FY 2022 National Initiatives in Justice and Mental Health: Training and Technical Assistance for Grantees and the Field
During this webinar, which was held on May 16, 2022, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) personnel provided information about the FY 2022 National Initiatives in Justice and Mental Health: Training and Technical Assistance for Grantees and the Field funding opportunity. The presenters discussed the purpose and goals of this funding opportunity; reviewed its eligibility requirements; and addressed frequently asked questions. A Q&A session followed at the end of the presentation.
DARYL FOX: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar “National Initiatives in Justice and Mental Health: Training and Technical Assistance for Grantees and the Field,” hosted by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. At this time, I’d like to introduce Maria Fryer, Policy Advisor with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, for some welcoming remarks and to begin the presentation. Maria?
MARIA FRYER: Thank you, Daryl, and welcome, everybody. It’s great to be here with you and with our OJP colleagues today, and next, we will have the agenda. So now that you know the speakers, we’ll go through the agenda very quickly here and provide you with a quick overview of OJP and then a little bit about the Bureau of Justice Assistance and our mission. After that today, we will provide you with a brief overview of the program solicitation itself, the legislation citations, the goals, objectives, and deliverables. And then to follow, I will provide federal award information, information regarding eligibility, and resources and tools to help you with your applications, and last, we’ll stay on for some brief--a brief session for questions and answers.
So what is the Office of Justice Programs? The Department of Justice is committed to advancing work that promotes civil rights and racial equity, increases access to justice, supports crime victims and individuals impacted by the justice system, strengthens community safety, and protects the public from crime and evolving threats and builds trust between law enforcement and the community. Within DOJ, the Office of Justice Programs supports communities to successfully design and implement best practice programs and evidence practices through the offices that you see on this slide: the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office for Victims of Crime, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the SMART Office--the Office on Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. BJA specifically supports this goal by strengthening services to victims; advancing the practice of community policing and collaborative approaches to behavioral health; implementing state-of-the-art strategies for crime control and prevention by law enforcement officers in states, cities, and neighborhoods; and by expanding research, training, and technical assistance to inform programming and improve and enhance service delivery in communities. Next slide, please, Sarah.
So a little bit about BJA’s mission and OJP’s goals overall. BJA is proud to support our nation’s state, local, and tribal criminal justice agencies with the express purpose of reducing crime and strengthening communities. One of the most important ways that we do this is through training and technical assistance to support local efforts. We do our best to design programs that are responsive to real-world challenges. It is important that you do not procrastinate once the solicitation is open. We look forward to seeing all the applications, and it’s important to get the application in according to the deadlines and to get a good review of your application. Next slide.
Program Overview. Almost 2 million times a year, a person with a mental illness or a mental health condition or co-occurring condition will be put in jail, often for longer periods than those without mental health conditions. This is not only a problem for the individual person but also for the justice system and entire communities. Overall, we know that this population has significant health needs, high risk for recidivism, and high cost to communities. Program planning and implementation for people with complex needs require more than grant funding alone can provide. It requires expert training and technical assistance to design and implement a best practice program that demonstrates positive impact on the problem. Effective best practice programming can help prevent public health and public safety issues such as people with behavioral health conditions experiencing homelessness and multiple encounters with law enforcement. Effective best practice training and technical assistance for criminal justice professionals and their community service partners improves outcomes for people with behavioral health conditions and enhances safety for first responders and allocates treatment resources and public safety resources informed by practitioners and supported by data. This multicategory solicitation is intended to assist funded and nonfunded communities to use BJA’s resources to improve and enhance criminal justice system responses to people with mental health and other disabilities such as developmental disabilities and dementia. Looking at the statutory categories, 1, 2, and 3 are actually all under the same statutory authority that legislates and appropriates for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, which you might be familiar with, and Category 4 is a separate appropriation as is Category 5 for the Kevin and Avonte Program.
So the National Initiatives Program is wide open to a variety of agencies who may have the capacity to serve on a national level. The five categories are the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Grant Program and support for the--for the grantees under that program; the Connect and Protect Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Responses Program, known as Connect and Protect, and the grantees under that program; the Law Enforcement Services for Improved Agency Operations, Policies, and Response to People With Mental Health Disorders and Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, which supports state and local capacity to build jurisdictions in the field--and this is a new capacity this year--this is a new category--excuse me--this year; the Collaborative Crisis Response and Intervention Training Program and grantees that are funded under that program; and the Kevin and Avonte Program: Reducing Injury and Death of Missing Individuals with Dementia and Developmental Disabilities. Next slide.
