Questions and Answers for the Special Education-Grants for Infants and Families Early Intervention - Child and Family Connections
 

Q1: In regard to Service Coordination Funding, how exactly are you going to get the combined average caseload and average Intake number?

A1: The following table represents an example of the methodology for calculation for combined average caseload and average intake number that will be applied based on the reporting periods defined in Table 1 of the NOFO.
 

Month/Year IFSP Intake Combined
Jan-18 634 114 748
Feb-18 642 139 781
Mar-18 669 130 799
Apr-18 688 122 810
May-18 706 135 841
Jun-18 712 128 840
Average 675 128 803


Thus, the number 803 is the combined caseload average for the six-month period. Also, see A2 below for the source of data.


Q2: Where on our Monthly Statistical Report will I find caseload?

A2: The Monthly Statistical Report includes the number of active Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP), specifically line 4 and cases in Intake, line 3, which will be submitted to each Child and Family Connections (CFC) office by the Bureau on a monthly-basis via secure email. The Monthly Statistical Report data is derived from information submitted by each CFC into Cornerstone.


Q3: In regard to Local Interagency Council (LIC), Parent Liaison, Developmental Pediatric Consultation and Social Emotional Consultant funding, each says based on caseload count from Service Coordination. Will this number be the same as the counts in Q1. above or is it specifically coming from Active IFSPs?

A3: LIC, Parent Liaison, Developmental Pediatric Consultation and Social Emotional Consultant funding will be calculated using the combined average number of children with active IFSPs and average Intake at the end of each month for a given period as described in A1. Quarterly-base award amounts will be calculated using a six-month average caseload period as defined in Table 1 of the NOFO. These components have minimum annual grants respectively as defined in B.4. of the NOFO. See example in A1. for calculation of caseload and Intake average.
 

Q4: Under Mandatory Forms, 5. Personnel Resumes for key personnel, the applicant shall provide resumes for all key personnel, CFC Manager and fiscal staff. Can you please define fiscal staff?

A4: Fiscal staff is ANY employee within an agency whose job responsibilities relate to meeting the criteria set forth in Section A.4.9. and A.5.7. This could include CFC staff and/or staff from other organizational units/divisions that are involved in bookkeeping, budget preparation, periodic financial reporting, indirect cost and base calculations, review of invoices to ensure compliance with regulatory cost objectives (allowable vs unallowable), etc. The Bureau of Early Intervention requires assurance that staff involved in these activities have sufficient education and experience to accommodate and comply to all fiscal requirements of both the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) and the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (30 ILCS 708/). This should be presented in the form of a resume. A narrative is not required. The focus will be on both bookkeeping expertise AND practical understanding of related regulations to prepare budgets, periodic financial reports, grant close outs, apply indirect costs and calculate related indirect cost bases (i.e., MTDC), etc.
 

Q5: Under Mandatory Forms, 7. Budget and Narrative (CSA System), we are already in the CSA system so are do we NOT need to provide any additional information other than what is already set up?

A5: Under Mandatory Forms, 7. Budget and Narrative (CSA System), it does require the applicant to submit a budget in the CSA system for the 9-month period beginning October 1, 2018 ending June 30, 2019. When submitting applications for more than one CFC region, the applicant must submit a separate budget for each CFC region. The CFC region and related total award/budget amount is set forth in Appendix I of the NOFO. If an agency does not already have access to the CSA system, guidance for obtaining access is provided in Section B.5. of the NOFO.
 

Q6. There were several questions on how the 9-month maximum award amounts were calculated in Appendix I.

A6. The award amount assumes that all incentives as defined in Section B.4.2. of the NOFO are achieved. Additionally, the award amount also assumes that no penalties are incurred. This allows for the EI Program to estimate the maximum award based on the estimated caseload (i.e., 6-month average IFSP plus 6-month average Intake (see example in A.1, above)). Based on estimated caseload, some CFC region calculations will include minimum amounts for certain components (LIC, Parent Liaison, Developmental Pediatric Consultation and Social Emotional Consultant) as set forth in Section B.4.2. of the NOFO. Upon calculation of the annualized award amount, a factor of .75 is applied to the annualized amount to arrive at the 9-month maximum amounts as reflected in Appendix I.


