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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Rights in Systems Enforced (RISE) Project - FAQ

General Questions:

Q:     What is the anticipated duration of the Clinics to be funded under the RISE Project? 

A:      Selected sites will enter into a subaward contract with NCVLI and will receive subaward funding anticipated to start in spring 2019 and continue through August 31, 2021.

Q:     How much money will be subawarded to each selected site?

A:     NCVLI anticipates awarding up to six subawards in amounts up to $1,000,000 each.  These funds are for the entire project period (i.e., from time of subaward execution and continuing through August 31, 2021).

Q:     The RFP has two purpose areas, can I submit an Application for both areas?

A:     No.  A lead applicant can only submit one Application and must clearly designate under which purpose the Application is submitted. A lead applicant applying to expand an established rights’ enforcement direct legal services practice should submit under Purpose Area 1. A lead agency applying to establish a new rights enforcement direct legal services practice should apply under Purpose Area 2. See RFP page 2.

Q:     Who will provide technical assistance and training to subgrantees?

A:     NCVLI will provide technical assistance and training throughout the life of the RISE Project. 

Q:     What types of technical assistance and training will be made available?

A:     Programmatic development and management, legal, and other technical assistance will be provided.

Q:     What ongoing obligations do rights enforcement Clinics have to NCVLI/OVC?

A:      In addition to federal funding obligations, sites will be required to regularly collaborate with each other and with NCVLI through participation in regular check-in telephone calls, technology-assisted meetings, technology-assisted trainings, site visits, in-person trainings, data collection and evaluation efforts, submission of reports and sharing of pleadings submitted. 

Q:     What types of entities are eligible to apply for the RISE Project subaward?

A:     Eligible applicants are limited to private nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit organizations), faith- and community-based organizations, colleges and universities (including tribal institutions of higher education), and public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribal governments (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), or tribal organizations that can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of civil legal representation for crime victims and the range of services needed; and the capacity to partner with other organizations and key stakeholders to deliver comprehensive, seamless legal services to victims.  A private nonprofit organization does not have to have 501(c)(3) status to apply for funding under this solicitation.

Q:     Does a subgrantee have to provide direct legal representation or can they provide non-legal consultation and referrals to local legal services?

A:     The subaward must fund the provision of direct legal representation to aid victims with enforcement of their rights in criminal proceedings and advocacy on the collateral civil matters that result from their victimization. So long as a funded project partner(s) will provide direct legal services, the lead applicant does not have to be the one that provides direct legal services.  The Project budget must, however, have at least 1.0 FTE of direct legal service provision attorney time dedicated to the Project.

Q:     Who can the clients be? Does the Project need to serve all crime victims or is it okay if it only serves one victim community?

A:     The Project does not require subgrantees to serve all crime victim populations.  It does require the subgrantees to provide direct legal representation to aid victims with enforcement of their rights in criminal proceedings and advocacy on the collateral civil matters that result from their victimization without client eligibility criteria beyond status as a crime victim (e.g., no income eligibility criteria).

Q:     Can proposals include assistance for civil legal issues affecting victims of crime, such as divorce, custody and immigration?

A:     The primary purpose of the RISE Project is provision of legal assistance to assert and seek enforcement of rights in a criminal case.  If a Project client has collateral civil legal needs related to their victimization and provision of legal services on those issues is in aid of asserting or seeking enforcement of their rights in a criminal case such services may be provided. 

Q:     Is assistance only for low-income communities? And, if yes, what is the income threshold?
A:     No. Subgrantees are not required to use the subaward funds only for low-income communities; there is no income threshold and in fact no income eligibility requirements should be used. The Application should discuss the targeted community’s need for the services.

Q:     Can the subgrantee charge clients for legal services?
A:     No. Subgrantees should not charge clients for legal services but are required to use the subaward to fund internal staff and Project partner(s) providing direct legal representation.

Q:     Is there an advantage if the Project is state-wide in scope (e.g., assists victims in numerous jurisdictions) vs regional in scope?

A:     No. Each Application should identify who will be served by the program and explain how the program will provide new or expanded rights enforcement legal services.

Q:     May more than one entity collaborate to work as one proposed program and submit one Application for the RISE Project subaward?

A:     Yes.  The Application materials should identify the lead applicant and partner entities joining in the Application. A lead applicant may apply in only one of the two purpose areas.

Q:     Will more weight be given to Applications that have multiple community partners?

A:     Each Application should identify the partners necessary to achieve the goals of the proposed program. Because each community to be served is unique, each Application will be reviewed to see if the partners identified will aid successful achievement of all goals and objectives in the targeted community.