So the goals and objectives. The first one that we’ll talk about is the Justice and Mental Health Category 1, and this category seeks applications to provide training and technical assistance for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program; site-based grantees; and state- and local-based capacity building for jails, prosecutors, courts, and corrections. So a little bit about the goals and objectives for the Justice and Mental Health category. The goal of this category is to assist and provide comprehensive training and technical assistance to grantees and the field to facilitate cross-system collaboration among the criminal justice, mental health, and substance use treatment systems and services to increase access to mental health treatment, recovery supports, and needed services for individuals with mental health disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Training and technical assistance will specifically focus on JMHCP site-based grantees, assisting individuals to be diverted from the justice system and those moving through the criminal justice system, including those individuals in jails, in the prosecutor’s office, court, and community treatment supervision such as probation and parole. The objectives under this category are to provide direct assistance to an anticipated 40 active JMHCP grantees awarded in the fall of 2022 and develop resources for the field, including unfunded communities, that need assistance to improve or enhance Justice and mental health collaboration. Another objective is to provide individualized efficient and consistent delivery of training and technical assistance to help grantees meet their federally funded program objectives and achieve a sustainable program at the end of their project period. And last, to assist grantees that are interested to learn about and develop a uniform program evaluation. The provider shall routinely engage grantees on their evaluation activity process, including data collection, providing guidance on the evaluation plan to ensure quality design, relationship and feedback from evaluators, and evaluation plan progress.
So next, on to Category 2. This category is for the Connect and Protect grantees, and we seek applications to provide training and technical assistance for the Connect and Protect Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response grantees. Next slide. The goals and objectives for this Category 2 are the TTA provider will focus on assisting law enforcement and their behavioral health, mental health, and substance use, and social service provider partners to design, develop, and implement model response programs. The objectives under this category are to provide direct training and technical assistance to Connect and Protect law enforcement behavioral health site-based grantees and resources to law enforcement agencies and community service partnerships to plan and implement a model law enforcement behavioral health response. Also to provide individualized efficient and consistent delivery of TTA to help grantees meet their federally funded program objectives and also achieve sustainable program at the end of the project period and again to assist grantees if they’re interested in learning about evaluation.
The next category. The next category, Category 3, is where BJA seeks applications to provide training and technical assistance to Enhance Law Enforcement Services for Improved Agency Operations, Policies, and Response to People With Mental Health Disorders and Mental Health Substance Use Disorders, supporting state/local capacity building for jurisdictions and the field. The goals and objectives for this Category 3. The TTA provider will improve, implement, and/or operationalize with funded and unfunded sites best practice within law enforcement and responses through the establishment of protocols and processes to improve the response to people with mental health disorders and co-occurring mental health substance use disorders, through both 911 and 988 calls for assistance by building dispatch capacity; and also through the assistance to justice and behavioral health agencies to implement best practice policies related to responding to people with mental health conditions and co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions; and also through the facilitation and coordination of BJA’s law enforcement and mental health peer learning sites and other peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Also, through the assistance to departments, to identify, code, and count calls for service, resulting in a national count in the number of calls for service to inform policy involving people with mental health disorders and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders to also aid in the development and creation of topically relevant law enforcement resources pertaining to reducing unnecessary citizen contact with the criminal justice system; and then also the creation and resource repository and coordination of BJA-supported law enforcement-related TTA providers, including those that support JMHCP, the Collaborative Crisis Response Intervention Training Program, the Comprehensive Opioid Stimulant and Substance Abuse Program--known as COSA Program--and the Student Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence or STOP Program. So basically, the last objective there is--or goal there is to coordinate the efforts of all of those behavioral health training and technical assistance efforts.
