[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 244 (Thursday, December 19, 2013)]
[Pages 76834-76836]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-30192]



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, general statements of 
policy, and rules of agency procedure or practice that affect programs, 
projects, and activities authorized under the NAPA, and to give notice 
of the final adoption of such changes at least 30 days before the 
changes become effective. In accordance with notice requirements of 
NAPA, ANA herein describes its proposed interpretive rules, general 
statements of policy, and rules of agency procedure or practice as they 
relate to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcements 
(FOA) for the following programs: (1) Social and Economic Development 
Strategies (hereinafter referred to as SEDS), HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NA-0776; 
(2) Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategies 
(hereinafter referred to as SEEDS), HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NE-0779; (3) 
Native Language Preservation and Maintenance (hereinafter referred to 
as Language Preservation), HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NL-0778; (4) Native 
Language Preservation and Maintenance--Esther Martinez Immersion 
(hereinafter referred to as Language--EMI), HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NA-0780; 
and (5) Environmental Regulatory Enhancement (hereinafter referred to 
as ERE), HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NR-0777.

DATES: Submit written or electronic comments on this Notice, on or 
before January 21, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Send comments in response to this notice via email to 
Lillian A. Sparks, Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans, 
at [email protected]. Comments will be available for 
inspection by members of the public at the Administration for Native 
Americans, 901 D Street SW., Washington, DC 20447.

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

    A. Name Change of one FOA: ANA proposes to change the name of the 
program titled ``Native American Language Preservation and 
Maintenance--Esther Martinez Initiative'' (HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NL-0780) to 
``Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance--Esther 
Martinez Immersion.'' The FOA will retain the same acronym ``EMI.'' 
This proposed change is to address the fact that EMI is no longer a 
temporary initiative, but an ongoing program in which immersion is a 
key goal.
    B. Administrative Policies: ANA proposes to clarify the conflict of 
interest standards published in the 2013 FOAs [announced in 78 FR 
13062-13067] to ensure it aligns with the rule at 45 CFR 1336.50(f), 
which authorizes the Office of Chief Executive of a federally-
recognized Indian tribal government to be paid salary and expenses with 
ANA grant funds, provided such costs are related to a project funded 
under ANA FOAs and that the costs exclude any portion of salaries and 
expenses that are a cost of general government. Given this rule 
regarding the allowable use of grant funds, we propose a limited 
exception to previously published conflict of interest standards which 
did not include the regulatory exception applicable to the Chief 
Executive of federally recognized Indian tribes.

Conflict of Interest Standards

    Under the standard terms and conditions for discretionary HHS 
awards (Grants Policy Statement, page II-7 at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/terms-and-conditions), grant recipients are 
required to establish safeguards to prevent employees, consultants, 
members of governing bodies and others who may be involved in grant-
supported activities from using their positions for purposes that 
are, or give the appearance of being, motivated by a desire for 
private financial gain for themselves or others, such as those with 
whom they have family, business, or other ties. Therefore, with one 
exception, staff employed through an ANA-funded project cannot also 
serve as a member of the governing body for the

[[Page 76835]]

applicant organization. Under the exception, as authorized by 45 CFR 
1336.50(f), the Chief Executive of a federally-recognized Indian 
tribal government may be paid salary and expenses with ANA grant 
funds, provided such costs are not a cost of general government and 
are related to the ANA-funded project.
    During the award negotiation phase, ANA will ask the prospective 
recipient to modify project personnel if a proposed staff member is 
also a member of the applicant organization's governing body. In 
addition, there should be a separation of duties between staff and 
the governing body within an organization to ensure the integrity of 
internal controls and to minimize disruptions in the continuity of 