Q:     We have capacity for internal program evaluation; is it necessary to conduct an external evaluation?

A:     No. Subgrantees are not expected to conduct an external evaluation of their own program. Subgrantees are expected to cooperate and collaborate with NCVLI’s evaluation of the RISE Project, including collecting data that will be used to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Examples of these units of measure include: (1) number, nature, scope and court level of victim representations on rights enforcement and collateral legal matters; (2) types of victimization and demographics of victims receiving legal services; (3) number of hours provided by the program and any pro or low bono attorneys conducting each type of program activity (e.g., direct representation, education, outreach); (4) number of outreach/education events; and (5) number of prosecutors, criminal justice professionals, law students, attorneys, local bar associations and other professionals educated/trained on victims’ rights.  Performance measures must do more than describe the delivered activity, service or product; instead they must measure the impact of the Project. Examples of these measures include: (1) impacts of representation (e.g., client satisfaction, client well-being); (2) knowledge gained; (3) satisfaction data; (4) new capacities, collaborations or improved responses to victims; (5) new policies and protocols for serving victims in the community; and (6) other measures of the Project’s benefit to the field of victim legal services.” RFP at p. 5.

Q:     Are formal memoranda of understanding (MOU) between Project partners required?

A:     While formal MOUs are not required at the Application phase they will be expected during Project execution.

Q:     If direct legal services (such as attorney services) are not provided by lead applicant organization may those services (e.g., attorney services) be provided by a partner and costs specified in the budget?

A:     Yes.

Q:     Can you reference any best practice models that we should consider before submitting Application?

A:     Victims who have legal needs are often best able to assist with their own legal representation when served by an agency that has both legal and social/mental health services (e.g., an attorney & social work team).  Notably, however, because each jurisdiction has unique needs and laws, the hope is that applicants will propose a model best suited to the community or communities which they seek to serve in order to provide crime victims with access to legal representation to assert and enforce their rights throughout criminal justice processes.

Q:     When is the letter of intent (LOI) for applying for the RISE Project subaward due?

A:     The LOI is due no later than February 11, 2019. Submitting an LOI via an online form is optional but will help NCVLI gauge the number and diversity of areas in anticipated submissions.

Q:     We missed the deadline to submit a letter of intent (LOI) to apply. Are we still eligible to apply?

A:     Yes.  The Application period is open to all until 5:00pm (Pacific) on March 5, 2019, irrespective of submission of a LOI.

Q:     Are we bound by what we submitted in the letter of intent (LOI) (e.g., lead agency name)?

A:     No.  You are not bound by what you submitted in the LOI.  Please submit the most complete Application possible.

Q:     Is it possible to get more information about the RISE Project before applying?

A:     Yes.  A pre-application informational webinar will be hosted on February 8, 2019 at 12:00pm (Pacific).  Participation is optional. A recording of the informational webinar is now available online.

Q:     Do I have to attend the informational webinar in order to submit an application?

A:     No, participation is optional.

Q:  We missed the webinar. Can we still access the information shared during that webinar before applying?

A:   A recording of the informational webinar is available online for those who could not attend.

Q:   Will slides from the informational webinar be emailed to attendees?

A:   A recording of the webinar will be uploaded to the Project Webpage as soon as it is available.

Q:     How does this type of legal service fit with Legal Services Corporation (LSC) programs? Have you had programs funded by LSC do this type of work?

A:     The primary purpose of the RISE Project is provision of legal services to assert and seek enforcement of rights in a criminal case.  Programs may also provide legal services that address collateral civil legal needs arising out of the victimization in aid of asserting or seeking enforcement of their rights in a criminal case.  There have been LSC organizations that have received OVC funding in the past and have done rights enforcement work using those funds, most notably with the Wraparound Victim Legal Assistance Project.  Each LSC-funded program did an analysis of the law and of their own organizational structure to confirm they could use the funds for these purposes.

Q:     Will subawardees be expected to provide legal services to a minimum number of victims during the Project? 

A:     No. There is no requirement to serve a specific number of victims or a numerical basis of evaluation of the services to be provided.

Q:     If an organization is new, are they eligible to apply?

A:     Yes. While an Applicant must demonstrate that the Project as a whole has prior experience in either Purpose Area 1 (i.e., rights enforcement) or Purpose Area 2 (i.e., victim legal services generally), there is no requirement that the lead applicant itself be a pre-existing organization.  As noted in the RFP, organizations providing civil legal assistance to crime victims seeking to establish new rights enforcement legal services, should apply under Purpose Area 2.

Q:     Can an agency be part of two applications submitted by two different lead agencies?