Q7: It appears that a cut in funding exists for each component because of the new funding criteria.

A7: Although the new funding criteria has changed from prior fiscal years and may result in a reduction in funding in some areas, the addition of Intake in the calculation of the following components including Service Coordination, LIC, Parent Liaison, Developmental Pediatric Consultation, and Social Emotional Consultation, results in a significant overall increase in potential funding for all CFC regions.


Q8: On the Uniform Application for State Grant Assistance, what should be inserted on page 3 under 43. Description Title of Applicant's Project??

A8: Early Intervention Child and Family Connections


Q9: Section B.4.1 states that "payments to Vendors will be made for allowable expenditures incurred on a reimbursement basis based on financial information reported and submitted to IDHS on the monthly Early Intervention Periodic Financial Report." Currently grant payments are paid in 1/3 amounts of each Quarterly award. Is the payment method now changing to a monthly reimbursement based on each monthly expenditure reported to IDHS?

A9: Yes, beginning with the grant agreements date October 1, 2018 thru June 30.2019, CFCs will be paid on a reimbursement bases for the amounts reported on the monthly Early Intervention Periodic Financial Report submitted to the Bureau. As in previous years, all payments are subject to cash availability in the Early Intervention Revolving Fund.


Q10: I have a question concerning the EI NOFO, is the information we are required to submit under H only?

A10: Section H enumerates the required items to be submitted. The applicant should also review the corresponding sections cross-referenced in Section H. to assure all items and deliverables are sufficiently addressed. It is considered a good practice to submit additional information if in question.


Q11: Under A.1.5 it says IDHS initiatives, IDHS Family and Community Resource Centers, can you explain what this means?

A11: This is in reference to what were formerly known as Local Public Aid offices. The intent of this deliverable is to encompass all possible collaborations and partnership efforts relating to outreach initiatives currently in place or that may be developed through cross-training and community capacity building efforts.


Q12: In regard to Incentive Payments; if I am reading this correctly, #2 and #3 are quite similar. I believe #3 is about Transition Planning Conferences but I don't know how you will get the data for #2.

A12: Specific to the quarterly calculation of Performance Contracting, Quarterly collection of samples from each CFC will be reviewed by the Bureau of EI. Additionally, on an annual basis, the EI Monitoring program will also review the full file for confirmation as well as larger scale sampling for reporting to the Federal Office of Special Education Programs - Annual Performance Report.


Q13: Is there any guidance on completing the "% of Staff Time for Each Activity" section of the TAPPM?

A13: The work and structure of each CFC is unique. The TAPPM should reflect that "uniqueness" with enough information to assist the Bureau of EI in evaluating that all deliverables are adequately staffed and resourced. When identifying the staff responsible for specified tasks and the related percent of time, the applicant should consider what personnel are performing the task(s) and whether tasks are separately performed or performed by the same person as part of an overall process. That is, it may be that Intake includes distribution of the provider choice form, going over local agencies at Intake, scheduling the IFSP meeting, coordinating evaluations, etc. This may be performed by the same individual or by separate staff. The applicant should identify individual(s) who complete the task(s) and make a best estimate of the annual percentage of time the staff would require completing that process in its entirety. If necessary, the applicant would include language in the TAPPM to provide clarity as it relates to the unique processes within their CFC.


Q14: How is the distribution of the grant going to be done? If going to a reimbursement model, how will incentives be calculated so that we know what we have to spend each month for the reimbursement?

