RFP for Reasearch-Based Infant-Toddler Court Team Demonstration Sites
ZERO TO THREE, in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and RTI International, announces the national Quality Improvement Center (QIC-CT) for Research-Based Infant-Toddler Court Teams grant to provide technical assistance and implement projects to fully develop and expand research-based infant-toddler court teams based on the ZERO TO THREE Safe Babies Court Team approach, funded through the United States Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Children’s Bureau. The QIC-CT will support the implementation of court teams in six demonstration sites. Three of the sites will be enhancements of current ZTT Safe Baby Court Team (SBCT) sites. The remaining three sites will be chosen through the competitive process described in the attached document. As a foundation for working with each site the QIC-CT will provide a package of support including training; technical assistance; resource development; support for selecting, implementing, and managing evidence-based practices; and sustainability planning.
- Explanatory Webinar: December 16, 2014 from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can prior court teams apply?
Q: For jurisdictions with prior experience as Safe Babies Court Teams, what are the benefits of that experience?
A: You have a track record of implementing the required core components.
Q: Tribes are now eligible to receive Court Improvement Program (CIP) funds but they are separate from the state system. Can tribes apply to be a QIC-CT demonstration site?
A: We want tribes to apply. As they are separate from the state system, CIP endorsement would be encouraged but not required.
Q: The RFP says the proposal has to be submitted by state agencies in partnership with the CIP—does a university count as a state agency?
A: There are multiple categories of eligible applicants. State agencies are only one category. A university can be the applicant agency if it represents a court-community collaboration involving the dependency court, child welfare agency, and an array of stakeholders including the university. All applicants except tribal applicants will need a letter of commitment from your state’s CIP.
Q: Funding can be used for a full-time coordinator. We have a coordination team—does there have to be a single coordinator?
A: Funding for a full-time coordinator would require that the coordinator be an employee of ZERO TO THREE (ZTT). You can propose a coordination team but it would be important to fully describe how that works in practice.
Q: Does ZTT offer training in Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)? Most of our infant mental health (IMH) clinicians are formally trained in CPP as it is a "pillar" of the Michigan IMH model.
A: Yes. The QIC-CT will work with sites to provide training on any one of an array of evidence-based interventions that have shown to have efficacy with infants and toddlers in foster care.
Q: What time is the webinar on the 16th? I do not see a time listed in the RFP.
A: The webinar ran from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST. You can watch a recording of the webinar on the ZERO TO THREE website: www.zerotothree.org/maltreatment/safe-babies-court-team/sbct-related-resources.html
Q: There is no dollar amount listed as an upper limit for the total project budget. Do you have a range that we should stay in?
A: There are no dollar awards being made. We are offering a large boat of training and technical assistance and, if the site elects, they can request a community coordinator who would be a local professional hired as a ZTT staff person.
Q: Are attachments included in the 25 page limit?
A: No. Only the cover page and project narrative are included in the 25 page limit.
Q: Who should the letters of support/commitment be addressed to?
A: Letters of support/commitment should be addressed to the entity submitting the application (e.g. “I’m committed to working on this with you.”)
Q: What kind of commitment are you looking for?
A: Organizations offering letters of commitment need to participate in the work that will be undertaken (e.g. active Court Team membership, in kind contribution of space for training).
Q: Re: page 14 of the QIC RFP (#3 and #4): What is an acceptable substitute for the tax exempt number for applicants that are public agencies?
A: Either an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a DUNS number is acceptable. According to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform: Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine digit identification number, for each physical location of your business. D-U-N-S Number assignment is FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants. Click here to request your D-U-N-S Number via the Web. If one does not exist for your business location, it can be created within 1 business day.
Q: Re: page 14 of the QIC "RFP" (#5 and #6): If the Judiciary is applying, can the Chief Justice or the Court Administrative Director serve as the CEO and/or the contact person?
A: #5: The Chief Justice would sign off on the application as the Executive Director/CEO. #6: The person who is managing the application process or who would be managing the project will be the contact person.
Q: Re: page 14 of the QIC "RFP" (#7): “Financial information to include salary range if community coordinator is selected.” Does this question refer to the situation if ZTT hires the community coordinator?
Q: Do you want us to estimate how many people we want to attend the on-site trainings?
