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e-CFR data is current as of October 27, 2020

Title 25Chapter ISubchapter DPart 23 → Subpart D


Title 25: Indians
PART 23—INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT


Subpart D—Grants to Off-Reservation Indian Organizations for Title II Indian Child and Family Service Programs


Contents
§23.31   Competitive off-reservation grant process.
§23.32   Purpose of off-reservation grants.
§23.33   Competitive off-reservation application contents and application selection criteria.
§23.34   Review and decision on off-reservation applications by Regional Director.
§23.35   Deadline for Central Office action.

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§23.31   Competitive off-reservation grant process.

(a) Grant application procedures and related information may be obtained from the Regional Director designated at §23.11 for processing ICWA notices for the state in which the applicant is located. Pre-award and ongoing technical assistance of off-reservation Indian organization grantees shall be provided in accordance with §23.42.

(b) Prior to the beginning of or during the applicable year(s) in which grants for off-reservation programs will be awarded competitively, the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs shall publish in the Federal Register an announcement of the grant application process for the year(s), including program priorities or special considerations (if any), applicant eligibility criteria, the required application contents, the amount of available funding and evaluation criteria for off-reservation programs.

(c) Based on the announcement described in paragraph (b) of this section, an off-reservation applicant shall prepare a multi-year developmental application in accordance with §23.33 of this subpart. To be considered in the area competitive review and scoring process, a complete application must be received by the deadline announced in the Federal Register by the Regional Director designated at §23.11 for processing ICWA notices for the state in which the applicant is located.

(d) Eligibility requirements for off-reservation Indian organizations. The Secretary or his/her designee shall, contingent upon the availability of funds, make a multi-year grant under this subpart for an off-reservation program when officially requested by a resolution of the board of directors of the Indian organization applicant, upon the applicant's fulfillment of the mandatory application requirements and upon the applicant's successful competition pursuant to §23.33 of this subpart.

(e) A grant under this subpart for an off-reservation Indian organization shall be limited to the board of directors of the Indian organization which will administer the grant.

(f) Continued annual funding of a multi-year grant award to an off-reservation ICWA program under this subpart shall be contingent upon the grantee's fulfillment of the requirements delineated at §23.33 (e).

(g) Monitoring and program reporting requirements for grants awarded to off-reservation Indian organizations under this subpart are delineated at §§23.44 and 23.47.

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§23.32   Purpose of off-reservation grants.

The Secretary or his/her designee is authorized to make grants to off-reservation Indian organizations to establish and operate off-reservation Indian child and family service programs for the purpose of stabilizing Indian families and tribes, preventing the breakup of Indian families and, in particular, to ensure that the permanent removal of an Indian child from the custody of his/her Indian parent or Indian custodian shall be a last resort. Child and family service programs may include, but are not limited to:

(a) A system for regulating, maintaining, and supporting Indian foster and adoptive homes, including a subsidy program under which Indian adoptive children may be provided support comparable to that for which they would be eligible as Indian foster children, taking into account the appropriate state standards of support for maintenance and medical needs;

(b) The operation and maintenance of facilities and services for counseling and treatment of Indian families and Indian foster and adoptive children with the goal of strengthening and stabilizing Indian families;

(c) Family assistance (including homemaker and home counselors), protective day care and afterschool care, employment support services, recreational activities, and respite care with the goal of strengthening Indian families and contributing toward family stability; and

(d) Guidance, legal representation and advice to Indian families involved in state child custody proceedings.

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§23.33   Competitive off-reservation application contents and application selection criteria.

(a) An application for a competitive multi-year grant under this subpart shall be submitted to the appropriate Regional Director prior to or on the announced deadline date published in the Federal Register. The Regional Director shall certify the application contents pursuant to §23.34 and forward the application within five working days to the area review committee, composed of members designated by the Regional Director, for competitive review and action. Modifications and/or information received after the close of the application period, as announced in the Federal Register, shall not be reviewed or considered by the area review committee in the competitive process.