A14: Each quarter, each CFC will receive a quarterly grant summary calculated in accordance with the Performance Award Methodology set forth in Section B.4.2. of the NOFO. The cumulative amount of the four quarterly grant summaries represent the total performance award for each CFC. Each month, each CFC will submit the Early Intervention Periodic Financial Report - CFC (EIPFRCFC), the ACTUAL expenditures incurred during the respective month to the Bureau of EI. During the last quarter of the fiscal-year, after the CFC has received the Quarter IV Grant Summary, the Bureau of EI begins monitoring payments to ensure that amounts submitted for monthly reimbursement do not exceed the cumulative performance award. Additionally, it is expected that each CFC will monitor expenditures to ensure alignment with budgeted amounts and with the performance award. Finally, each CFC owns and reports through Cornerstone most of the data from which the Bureau of EI calculates performance award amounts. Based on the information provided in the NOFO and the forthcoming language in the grant award, each CFC should be able to closely calculate the performance award in advance of receiving quarterly grant summaries from the Bureau of EI.


Q15: When submitting the NOFO, do you want it as one large PDF file or do you want the TAPPM as a separate document?

A15: The Bureau of EI has not specified whether the NOFO submissions should be submitted as separate documents or as one large PDF. Therefore, the documents can be submitted either way. However, all information submitted should be submitted in a well-organized format that reflects a professional presentation. It should be noted that the budget and narrative will be submitted in the CSA system. Although it is part of the Mandatory Items Required for All Applicants as set forth in Section H of the NOFO, only items 1 through 6 of Section H will be submitted directly to the Bureau of EI by email at DHS.EIFiscal@illinois.gov.


Q16: In looking at the TAPPM, I am concerned on how to address the "% of Staff time for each activity" because everything is broken down into smaller increments, unlike the Program Plans that CFCs submit yearly. For example A.1.1.1., "The CFC Office shall receive referrals from ....." In this instance, this activity accounts for time with support staff taking and entering referrals, CFC Manager to assign referrals, and Service Coordinator to contact family. How do you estimate the time for this and then have to break that down for each step throughout the TAPPM?

A16: Please review answer to Q13.


Q17: Are any documents needed to support our claims of what we already do? In the past, there were many attachments of lists of DICEI members, etc. For example, in the last RFP, we had approximately 10 attachments of various information - lists of our LIC members, LIC steering committee members, lists of our Parent Liaison activities, LIC Public Awareness, Providers, etc.

A17: No additional documents other than those listed in Section H of the NOFO are required. However, if supporting documentation exists that would substantiate the information provided in the TAN and/or TAPPM or if it supports that a deliverable has been met, the applicant may submit supplemental information.

For example, Section A.1.1.4. of the NOFO requires that "the CFC office shall establish/maintain Local Interagency Council(s) (LIC) as defined in the chart found in Appendix I". Therefore, as part of this Merit Based Review Process, it might be beneficial for the applicant to include the related LIC support listed in this question, Q17. This would apply to any deliverable listed in Section A.1 of the NOFO. Each applicant should use discretion and common-sense judgment when providing supplemental information.


Q18: For the 9-month funding deadline of 08/24/18, does the budget need to be entered into the CSA system or will that not be required until the applicant has completed the application and prequalification and we have received notification of funding?

A18: All applicants are required to submit a budget to the CSA system by 08/24/18.
 

Q19: The TAN vs. the TAPPM - they seem duplicative.

A19: The TAN and the TAPPM contain some duplication. Both are integral in addressing the Technical Approach Plan outlined in Section A.3.1 - A.3.4 of the NOFO. Together, these documents will be used to evaluate the applicant's ability to meet the requirements set forth in the NOFO.

The TAN addresses each deliverable with detailed narrative information that achieves the following:

  • The applicant demonstrates an understanding of the service requirements set forth in Section A.1 of the NOFO.
  • The applicant provides an overview in narrative form of the how it plans to address each requirement.
  • The applicant demonstrates the appropriate level of expertise and knowledge relating to the requirements.


In addition to addressing each deliverable in Section A.1, the TAN should address Section A.3.2. and A.3.3. of the NOFO. The requirements in Section A.3.2 and A.3.3 would not be addressed on the TAPPM.