A:     Yes. While a lead agency can only apply under one of the two Purpose Areas, organizations that partner with a lead agency can be included in more than one Application.

Q:     We anticipate that some of our referrals will be human trafficking cases. Can we serve victims of labor trafficking that are not charged in criminal court, but in administrative or civil litigation?

A:     The primary purpose of the RISE Project is provision of legal assistance to assert and seek enforcement of rights in a criminal case.  If a Project client has collateral civil legal needs related to their victimization and provision of legal services on those issues is in aid of asserting or seeking enforcement of their rights in a criminal case such services may be provided.

Q:     Can you expand on types of legal services beyond services for survivors which NCVLI has emphasized in the past?

A:      The primary purpose of the RISE Project is provision of legal assistance to assert and seek enforcement of rights in a criminal case.  If a Project client has collateral civil legal needs related to their victimization and provision of legal services on those issues is in aid of asserting or seeking enforcement of their rights in a criminal case such services may be provided.

Q:      The PDF of the RFP indicates the Letter of Intent is due February 8 but the Project Website states February 11. Will you accept LOIs on Monday, February 11?

A:      Yes, LOIs will be accepted on February 11.

Q:      Is there any limitation on the kinds of partners or actors involved in the Project?

A:      No, the only limitation is that any partner or actor that will receive federal funds be eligible to receive federal funds and comply with all federal regulations as well OJP’s financial policies and procedures.

How To Apply:

Q:     How do I apply?

A:     The preferred method of submission is completion of the online Application form.

These two alternative means of applying exist:

(1)    Email an Application to: ncvli@lclark.edu with a re: line of “Application for Rights Enforcement Clinic Project.”
(2)    Mail a completed Application to National Crime Victim Law Institute, Attn:  Rights Enforcement Grant, at 1130 SW Morrison St., Suite 200, Portland, Oregon 97205. 

Q:     When is the subaward Application due to NCVLI?

A:     Completed Applications must be received no later than 5pm (Pacific) on March 5, 2019.  This deadline is true regardless of the method of submission.

RFP Requirements

Q:     What are the formatting requirements for this Application?

A:     Each Application must include a Program Abstract, Program Narrative, Time-Task Plan, Logic Model, Program Budget, and required Appendices.

The Abstract should not exceed one side of one double-spaced, 8 ½ x 11-inch page with 1 inch margins on all four sides, and a type no smaller than standard 12-point Times New Roman font.

The Program Narrative may not exceed 20 pages and must be submitted on one side only of 8 ½ x 11-inch paper using double spacing, a minimum of 1-inch margins on all four sides, and a type no smaller than standard 12-point Times New Roman font.  The Narrative must include the following sections: (1) Description of Issue & Need; (2) Program Design & Implementation: (3) Capabilities & Competencies; and (4) Evaluation Methods. The Narrative page limit does not include the Abstract, Time-Task Plan, Logic Model, Program Budget or any Appendices. 

Key staff resumes, and federally negotiated indirect cost rate letters (if applicable) are required Appendices.  Optional Appendices include organizational resumes, organizational policies and procedures, and letters of support/memoranda of understanding.

Q:     Does the Program Narrative formatting requirements pertain to the other elements of the Application (i.e., Time Task Plan, Logic Model, Budget, Resumes, Letters of Support, etc.)?\

A:     Yes.  While the RFP expressly identifies the formatting requirements for the Program Narrative, all other elements of the application should follow the same page formatting requirements as much as is practical; specifically, one side only of an 8 ½ x 11-inch paper using double spacing, a minimum of 1-inch margins on all four sides, and a type no smaller than standard 12-point Times New Roman font.

Q:  The Time-Task Plan is not part of the Program Narrative page limit.  Where should the Time-Task Plan be placed in the Application?

A:  For applicants submitting using the online form, the Time-Task Plan will be uploaded as a separate file.  For all others, the Time-Task Plan can be submitted separately or combined with the Narrative. Applicants will not need to count the Time-Task Plan pages toward the 20 page limit for the Program Narrative.

Q:     Can we use a format of our choice for the Time-Task Plan required for the application?

A:     Yes, you may use the format of your choice.  There is, however, a sample Time Task Plan available online.

Q:     Is a logic model required?  If yes, what length and format are required and does it count against the page limit of the Narrative?

A:     Yes, a logic model is required.  Best practices in project development and management recommend use of a logic model.  The length and format of any submitted logic model is at the choice of the applicant and its inclusion will not count against the page limits of the Narrative. A sample Logic Model is available online.

Q:     Can we use a format of our choice for the logic model required for the application?

A:     Yes; however a sample logic model is available online.