    C. Federal Evaluation: ANA proposes to include the following 
language in Section I. Funding Opportunity Description in FY14 FOAs for 
the programs listed in the summary section above, with the exception of 
the SEEDS FOA, HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NE-0779. The SEEDS FOA will retain the 
same federal evaluation requirements as published in the FY13 SEEDS 
FOA, HHS-2013-ACF-ANA-NE-0588, available under ``Prior Year Funding 
Opportunities'' at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/.
    ANA is required by statute to evaluate the impact of its funding. 
To fulfill this requirement, ANA will implement a federally-sponsored 
evaluation strategy to assess the success and impact of approved 
projects. The federal evaluation strategy will include grantee-level 
documentation. In accepting a grant award, all grantees agree to 
participate fully in the federal evaluation if selected, and to follow 
all evaluation protocols established by ANA or its designee contractor.
    D. Name Change of one Disqualification Factor: ANA proposes to 
change the name of the disqualification factor titled ``Board 
Documentation'' to ``Assurance of Community Representation on Board of 
Directors,'' which will appear in all FY14 ANA FOAs in order to further 
clarify what is being requested of applicants regarding demonstration 
of community representation. The content of this requirement will not 
change, and it will not apply to tribes or Native Alaska villages. All 
application disqualification factors will appear in Section III.3. 
Other of the FOAs.
    E. Projects Ineligible for Funding: ANA proposes revising language 
in this section of Section III.3. Other to provide clarification on 
three of the types of projects that ANA will not fund under regulations 
at 45 CFR 1336.33(b), as follows:
    1. Projects for which a grantee purchases from a third party 
training and technical assistance (third party T/TA) that is intended 
to be provided to other tribes or Native American organizations or to 
non-members of the grantee organization or where such training or 
technical assistance is duplicative of ANA funded training and 
technical assistance available to tribes and other entities that are 
eligible to apply for ANA funding. This does not apply to `train-the-
trainer' capacity building projects.
    2. The support of ongoing social service delivery programs or the 
expansion, or continuation, of existing social service delivery 
programs. This means that ANA will not fund projects that provide or 
expand ongoing services that involve cash transfers or other material 
assistance such as food, medicine, child care, or income support to 
    3. Projects from consortia of tribes that do not include 
documentation from each participating consortium member specifying 
their role and support. Projects from consortia must have goals and 
objectives that will encompass the participating communities. ANA will 
not fund projects by a consortium of tribes that duplicate activities 
for which participating member tribes also receive funding from ANA.
    F. Community Involvement: ANA proposes language in Section IV.2 The 
Project Description and Section V.1 Criteria to clarify that community 
involvement in the development of the project is required as well as 
community involvement in the implementation of the project.
    G. Page Limits for SEEDS Applications: ANA proposes to change the 
maximum page limit for applications submitted in response to the FY2014 
SEEDS FOA (HHS-2014-ACF-ANA-NE-0779) from 200 pages to 150 pages. This 
page limit excludes required Standard Forms (SFs) and OMB-approved 
forms, including ANA's Objective Work Plan (OWP). The change makes the 
150 page limit consistent with in all ANA FOAs. Applications that 
exceed the page limit will have excess pages removed.
    H. Two-File Upload Requirement: For FY13, ACF introduced a required 
two-file format for electronically submitted applications. In order to 
reduce the technical burden on such applicants and to ensure that a 
lack of technical resources not otherwise required of applicants does 
not unintentionally act to disqualify an otherwise eligible applicant 
from applying under ANA FOAs. Applicants submitting their applications 
electronically under ANA FOAs are exempt from the two-file format 
requirement. Formatting instructions will be provided in all ANA FOAs 
in Section IV.2. Form and Content of Application Submission. Formatting 
and page limitation instructions must be followed or applicants risk 
having excess pages removed from their applications.
    I. Outcomes Expected for SEEDS Applications: ANA proposes to 
require all SEEDS applicants to address two program-wide performance 
outcomes including full-time equivalent (FTE) positions and the number 
of Native Americans employed by the funded project. The other three 
program-wide performance outcomes must be addressed only if they are 
applicable. Under the FY2013 SEEDS FOA, applicants were required to 
address 1 of the 5 SEEDS specific outcomes.
    J. Protection of Sensitive and/or Confidential Information: ANA 
proposes to add the following requirement to applications submitted 
under all FY14 FOAs in order to ensure the protection of confidential 
and/or sensitive information:

    If any confidential or sensitive information will be collected 
during the course of the project, whether from staff (e.g., 
background investigations) or project participants, and/or project 
beneficiaries, provide a description of the methods that will be 
used to ensure that confidential and/or sensitive information is 
properly handled and safeguarded. Also provide a plan for the 
disposition of such information at the end of the project period.