The TAPPM should define the specific action steps that the CFC will employ to provide for the deliverables as specified in Section A.1. Additionally, the TAPPM specifically identifies the staff required for each action bullet either by name or by position and the estimated percentage of time of staff assigned on an annual basis. This would include CFC Program Managers, Service Coordinators, LIC Coordinators, Parent Liaisons, Developmental Pediatric Consultants, Social Emotional Consultants or any other staff required of the action step. Each element or specific action step that is presently in place should be noted as such in the TAPPM. Also, see Q13 and Q20 for additional guidance on "% of Staff Time for Each Activity".


Q20: Can clarification please be made defining what the expected calculation of the % of staff time for each activity? Is there an expectation that each position will add up to 100% after completing all sections?

A20: Please reference the response to Q13. The Bureau of EI is aware that several deliverable items, depending on the applicant's internal process or the nature of the requirement, do not lend themselves to "% of Staff Time for Each Activity". Therefore, if the applicant provides supportive explanation in the TAPPM, the "% of Staff Time for Each Activity" might be appropriately addressed as "n/a". This NOFO does not contain a requirement that each position must add up to 100% after completing all sections.
 

Q21: Our organization employs our Developmental Pediatrician NP. Do we have to produce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for this person or can I include the job duties that this person provides in their role for the CFC?

A21: Additionally, Section A.5. of the NOFO requires the Applicant to provide resumes for all key personnel, including the CFC Manager, fiscal employees and all who will be involved in providing the services contemplated by the NOFO. Therefore, a resume would also be required for the Developmental Pediatrician NP to support that position as it relates to the scope of services specified in the NOFO.


To ensure that the Applicant would meet the personnel requirements in Section A.5. of the NOFO, it is recommended that any documentation to support qualifications are submitted.


Q22: In regard to Penalty 1 defined in Section B.4.2 of the NOFO: "A penalty will be assessed against the quarterly payment calculation in an amount equal to the value of the number of FTE Service Coordinators that were below 82% staffing level based on the average staffing levels in accordance with Table 2 of the NOFO."

Previously, we calculated our FTE Service Coordinators (SCs) by taking the Average Active IFSPs (January-June) divided by the average # of SCs (April-June). Take 82% of that number and compare to the average FTE SCs (April-June). However, will this formula change to- finding the combined average caseload and average intake instead of just taking the average active IFSPs? If yes, what month/reporting period does that penalty start?
A22: The staffing penalty previously was determined as follows:

Assuming we are calculating for the reporting period October 1, 20XX to December 31, 20XX (which represents Quarter II of the State Fiscal Year)

  • Step 1: Calculate the Average Active IFSPs for January 20XX through June 20XX and divide by the Funded Ratio of 43.
  • Step 2: Take 82% of that number and compare to the Average FTE SCs for the staffing period April 20XX through June 20XX.

Beginning in Quarter II of FY19, the staffing penalty will be calculated exactly the same way as before except for two changes:

  • The funded ratio is now 45 instead of 43.
  • The caseload as previously defined will now include an intake factor. That is, caseload will now include combined Average Active IFSP and Average Intake calculated in accordance with the six-month caseload data period defined in Table 1 of the NOFO.


Q23: If a CFC has more than one LIC, is the minimum amount still $22,000 or is there additional funding since there will be coordination of more than one LIC?

A23: Section B.4.2 of the NOFO sets forth the Performance Award Methodology as it pertains to LIC Coordination. That is, a minimum grant will be made for basic coordination activities. Any additional funding for LIC Coordination is based on caseload count from Service Coordination and multiplied by $20 per case. It is worthy to note that now Service Coordination caseload now includes combined Average Active IFSP and Average Intake calculated in accordance with the six-month caseload data period defined in Table 1 of the NOFO.


Q24: Regarding the maximum amount, should CFCs complete a GATA budget in the CSA that accounts for the entire maximum amount or should CFCs complete a budget that reflects the amount they are likely to earn based on past performance? For example, should a budget include all 4 incentive percentages if there is a likelihood that only 3 will be met?