Q:     Is the “Evaluation Method” included in the narrative page limit for the Narrative?
A:     Yes.  As noted in the RFP, the Program Narrative should include sections on (1) Description of Issue & Need; (2) Program Design & Implementation: (3) Capabilities & Competencies; and (4) Evaluation Methods. Therefore, the pages that address applicants’ plans concerning Evaluation Methods count toward the Program Narrative 20 page limit.

Q:     Can we submit supplemental materials to the Application (e.g., letters of support)?

A:      Yes.  Supplemental materials such as letters of support, memoranda of understanding, and organizational resumes are welcome but are not required.

Q:      Does the Times New Roman 12-point font requirement apply to footnotes and endnotes as well?
A:      Yes, the 12 point Times New Roman font requirement applies to endnotes and footnotes.

Q:     Do we need to page number each part of the application?

A:     Yes. Page numbers should be included for each part of the Application. The preferred format for page number is “Page X of Y”.

Q:     Is there a particular citation format that is preferred for theRISE Project Application Narrative?
A:     There is no preferred citation format.  Applicants can use the citation format for which they are most familiar.

Q:     Do references (e.g., footnotes) count against the Narrative page limit?

A:     Yes, the 20 page limit for the Program Narrative includes references for any Narrative content.

Q:     How specific do we need to be when identifying the jurisdictions to be covered?

A:     As noted in the RFP, applicants should identify the need for the program, the community being served and the courts in which rights enforcement efforts will be undertaken (e.g., state, federal, military, tribal). Being more specific regarding what the Project will do and for whom will be useful to reviewers.

Q:     The RFP indicates a public agency can apply, does this include a division of a state Attorney General’s Office?

A:     Yes.  Public agencies, including an Office of Attorney General may apply.  What is required is that the Project’s primary service (demonstrated by goals, objectives and budget) is provision of direct legal representation.  If a public agency is the applicant the application must discuss how direct representation through the project aligns with any applicable legal and professional ethics and conflicts rules that may apply.

Q:     During the informational webinar, it was stated that staff resumes are required, but other appendices are not. Which appendices are required and which are optional? 

A:     As noted in the RFP, required appendices include resumes of key staff and Federally Negotiated Indirect Rate documentation if applicable. Optional appendices include organizational resumes, letter of support, Memoranda of Understanding, and written organizational polices for intake, referrals, case selection and management, and governance relevant to the program.

Q:     The RFP mentions the use of an in-house trauma advocate (e.g., social worker, counselor, mental health professional) who works with victims under the attorney-client privilege umbrella. Is this a required position and must it be at the lead agency or can it be located at a paid partner organization?

A:     No, the trauma advocate is not a required position for the Project; however, victims who have legal needs are often best able to assist with their own legal representation when served by an agency that has both legal and social/mental health services (e.g., an attorney & social work team). Applicants should propose a model best suited to the community or communities which they seek to serve. The model can include a trauma-advocate at a partner organization. Regardless of structure, the applicant should describe how the model will protect attorney-client privilege.

Q:     On pg 5, under C. Time-Task Plan, it says “The plan should follow the same formatting requirements as the Program Narrative… “, however the sample/template Time-Task Plan is single spaced. Can you please further clarify the formatting requirements and if there is flexibility?

 A:     The Time-Task Plan should follow the formatting requirements for the Program Narrative as much as is practical. A sample Time Task Plan available online, however, applicants may use a format of their choice, which allows for flexibility of formatting.

 Q:     On pg 5, under C. Time-Task Plan, it says “provide for the submission of written progress reports which will be required quarterly and semi-annually”. Will these be different types of reports that need to be included in the time-task plan separately or is listing quarterly reports sufficient.

A:     There will be different questions asked quarterly and semi-annually, with the former including many more numeric data points than the latter.  The due dates for the semi-annual will coincide with two of the quarters.  Consequently, it is sufficient to note on the Time Task Plan that progress reports will be submitted quarterly.

Budget Questions:

Q:     Should the Budget be in a specific format?

A:     A Budget Detail Workbook template is available online. This Workbook is the required method for submitting a project budget.  

Q:        Are there any limitations on total of types of costs that can be included in the Budget?

A:        Yes, Applicants may apply for up to $1,000,000 in funding for the duration of the Project.  The Budget Detail Workbook indicates what categories of costs are allowable.  Applicants should submit a Budget that realistically represents the anticipated costs to achieve program goals and objectives.  Costs must comply with the federal government regulations, including the DOJ Grants Financial Guide and OJP’s Part 200 Uniform Requirements.  Costs may also comply with organizational financial policies and procedures as long as they do not conflict with federal regulations. 