A: Please estimate the number of people you think should attend any on-site training on evidence-based practices you plan to implement that go beyond the training we will be providing to every site.
Q: Do you want us to estimate the court team we want to send to your trainings on the mainland?(#7)
A: We’ve specified who we want to attend the meetings on the mainland so you don’t need to. Three representatives (the judge, a representative from the child welfare agency and the community coordinator) will attend the National Training Institute and the Cross Sites Meeting. Five representatives will attend the Sustainability Meeting.
Q: Re: page 14 of the QIC "RFP" (#8) “Total current organization budget”: If the Judiciary is the applicant, what information would you want?
A: We expect you to provide only the portion of the total budget for the department within the Judiciary where the court team is housed.
Q: Re: page 14 of the QIC "RFP" (#9) “Total project budget”: can you explain this?
A: In addition to what you have in place, the total project budget should include any funding you will need to implement the full project (e.g. community coordinator position, non-personnel support like office space), including the financial support you are asking the QIC to provide for training on evidence-based practices or the community coordinator’s salary.
Q: In the Attachments, you request a list of current funders: do you want the sources of funding for our court team program now?
Q: Where is a community coordinator housed?
A: Each site is a little different. In Polk County, Iowa, the coordinator started out with office space at the child welfare agency. This worked out well because it gave the community coordinator the opportunity to fully understand the role of the department worker: what is expected of them, their job expectations, the challenges, and ways to support them. However, in other places coordinators have been housed in the courthouse, in the local CASA office, at a private agency, or they have worked out of their homes. The key is for the coordinator to be in the community creating collaborative relations across organizations with a role in the lives of infants and toddlers in foster care.
Q: How do you decide which cases to take and how many?
A: Jurisdictions are different sizes. Some places have only one courtroom hearing cases involving infants and toddlers and can handle all cases that are received. In larger communities, an infant-toddler court team is created in one courtroom. That courtroom serves as a learning laboratory for the changes advocated by the Safe Babies Court Teams (SBCT) Project. Innovations are planned and implemented before they are shared with the larger system for a possible change in practice throughout the other child welfare cases. It has been found that handling between 15 and 25 active cases is an effective number for practicing the innovations outlined in the SBCT Core Components (pages 4-5 of the RFP).
Q: How do the staffings work?
A: Safe Babies Court Team cases have monthly court hearings and/or family team meetings. Staffings with only professionals in attendance are used as an exception. The intent is to involve the parents as much as possible. Our goal is to problem solve with the parents, focusing on their strengths, and addressing their needs and difficulties as candidly as possible.
Q: I assume that one of the reasons the coordinator positions, etc. are covered by ZTT is to avoid expensive indirect costs. How will this work for evaluation costs? Typically, universities require that a portion of the evaluation team’s time is supported (we do extensive data collection for families and at the court). How do you recommend that we handle this?
A: The QIC includes a significant commitment to evaluation through an agreement with RTI, International. Sites will be expected to collect data and assist RTI as follows:
- Work with the community coordinator and the evaluator to schedule two rounds of visits. The baseline evaluation visit must be scheduled before the first on-site training and cross-sites meeting. The second round of evaluation visits will be scheduled after all training has been completed.
- Support the evaluators’ activities during site visits that will include individual interviews with each member of the court team, including the community coordinator, judge, attorney representing parents, attorney representing the interests of the child, Guardian ad Litem, Agency legal representative, child welfare services representative, services provider representative), and observations of a monthly case staffing/family team meeting and hearings for children birth to 3 years old.
- The evaluation team will work with the sites to build or enhance data infrastructure to ensure that the site has the capacity to collect critical data about the new process and its results.
- Authorize the release of case reports and hearing transcripts observed by the evaluator, and provide both with names and personal identifiers of children and families blacked out.
There is no expectation that the demonstration sites will conduct separate evaluation activities.
Leveraging Lessons Learned: State and Federal Policy
Safe Babies Court Teams have served as community laboratories where hard-won experience at the local level has been used to inform local, state, and federal policymakers. ZERO TO THREE has partnered with several national organizations—including the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Trends, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, National Black Child Development Institute, National Council of La Raza, and Voices for America’s Children—to develop policy recommendations for state and federal policy. To better appreciate the starting point for practice and policy change, ZTT, in collaboration with Child Trends, published Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives which documents the policies of 46 state child welfare agencies.