A24: For consistency/sufficiency and purposes of obligating amounts in the accounting system, the Bureau of EI requires that a budget be prepared for the entire maximum amount. The maximum amount is based on the assumption that all 4 incentives are earned and no penalties are incurred. Through the year, the CFC will receive quarterly grant summaries reflecting incentives and penalties. After receiving the fourth quarter grant summary which will reflect the cumulative maximum award based on performance, the CFC will be required to submit an amended budget to reflect expenditures to date and any anticipated expenditures for the remainder of the year, not to exceed the cumulative performance award for the fiscal year.


Q25: In regard to Penalty 1 as defined in Section B.4.2. of the NOFO: It appears there could be a penalty for CFCs whose Service Coordinators increased (due to the addition of intake) and we did not have time to hire in advance. For example, let's say in Quarter 2 the funded Service Coordinators increase by 1.0 FTE - using data from Jan thru June 2018. We wouldn't be able to hire an additional Service Coordinator (especially since we only have a contract through September). Will there be an allowance for the time gap?

A25: The Bureau acknowledges that the addition of intake to the caseload calculation and a timing difference relating the respective data period would possibly impact the staffing penalty. Additionally, the data period timing difference would have impacted an awardee's decision-making process relating to new-hires that would have already expired. This would also affect any new awardees for which no hiring data would exist at the beginning date of the award. Therefore, the Bureau has determined that all staffing penalties for State Fiscal Year 2019 awards beginning October 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019, will be waived with the understanding that awardees acknowledge the need for compliance in implementation of the new criteria upon any renewals that would take affect for FY20 (period beginning July 1, 2019).

Note: This response supplements A22 above regarding the implementation date. That is, the staffing penalty under the new formula will be effective for renewals beginning Quarter I of FY20.


Q26: What is the definition of an "intake" for purposes of calculating the caseload? Specifically, does a referral count as an intake or is a face-to-face meeting required? How will intakes be recorded and tracked?

A26: The Early Intervention Child and Family Connections Manual (Section 8.1) defines Intake as "the process of meeting face-to-face with the family to explain what EI is and to complete all initial steps required prior to beginning the Evaluation/Assessment process."

Each CFC enters intake data into a statewide data management information system (i.e. Cornerstone) in accordance with the steps set forth in the Cornerstone User Manual (17.2.2 pg. 931) which can be located at:

www.dhs.state.il.us/OneNetLibrary/27896/documents/Cornerstone/Cstone_User_Manual_14.0.pdf.

The Bureau will obtain the total number of intakes completed in the month as reflected on the EI-Monthly Program Enrollment Report (HSPR1072). It should be noted that a referral does not constitute a credit for intake.
 

Q27: Under Mandatory Forms, #4, Technical Experience Supporting Documentation, is this a separate form or is something that is incorporated in the TAN and the TAPPM?

A27: The TAN and the TAPPM specifically address ONLY the supplies and services set forth in A.1. of the NOFO. However, the applicant might, when necessary to support information in the TAN and TAPPM, include references to the technical expertise of staff.


The applicant should address Section A.4. - Technical Experience, separately. This might be presented in narrative form that addresses each requirement set forth therein. Additionally, the applicant would submit supporting documentation, whenever possible, to substantiate the information provided and claims made relating to the requirements of Section A.4. The applicant should use profession judgment and common sense when determining the sufficiency of supporting documentation to be submitted. Supporting documentation should not be overly voluminous, but should be sufficient to clearly and concisely address the requirements set forth in Section A.4.


Q28. Is there a way to receive the most current report on what IDHS has for percentages of Child Outcomes matched pairs and related scoring?
A28. See below for all CFCs Child Outcomes percentages and scores.