Q:     When filling out the Budget Detail Workbook template are we to request funds for just the first year or for all years?
A:     The Budget must detail costs for the entirety of the Project. It is anticipated the Project will commence in spring 2019 and continue until August 31, 2021. Applicants should submit a Project budget for 30 months.  For each year of the Project, the lead agency will enter the budgeted items and their costs on the Budget Detail Workbook with a thorough justification for all costs, including the basis for computing the costs.

Q:     Are personnel costs allowed?

A:     Yes. As stated in the RFP, the Application must include a “Program Budget”. The Budget must detail all costs related to the activities proposed in the Application; and applicants must justify the costs of individual items, such as personnel, showing how the costs were computed.  The Project Budget must include personnel costs of at least 1.0 FTE of direct legal service provision attorney time dedicated to the Project.

Q:     We would like to request a legal assistant to support the staff attorney in providing legal services to victims of crime. Is this a cost that would be supported by the Project?
A:     Applicants may determine personnel at their discretion. Legal, administrative, trauma advocate (e.g., social worker, counselor, mental health professional), technology personnel and consultants are all permissible.  Applicants must justify the cost of any personnel in the Project Budget.

Q:     Can we use subgrant money to purchase hardware, software, and/or related technological services?

A:     Yes, as long as the purchases are used to achieve Project goals and objectives.

Q:     Should we budget funding for trainings?

A:     A Project Budget may include funding for internal and external training that an applicant identifies as necessary for achieving program goals and objectives. Training and technical assistance will also be provided by NCVLI and its Project partners throughout the Project at no cost to the subgrantee.  Applicants should consider including plan for attending/presenting at national victim law trainings such as NCVLI’s Crime Victim Law Conference.

Q:   Can indirect costs be included in the subaward budget?

 A:   Yes.  If applicants have a negotiated indirect cost rate that they are choosing to use such rate may be included in the budget and applicants should submit a complete copy of the rate letter from their cognizant federal agency as a supplement to the Application.  If the applicant does not have a negotiated indirect cost rate, a de minimis rate of 10% can be used, so long as eligibility for such rate is included in the Application.

Q:     Are indirect costs allowed?

A:     Yes.  If you have a negotiated indirect cost rate that can be included in your Budget. You must submit a complete copy of your rate letter in the Appendices as a supplemental material.

Q:     If we do not have an indirect cost rate is there a de minimis amount we can use?
A:     Yes, a de minimis rate of 10% can be used and should be explained in the Budget Narrative.

Q:     Does the Project budget have to allocate the same amount of funding across all three years or can it vary to recognize planning and set up?

A:     It can vary.  There is no requirement that the same amount of money be spent in each year. The budget detail worksheet and budget narrative should identify what costs will be incurred and what services will be provided and a justification for each. The allocations across the three years need to realistically represent the anticipated costs to achieve the goals and objectives of the project.

Q:     Is there a financial reporting frequency that needs to be included in the time task-plan?

A:     The frequency of financial reporting is anticipated to be monthly to allow for timely reimbursement of funds. Once Clinics have been selected, NCVLI is happy to work with each Clinic to determine if a different time period is more appropriate based upon a Clinic’s financial systems.  Minimally, however, there will be quarterly financial reporting.  Consequently, for purposes of the Time Task Plan please include quarterly reporting.

Selection & Contracting Process

Q:     How will the Applications be evaluated?

A:     NCVLI staff will review Applications for completeness and responsiveness to the solicitation.  Responsive Applications will then be reviewed by NCVLI and its external subject matter experts.  Recommendations will then be made to OVC who retains final selection authority.

Q:     Will priority be given to organizations that can provide rights enforcement in one jurisdiction, multiple jurisdictions or on a national basis?

 A: There is no prioritization based on these criteria. As noted in the RFP, each applicant should identify who will be served by the program, explain how the program will provide new or expanded rights enforcement legal services, and identify the best practice for serving survivors in the community being targeted.

Q:     When will NCVLI make a selection?

A:     NCVLI anticipates announcing subaward selections in April 2019.

Q:     Who will the selected sites contract with?

A:     The selected sites will enter into a subaward contract with NCVLI.

Q:     After selection decisions are made in April, when will the funding period begin?

A:     While we anticipate making selection decisions in April, the funding period will be contingent upon execution of subawards with the individual Clinics. Once subawards are fully executed, the individual Clinics can begin working on the Project.

For more information, please email NCVLI at ncvli@lclark.edu.  To expedite responses please include “Rights Enforcement RFP” in the re: line.

 

This Project is supported by Grant No. 2018-V3-GX-K018, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.