(b) Mandatory application requirements for Indian organization applicants shall include:

(1) An official request for an ICWA grant program from the organization's board of directors covering the duration of the proposed program;

(2) A completed Application for Federal Assistance form, SF 424;

(3) Written assurances that the organization meets the definition of Indian organization at §23.2;

(4) A copy of the organization's current Articles of Incorporation for the applicable grant years;

(5) Proof of the organization's nonprofit status;

(6) A copy of the organization's IRS tax exemption certificate and IRS employer identification number;

(7) Proof of liability insurance for the applicable grant years; and

(8) Current written assurances that the requirements of Circular A-128 for fiscal management, accounting, and recordkeeping are met.

(9) Pursuant to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, all grantees under this subpart shall comply with the mandatory Drug-Free Workplace Certification, a regulatory requirement for Federal grant recipients.

(c) Competitive application selection criteria. The Regional Director or his/her designated representative shall select those proposals which will in his/her judgment best promote the proposes of the Act. Selection shall be made through the area review committee process in which each application will be scored individually and ranked according to score, taking into consideration the mandatory requirements as specified above and the following selection criteria:

(1) The degree to which the application reflects an understanding of the social problems or issues affecting the resident Indian client population which the applicant proposes to serve;

(2) Whether the applicant presents a narrative needs assessment, quantitative data and demographics of the client Indian population to be served;

(3) Estimates of the number of Indian people to receive benefits or services from the program based on available data;

(4) Program goals and objectives to be achieved through the grant;

(5) A comprehensive developmental multi-year narrative plan describing what specific services and/or activities will be provided each program year and addressing the above-identified social problems or issues. At a minimum, the plan must include a narrative description of the program; the program goals and objectives, stated in measurable terms, to be achieved through the grant; and the methodology, including culturally defined approaches, and procedures by which the grantee will accomplish the identified goals and objectives;

(6) An internal monitoring system the grantee will use to measure progress and accomplishments, and to ensure that the quality and quantity of actual performance conforms to the requirements of the grant;

(7) Documentation of the relative accessibility which the Indian population to be served under a specific proposal already has to existing child and family service programs emphasizing the prevention of Indian family breakups, such as mandatory state services. Factors to be considered in determining accessibility include:

(i) Cultural barriers;

(ii) Discrimination against Indians;

(iii) Inability of potential Indian clientele to pay for services;

(iv) Technical barriers created by existing public or private programs;

(v) Availability of transportation to existing programs;

(vi) Distance between the Indian community to be served under the proposal and the nearest existing programs;

(vii) Quality of services provided to Indian clientele; and

(viii) Relevance of services provided to specific needs of the Indian clientele.

(8) If the proposed program duplicates existing Federal, state, or local child and family service programs emphasizing the prevention of Indian family breakups, proper and current documented evidence that repeated attempts to obtain services have been unsuccessful;

(9) Evidence of substantial support from the Indian community or communities to be served, including but not limited to:

(i) Tribal support evidenced by a tribal resolution or cooperative service agreements between the administrative bodies of the affected tribe(s) and the applicant for the duration of the grant period, or

(ii) Letters of support from social services organizations familiar with the applicant's past work experience;

(10) A staffing plan that is consistent with the implementation of the above-described program plan of operation and the procedures necessary for the successful delivery of services. The plan must include proposed key personnel, their qualifications, training or experience relevant to the services to be provided, responsibilities, Indian preference criteria for employment and position descriptions. In accordance with 25 U.S.C. 3201 et seq. (Pub. L. 101-630), title IV, the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act, grantees shall conduct character and background investigations of those personnel identified in that statute prior to their actual employment;

(11) The reasonableness and relevance of the estimated overall costs of the proposed program or services and their overall relation to the organization's funding base, activities, and mission;

(12) The degree to which the detailed annual budget and justification for the requested funds are consistent with, and clearly supported by, the proposed plan and by appropriate program services and activities for the applicable grant year;

