CDC-RFA-EH20-2001

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Surveillance of Blood Lead Levels in Children

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – March 17, 2020

Q: Who is eligible to apply?     
A: State governments, including the District of Columbia. This includes state government agencies with the public health authority to govern, regulate, deliver, implement, and enforce policies, codes or requirements for childhood lead poisoning prevention to ensure that a comprehensive, statewide system exists for the identification, referral, and follow-up of children exposed to lead.

Q: Are U.S. Territories eligible to apply or only the 50 states?
A: State governments, including the District of Columbia, are eligible to apply. U.S. territories are not eligible.

Q: Will CDC accept applications from anywhere in the world?
A: No, only State governments, including the District of Columbia, in the United States of America (USA) are eligible to apply.

Q: Are local health departments (e.g., cities or counties) eligible to apply for funding? 
A: No, cities and counties are not eligible to apply directly to this NOFO. State government agencies are eligible to apply for funding and must engage and partner with the high-risk areas identified in Appendix 1. Applicants must provide an MOU, MOA, or letter of support to verify the evidence of a collaboration with the local health department to ensure that a comprehensive system of identification, referral, follow-up, and evaluation is in place for children exposed to lead in the state.

Q: Can states suggest additional high-risk areas for funding different than or in addition to the high- risk areas identified by Appendix 1 presented in the NOFO?
A: No, Appendix 1 includes the specific list of eligible high-risk areas. CDC recognizes that this is not a definitive or complete list of high-risk areas for childhood lead exposure; however, no other jurisdictions are eligible for additional funding under this NOFO.

Q: In reviewing Appendix 1, no high-risk areas were identified in our state, can we provide data to support targeted high-risk areas to fund?
A: No, high-risk areas of interest to CDC were determined using data from U.S. Census (2016) on total population and proportions of population with poverty-to-income ratio<1; pre-1950 housing: Black non-Hispanic; foreign-born. CDC recognizes that this is not a definitive or complete list of high-risk areas for childhood lead exposure; however, no other jurisdictions are eligible for additional funding under this NOFO.

Q: How were the high-risk areas in Appendix 1 identified?    
A: All census tracts in the U.S. were ranked using data from the U.S. Census (2016) on total population and proportions of population: poverty-to-income ratio<1; pre-1950 housing: Black non-Hispanic; and foreign-born. The top 25% of metropolitan areas were chosen to allow for a maximum of up to three high-risk areas per state. CDC recognizes that there are other high-risk areas for lead exposure in the U.S.; this is not meant to be a definitive list for lead exposure risk among U.S. children. However, this is a list of high-risk areas of interest designated by CDC to be eligible for optional component of support under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Q: Can any of the CORE Component base award of $300k be used to provide additional funding support to the high-risk areas listed in Appendix 1?
A: Applicants are eligible for base awards of $300,000 to support statewide strategies for childhood lead poisoning prevention and surveillance. Under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), Applicants are applying for CORE support to: 1) ensure blood lead testing and reporting; 2) enhance blood lead surveillance including missing data elements; and 3) improve linkages to recommended services. Applicants are expected to demonstrate that statewide processes are in place to identify children with blood lead levels greater than or equal to the CDC blood lead reference value, link these children to recommended services, and monitor the management of these children for completion of services.

Q: What is a bona fide agent?    
A: A bona fide agent is an agency/organization identified by the state as eligible to submit an application under the state eligibility, in lieu of a state application. For this specific award, a bona fide agent must have, or be delegated by the state, the public health authority in their jurisdiction(s) to govern, regulate, deliver, implement, and enforce policies, codes or requirements for childhood lead poisoning prevention and surveillance activities. A bona fide agent must provide a letter from the state as documentation of such delegated public health authority.
If applying as a bona fide agent or fiscal intermediary of a state or local government, documentation must be submitted from the state or local government that establishes the validity of the agent. This documentation should be included on official letterhead by the appropriate authority and attached under “Other Attachment Forms” when submitting your application via www.grants.gov.

For additional information, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/grantsfunding/expediting.html.

Q: Can a university apply as a bona fide agent of the state?
A: If applying as a bona fide agent of a State, the Applicant must submit documentation that establishes the validity of the agent to serve in that capacity and the agent should be registered by the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR).  In addition, a letter of agreement and understanding from the State government must delegate the public health authority to the bona fide agent to ensure that a comprehensive, statewide system exists for the identification, referral, and follow-up of children exposed to lead.  This may include, but is not limited to, the ability of the bona fide agent to govern, regulate, deliver, implement, and enforce policies, codes, or requirements for childhood lead poisoning prevention and surveillance.

