these are known). You may use Attachment 6 to provide a preliminary, compiled list of all planned process and outcome measures, including any anticipated custom measures. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to refine these measures and their monitoring and evaluation strategy upon award.