(13) The applicant's identification of any consultants and/or subgrantees it proposes to employ; description of the services to be rendered; the qualifications and experience of said personnel, reflecting the requirements for performing the identified services; and the basis for the cost and the amount to be paid for such services;

(14) Certification by a licensed accountant that the bookkeeping and accounting procedures that the applicant uses or intends to use meet existing Federal standards for grant administration and management specified at §23.46;

(15) The compliance of property management and recordkeeping systems with subpart D of 43 CFR part 2 (the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a), and with existing Federal requirements for grants at 25 CFR 276.5 and 276.11, including the maintenance and safeguarding of direct service case records on families and/or individuals served by the grant;

(16) A description of the proposed facilities, equipment, and buildings necessary to carry out the grant activities; and

(17) Proof of liability insurance coverage for the applicable grant year(s).

(d) Two or more applications receiving the same competitive score will be prioritized in accordance with announcements made in the Federal Register pursuant to §23.31 (b) for the applicable year(s).

(e) Continued annual funding of a multi-year grant award to an off-reservation ICWA program under this subpart shall be contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds and upon the existing grant program receiving a satisfactory program evaluation from the area social services office for the previous year of operation. A copy of this evaluation shall be submitted together with an annual budget and budget narrative justification in accordance with paragraph (c)(10) of this section. Minimum standards for receiving a satisfactory evaluation shall include the timely submission of all fiscal and programmatic reports; a narrative program report indicating work accomplished in accordance with the initial approved multi-year plan; and the implementation of mutually determined corrective action measures, if applicable.

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§23.34   Review and decision on off-reservation applications by Regional Director.

(a) Area office certification. Upon receipt of an application for a grant by an off-reservation Indian organization at the area office, the Regional Director shall:

(1) Complete and sign the area office certification form. In completing the area certification form, the Regional Director shall assess and certify whether applications contain and meet all the application requirements specified at §23.33. Regional Directors shall be responsible for the completion of the area office certification forms for all applications submitted by off-reservation Indian organizations.

(2) Acknowledge receipt of the application to the applicant and advise the applicant of the disposition of the application within 10 days of receipt; and

(3) Transmit all applications within five working days of receipt to the area review committee for competitive review and subsequent approval or disapproval of the applications.

(b) Area office competitive review and decision for off-reservation applications. Upon receipt of an application for an off-reservation grant under this part requiring the approval of the Regional Director, the Regional Director shall:

(1) Establish and convene an area review committee, chaired by a person qualified by knowledge, training and experience in the delivery of Indian child and family services.

(2) Review the area office certification form required in paragraph (a) of this section.

(3) Review the application in accordance with the competitive review procedures prescribed in §23.33. An application shall not receive approval for funding under the area competitive review and scoring process unless a review of the application determines that it:

(i) Contains all the information required in §23.33 which must be received by the close of the application period. Modifications of the grant application received after the close of the application period shall not be considered in the competitive review process.

(ii) Receives at least the established minimum score in an area competitive review, using the application selection criteria and scoring process set out in §23.33. The minimum score shall be established by the Central Office prior to each application period and announced in the Federal Register for the applicable grants year(s).

(4) Approve or disapprove the application and promptly notify the applicant in writing of the approval or disapproval of the application. If the application is disapproved, the Regional Director shall include in the written notice the specific reasons therefore.

(c) The actual funding amounts for the initial grant year shall be subject to appropriations available nationwide and the continued funding of an approved off-reservation grant application under subpart D of this part shall be subject to available funds received by the respective area office for the applicable grant year. Initial funding decisions and subsequent decisions with respect to funding level amounts for all approved grant applications under this part shall be made by the Regional Director.

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§23.35   Deadline for Central Office action.

Within 30 days of the receipt of grant reporting forms from the Regional Directors identifying approved and disapproved applications pursuant to subpart D of this part and recommended funding levels for approved applications, the Secretary or his/her designee shall process the Regional Directors' funding requests.

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