Q: Can funds be used to provide the actual blood lead tests? Can funds be used to treat children with elevated lead levels?
A: No, it is not the intent of this NOFO to pay for direct services. Awardees will be expected to demonstrate that processes are in place to identify lead-exposed children and link them to recommended services. Awardees will be expected to work closely with other agencies, partners, and stakeholders serving children to ensure that a comprehensive system of referral, follow up, and evaluation is in place for lead-exposed children.  Pg. 30 of the NOFO states, “Recipients may not use these funds for direct clinical services or to purchase consumable materials such as: blood lead test kits, dust wipe kits, water sample kits, XRF source material or other medical or environmental testing supplies.”

Q: Can dust-wipe kits be purchased to be distributed for primary prevention activities?
A: No, it is not the intent of this FOA to pay for direct services. Awardees will be expected to demonstrate that processes are in place to identify lead-exposed children and link them to recommended services. Awardees will be expected to work closely with other agencies, partners, and stakeholders serving children to ensure that a comprehensive system of referral, follow up, and evaluation is in place for lead-exposed children. Pg. 30 of the NOFO states, “Recipients may not use these funds for direct clinical services or to purchase consumable materials such as: blood lead test kits, dust wipe kits, water sample kits, XRF source material or other medical or environmental testing supplies.”

Q: Can a LeadCare® analyzer be purchased with these funds?     
A: No, it is not the intent of this NOFO to pay for direct services. Awardees will be expected to demonstrate that processes are in place to identify lead-exposed children and link them to recommended services. Awardees will be expected to work closely with other agencies, partners, and stakeholders serving children to ensure that a comprehensive system of referral, follow up, and evaluation is in place for lead-exposed children. Pg. 30 of the NOFO states, “Recipients may not use these funds for direct clinical services or to purchase consumable materials such as: blood lead test kits, dust wipe kits, water sample kits, XRF source material or other medical or environmental testing supplies.”

Q: Can these funds be used to support staff who are coordinating and overseeing case management?  What about environmental investigations?  
A: Yes, staff support for case management and environmental investigations is allowable under this NOFO; however, it must be clear how staff will support processes to identify lead-exposed children and improving linkages of lead-exposed children to recommended services.  Additionally, if you have any in-kind services that are being performed under this award, you will need to list the names and percent effort devoted to this award on your budget justification.

Q: Is Cost Sharing or Matching required in this NOFO?
A: No, this NOFO does not have a requirement for Cost Sharing or Matching.

Q: What is the maximum budget amount an applicant can request?
A: The maximum budget amount an applicant can request is $800K per budget period. All award amounts are contingent upon the availability of funds and the award ceiling allows flexibility should additional funding become available.  Applications requesting more than the maximum award of $800K per year will not be reviewed because they will be considered non-responsive in the Phase I review of applications.

Q: Can we use these funds for infrastructure costs, such as to buy office furniture?
A: Generally, Awardees may not use funds to purchase furniture or equipment and funds should be spent on activities and strategies outlined in this NOFO. Any such proposed spending must be clearly identified in the budget. Please see the U.S. Government Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR 200) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, And Audit Requirements For Federal Awards to determine what is allowable according to HHS regulations. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=3f11a01c135c66cdc23005f428b3c7fc&mc=true&node=pt2.1.200&rgn=div5external icon

Q: What are the funding amounts for the core required awards and the optional awards?
A: For the Core Required awards, Applicants are eligible for base awards of $300,000 to support statewide strategies for childhood lead poisoning prevention and surveillance (Strategies 1,2,3).
For Optional Component 1 – direct local support awards, Applicants with specific high-risk jurisdictions (as identified in Appendix 1) are eligible for additional optional awards of up to $150,000 per jurisdiction to support local health departments (only in the specific high-risk areas listed in the appendix, for a maximum of three awards, totaling $450,000).
For Optional Component 2 – targeted, population-based policy interventions, Applicants are eligible for an optional award of up to $50,000. These awards are to be used to support the use of data to develop interventions with a focus on community-based primary prevention approaches for lead hazard elimination.