    K. ANA Application Evaluation Criteria: The following changes will 
appear in Section V.I Criteria of the FY 14 FOAs:
    1. Changes to Criteria: ANA proposes to move the concept 
articulated previously in the `Project Integration' evaluation 
criterion and address the substance of such criterion under the OWP. 
The evaluation criterion appears in the FOAs at Section V.I Application 
Review Information, Criteria. Consequently, the OWP will be moved from 
the `Approach' criterion and will be evaluated using a stand-alone 
evaluation criterion. No additional requirements will be added to the 
OWP or to any other component of the FOA as a result of this change. 
The OMB-approved OWP information collection requires project goals, 
objectives, results expected, benefits expected, and activities to be 
addressed. This change is being proposed to more clearly articulate 
that the integration of multiple project components that will receive 
focused attention during the objective review.
    2. Titles and Assigned Weight: ANA proposes to adjust the maximum 
point values of the evaluation criteria scores to further prioritize 
elements that are

[[Page 76836]]

important to project monitoring and success. For all FY14 FOAs, ANA 
proposes to use the following criteria values:

Need for Assistance--10 points;
Outcomes Expected--25 points;
Project Approach--30 points;
Objective Work Plan--25 points
Budget and Budget Justification--10 points

    3. Scoring Guidance: ANA proposes to provide guidance to reviewers 
to utilize the table below when allocating points for applications in 
order to ensure consistency and equivalence in the scoring among 
different panels and panel reviewers. ANA proposes to add the following 
table to all FY14 FOAs:

Excellent....................................................     93-100
Very Good....................................................      86-92
Good.........................................................      78-85
Fair.........................................................      70-77
Needs Significant Improvement................................       0-69

    L. ANA Internal Review of Proposed Projects: ANA proposes to 
clarify the language in Section V.2. Review and Selection Process of 
the FOAs to clarify of the scope of ANA's discretion to be exercised in 
making funding decisions as follows:
    Based on the ranked order of applications, ANA staff will perform 
an internal review and analysis of the applications ranked highest as a 
result of the panel's review and scoring in order to determine the 
application's consistency with the purposes of NAPA, all relevant 
statutory and regulatory requirements, and the requirements of the 
relevant FOA. ANA's Commissioner has discretion to make all final 
funding and award decisions. In the exercise of such discretion the 
Commissioner will consider:
     Whether the project, as determined based on ANA's 
administrative and programmatic expertise, does not to further the 
purpose of the funding opportunity as described in Section I. Funding 
Opportunity Description.
     Whether the project is determined to be unlikely to be 
successful or cost effective based on the application submitted for 
evaluation in response to Section IV.2. Project Description and Budget 
and Budget Justification.
     Whether the project allows any one community, or region, 
to receive a disproportionate share of the funds available for award.
     Whether the projects is essentially identical or similar 
in whole or in part to previously funded projects proposed by the same 
applicant or activities or projects proposed by a consortium that 
duplicate activities for which any consortium member also receives or 
has received funding from ANA.
     Whether the project provides couples or family counseling 
activities that are medically-based.
     Whether the project originated and was designed by 
consultants, who have provided a major role for themselves in the 
performance of the project, and who are not members of the applicant 
organization, tribe, or village.
     Whether the project contains contingent activities that 
may impede, or indefinitely delay, the progress of the project.
     Whether the project has the potential to cause unintended 
harm to participants, or that could negatively impact the safety or 
privacy of individuals.
     Whether the project may be used for the purpose of 
providing loan capital. Federal funds awarded under this FOA may not be 
used for the purpose of providing loan capital. This restriction is not 
related to loan capital authorized under Sec. 803A of NAPA [42 U.S.C. 
2991b-1(a)(1)] for the purpose of the Hawaiian Revolving Loan fund.
     Whether the project includes human subject research as 
defined at 45 CFR 45.102 (d) and (f).
     Whether the project is duplicative of projects funded by 
other federal agencies.

    Please note:  The funding restriction applied in prior years' 
FOAs on ``Projects that seek to revive Native American languages 
that do not have any living speakers'' has been removed from the 
above list. Projects with this focus are now eligible to receive 
funding under Language Preservation and EMI FOAs.

    M. Reporting: ANA proposes to change the frequency of reporting 
requirements from quarterly to semi-annual for the Objective Progress 
Reports (OPR) and Financial Status Reports (FSR). Therefore, grantees 
will be required to submit an OPR and an FSR every 6 months instead of 
every 3 months. Please note that grantees will still be required to 
submit a Federal Financial Report--Federal Cash Transaction Report SF-
425 (FFR-FCTR) to the Division of Payment Management (DPM) on a 
quarterly basis.

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

Lillian A. Sparks Robinson,
Commissioner, Administration for Native American.
[FR Doc. 2013-30192 Filed 12-18-13; 8:45 am]