CFC # # active greater than 6 months # active less than 6 months Net available # Matched Pairs % Matched Pairs
1 637 155 482 319 66.18%
2 651 124 527 279 52.94%
3 352 93 259 108 41.70%
4 975 215 760 561 73.82%
5 1,207 257 950 691 72.74%
6 1,990 506 1,484 948 63.88%
7 1,214 237 977 626 64.07%
8 948 179 769 445 57.87%
9 1,096 238 858 401 46.74%
10 793 139 654 307 46.94%
11 2,282 453 1829 548 29.96%
12 1,275 298 977 483 49.44%
13 245 58 187 130 69.52%
14 710 215 495 326 65.86%
15 1,416 301 1,115 744 66.73%
16 702 185 517 304 58.80%
17 212 44 168 87 51.79%
18 362 73 289 198 68.51%
19 486 90 396 262 66.16%
20 444 110 334 161 48.20%
21 666 156 510 321 62.94%
22 393 84 309 73 23.62%
23 166 46 120 61 50.83%
24 172 46 126 86 68.25%
25 466 92 374 263 70.32%
Total 19,860 4,394 15,466 8,732 56.46%


Q29: Is the applicant required to submit a separate budget with each proposal?

A29: Yes. The budget is component of the proposal submitted by each applicant. In accordance with Section H. of the NOFO, a separate budget must be submitted with each application. The budget(s) MUST be submitted in the CSA system no later than 12:00 pm on Friday, August 24, 2018.
 

Q30: Regarding Section H. Mandatory Items Required for all Applicants #6, what documentation should be submitted by a Local Education Agency (LEA) to support the approved indirect cost rate?

A30: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has been given "delegation" rights by the Federal government to negotiate rates for LEAs/school districts within Illinois. No certification or entry into the State of Illinois Indirect Cost Rate Unit is needed. All required information will be automatically uploaded by ISBE on behalf of all the organizations it represents. Additional information for identifying the current indirect cost rate negotiated by ISBE on behalf of LEAs can be located on the ISBE website at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Indirect-Cost-Rate-Plan.aspx. Contact information is also included at that website. Each LEA wishing to claim indirect costs would submit information sufficient to substantiate the current applicable indirect cost rate negotiated by ISBE.


Q31: Relating to the Chart in Q&A 28: From what data period were these data points taken?

A31: The data was the SFY17 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) period reported in the Annual Performance Report for Indicator 3.
 

Q32: Regarding the column headings in the Chart at Q&A 28: The column headers state # active less than 6 months, # active more than 6 months, net. To calculate the net we would need a total # active during that given time period then subtract the # less than 6 months to give us the number that should have had matched pairs. Is this correct?

A32: Our apologies but the column headings were switched. The correct column headings are CFC (Number), Number of IFSPs active greater than six months, Number of IFSPs active less than six months, Net available, Number of Matched Pairs, Percentage of Matched Pairs. The Number of Active Greater Than 6 Months is the "gross" number. This has now been corrected in the chart provided at Q&A 28.


Taking the total number of IFSPs active more than 6 months, then subtracting IFSPs not active at least 6 months leaves the Net available that should have had both an entrance and exit Child Outcomes survey completed. Data in Cornerstone of cases that had both an entrance done timely (our reporting standard has always been no more than 45 days from the Initial IFSP) and an exit done timely (the policy is not greater than 120 days from the third birthday or exit (whichever is sooner)) is the calculation that provides the final number of matched pairs.
 

Q33: Regarding the Chart at Q&A 28: Are outgoing transfers removed from the total active?

A33: Termination reason of 11 (duplicate) and 14 (transfer) are removed prior to pulling the data for Indicator 3.
 

Q34: Regarding the Chart at Q&A 28: How are re-referrals being accounted for? We were previously told Cornerstone wasn't smart enough to know the difference between the initial AS03 entry versus the re-referral initial AS03 and subsequent matched pairs weren't aligning in the correct timeframes. How is this being handled?

A34: This is not considered in this calculation and has not been historically.


Contact Person:

Nick Marsters
IDHS, Bureau of Early Intervention
823 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Nick.Marsters@illinois.gov