Q: How is the new NOFO different from the CDC-RFA-EH17-1701 NOFO, Lead Poisoning Prevention-Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (and CDC-RFA-EH18-1806)?  
A: The new NOFO has a Core Required and 2 Optional Components.  The four Program Strategies have not changed from the previous NOFO.  However, State governments (including the District of Columbia), or their bona fide agents, are the only eligible entities. The Core required component strategies include: 1) ensuring blood lead testing and reporting; 2) enhancing blood lead surveillance, and 3) improving linkages of lead-exposed children to recommended services.

Optional Component 1. Applicants with specific high-risk jurisdictions (as identified in Appendix 1) are eligible for an additional optional award (on their base funding) to partner and support local health departments in the identified high-risk area(s) to improve linkages to lead-exposed children to recommended services. As stated above, improving linkages of lead-exposed children to recommended services is one of the strategies of this NOFO (Strategy 3).

Optional Component 2 – Policy Interventions. Applicants are also eligible for an optional award (on their base funding) to support the development of targeted, population-based policy interventions with a focus on community-based primary prevention approaches for lead hazard elimination. As stated above, developing targeted population-based policy interventions is one of the strategies of this new NOFO (Strategy 4).

Q: Any limitations on the number of collaborators (investigators)?
A: There are no limitations on the number of partners or collaborators. However, there is normally only one Principal Investigator on the CDC cooperative agreement.

Q: Are applicants required to develop and submit a logic model as part of their application?
A: No, applicants should not develop and submit a logic model. Applicants should base their applications and work plans on the CDC Program Logic Model presented in the funding announcement (CDC-RFA-EH20-2001) which depicts overarching strategies and activities to be used by funded programs, along with expected results (that is, outcomes that should be achieved). Applicants should refer to the funding announcement for further details on the logic model and its relationship to required components of the application

Q: What environmental data elements will CDC require to be reported as part of the quarterly data submission?
A: Additional information is available upon request (email: leadsurv@cdc.gov) and technical assistance will be provided by CDC upon initiation of the award.

Q: Is a data management plan (DMP) required in the new application?
A: All applicants are encouraged to concur with CDC’s DMP by providing a concurrence statement in the Evaluation and Performance Measurement Plan. The DMP is the applicant’s assurance of the quality of the public health data through the data’s lifecycle and plans to deposit data in a repository to preserve and to make the data accessible in a timely manner.  See web link for additional information:   https://www.cdc.gov/grants/additionalrequirements/ar-25.html

If an applicant submits their own DMP, the DMP must provide adequate description of the data that will be generated using these NOFO funds including but not limited to information on how access to the data will be assured; data standards and documentation describing methods of collection; data interpretation and limitations; and archival and long-term data preservation plans.

Additional information will be provided by CDC with 6 months of the initial award.

Q: What should be included in the Project Narrative? Is there a page limit?
A: The Project Narrative must include all of the following headings (including subheadings):  Background, Approach, Applicant Evaluation and Performance Measurement Plan, Organizational Capacity of Applicants to Implement the Approach, and Work Plan. There is a 20-page limit for the project narrative, which should be single spaced, 12- point font, 1-inch margins, number all pages. The project narrative includes the work plan.

Q: Do we submit a detailed work plan for all five years of the performance period?
A: No, Applicants should provide a detailed work plan for the first budget year (up to 5 pages) and a high-level work plan for subsequent years 2-5 (up to 5 additional total pages).  The components in the work plan should crosswalk to the strategies and activities, outcomes, and evaluation and performance measures presented in the logic model and the narrative sections of the NOFO.

Q: Do we submit a budget for years 2-5 as well?
A: Submit a detailed budget narrative for Year 1 funding based on activities required in CDC-RFA-EH20-2001 and submit an appropriate work plan to correspond to those activities. Please refer to CDC budget guidance for additional information on completing a detailed justified budget at: www.cdc.gov/funding

Q: What is the indirect cost limit?
A: Please note Glossary section of the NOFO, pg. 47. Costs that are incurred for common or joint objectives and not readily and specifically identifiable with a particular sponsored project, program, or activity; nevertheless, these costs are necessary to the operations of the organization. For example, the costs of operating and maintaining facilities, depreciation, and administrative salaries generally are considered indirect costs.

Q: Can funds pay for a media and marketing campaign such as radio/TV ads, bus wraps and outreach materials such as flyers and posters? If we cannot pay for media can we still pay for outreach materials?    
A: Funds should be spent on activities and strategies outlined in this NOFO. Any such proposed spending must be clearly identified in the budget with a detailed justification for the use of funds for such purposes.  For example, if these materials will be distributed to partners for distribution in targeted areas with the purpose of meeting the intended goals of NOFO (e.g., increased blood lead testing and reporting).

Q: Can you define housing entities and give some examples? 
A: For the purposes of this NOFO, housing entities refers to government agencies that enforce local housing codes.

Q: Is the Letter of Intent (LOI) required for applying to this funding? What should be included in the LOI? How should it be submitted?  
A: A letter of intent (LOI) is requested by April 1, 2020, but not required.  The LOI will allow CDC Program staff to plan for the review of the submitted applications.

The following information should be included in the LOI:

  • Number and title of this NOFO
  • Descriptive title of the proposed project
  • Indicate if applying for Required Core Component only or Core plus Optional Components (1 and/or 2)
  • Name, address, telephone number, and email address of the Principal Investigator

LOI should be sent via email to: Leanna Thompson, Deputy Branch Chief, Email: lmf8@cdc.gov

Q: Are letters of support expected to receive the additional funding for direct local support?
A: Yes, Applicants must provide an MOU, MOA, or letter of support to verify evidence of a collaboration with the local health department to ensure that a comprehensive system of identification, referral, follow-up, and evaluation is in place for children exposed to lead in the state. The appropriate document should be uploaded as a single PDF, combined with any other documents on optional collaborations (below), using the filename “MOUs/MOAs” at grants.gov.

Q: Who should the letters of support be addressed to?  
A: Generally, the letter of support should be addressed to the appropriate contact in the agency that is applying for support under CDC-RFA-EH20-2001, in most cases, that would be the Principal Investigator for the application.

Q: Who do we contact for financial, awards management, or budget assistance?
A: Louvern Asante, Grants Management Specialist, Email: lha5@cdc.gov

Q: Who do we contact for programmatic technical assistance?
A: Leanna Thompson, Deputy Branch Chief, Email: lmf8@cdc.gov

Q: When is the Application Deadline?  
A: April 30, 2020, 11:59pm U.S. Eastern Time via www.grants.gov

Q: How is assistance provided if technical difficulties arise when submitting an application via www.grants.gov?
A: If technical difficulties are encountered at www.grants.gov applicants should contact Customer Service at www.grants.gov. The www.grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except federal holidays. The Contact Center is available by phone at 1-800-518-4726 or by e-mail at support@grants.gov.  Application submissions sent by e-mail or fax, or on CDs or thumb drives will not be accepted. Please note that www.grants.gov is managed by HHS.

Optional component 1 – Direct Local Support. The $150,000 per jurisdiction, is that the amount we would receive every year for 5 years, or is it a onetime award amount? Or is it divided by 5, for $30,000 per year for 5 years?     The amounts listed in the NOFO refer to anticipated awards for every year of the period of performance (5 years), pending the availability of funds.

Q: Can we get an extension to apply with the COVID19 response taking so many resources and staff in the response right now?
A: No, at this point in time, CDC has not issued any guidance about deadline extensions due to coronavirus.  Please check grants.gov for any updates

Q: What is the actual formula and city rankings that determined which cities are eligible for the $150,000 component?
A: All census tracts in the U.S. were ranked using data from the U.S. Census (2016) on total population and proportions of population: poverty-to-income ratio<1; pre-1950 housing: Black non-Hispanic; and foreign-born.  The top 25% of metropolitan areas were chosen to allow for a maximum of up to three high-risk areas per state. CDC recognizes that there are other high-risk areas for lead exposure in the U.S.; this is not meant to be a definitive list for lead exposure risk among U.S. children. However, this is a list of high-risk areas of interest designated by CDC to be eligible for optional component of support under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Q: Are the amounts listed on Appendix 1 a pass through directly to jurisdictions or do we get those funds and pay through a contract? If the latter, do we include that in our budget narrative?
A: Applicants must describe and justify a plan to ensure that a comprehensive, statewide system exists for the identification, referral, and follow-up of children exposed to lead.  In particular, for high-areas identified in the NOFO, the Applicant must provide assurances that children in these areas with blood lead levels greater than or equal to the CDC blood lead reference value will be identified and referred for appropriate follow-up services.