So on to some of the objectives. To provide direct TTA, expert consultation, and written resources to support law enforcement agencies and the field with specialized services to enhance or improve agency operations, policies, and programming that impact responses to people with mental health conditions and co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions. Also to establish a national call center to receive TTA requests, to coordinate BJA’s 14 law enforcement mental health learning sites, to identify and code and count calls for service involving people with mental health conditions, to understand their prevalence and response rates, to help improve process in responding to those calls for service, and then to increase capacity building for 911 and 988 coordination. Then also to explore and enhance, implement and coordinate with other behavioral health response programs to help support law enforcement agencies. Okay. Now we’re going to move on to the Crisis Response and Intervention Training Program, and I’m going to hand it over to my colleague Elissa Rumsey.
ELISSA RUMSEY: Thank you so much for that Maria, and I would just maybe point people back to the solicitation that we’re discussing right now. I believe Maria was going over the goals and objectives for Categories 1, 2, and 3, and as Maria mentioned, I’ll be chatting about Category 4, the Collaborative Crisis Response category, which if memory serves there’s about $2.25 million available for this Category 4. Trying to scroll back up and fact-check myself. Yes, 2.250 is available for this category, and then if you go back to page 7 of the solicitation--hopefully you all have a copy of that--you can see for Category 4 what we’re hopeful the applicants will be able to do should they decide to submit and compete for this category of funding. Essentially, drilling down to the very basics, we have a bunch of subgrantees right now, law enforcement entities, who need assistance in implementing effective collaborative crisis responses. So this is all publicly available information. You can see who these grantees are on our website. You can also see on our website that we have a solicitation currently open for local and state law enforcement entities to apply to become a subgrantee to join our current pool of subgrantees. So I just note that, as an example of how if you want to learn more about who this TA in Category 4 would be provided to, you may want to have a look at that solicitation, which is called BJA Fiscal Year 2022 Collaborative Crisis Response and Intervention Training Program. And that’s for $5 million, whereby we’re anticipating making about 20 more subawards to state or local law enforcement entities to do collaborative crisis response, as Maria has already pretty well described.
So, with that said, I think you all can see what the goals and objectives are in terms of what we hope a TA provider would do in terms of working very directly and closely with state and local law enforcement entities that receive awards from us to implement effective crisis response programmings. I trust many of you are probably familiar with the various response models in play now that law enforcement are utilizing to ensure that they’re able to work effectively with people in the community who may have developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, behavioral health issues, so on and so forth. So BJA is really committed to using the great amount of funding that Congress has provided to support and assist state and local law enforcement entities in enhancing their training, and technique, and approach with people in the community who may present in a way that is not traditional and in ways that we now know a whole lot about in terms of evidence and approaches that might effectively ensure justice happens, at that sort of very individual community level.
So that was sort of a long-winded way of saying Category 4 we’re looking for a TA provider to work. really closely with state and local law enforcement entities who will be receiving funds from BJA, some of whom are currently receiving funds, to help ensure that their police agencies have the most up-to-date research and training and techniques available to effectively work with community members who might be in crisis or who are in crisis. With that, I think the next slide might be for Kristie Brackens, my esteemed colleague from BJA, who hopefully was able to have less trouble than I connecting to this system and is ready to share with you about this amazing program that she oversees, Kevin and Avonte.
KRISTIE BRACKENS: Thank you, Elissa. Good afternoon, everyone. I hope everyone can hear me clearly. As Elissa said, I’m Kristie Brackens, and I oversee a small but important portion of our justice and mental health portfolio, the training and technical assistance portion that supports the Kevin and Avonte Program. Next slide, please.
So the Kevin and Avonte Program is really aimed at helping families locate loved ones with Alzheimer’s or autism or any sort of related conditions that are prone to wandering. The program came in existence because of the problems that we tend to see with individuals who are prone to wandering, whether it be, you know, adults or children. And so, you know, Congress passed legislation, which then funded a grant program that aims at working with law enforcement, public safety agencies, nonprofit organizations to help them do some proactive programming to prevent wandering but also funds locator technology, as well, to aid in the successful recovery of these individuals who are prone to wandering. So that’s what the Kevin and Avonte grantee program does. This particular category, though, funds the training and technical assistance that supports the programs that are funded under the Kevin and Avonte Program. Next slide.
So 2018 is when this happened, and, you know, I should have mentioned this. You know, the Kevin and Avonte Program is actually named for two juveniles that actually went wandering, and unfortunately, both of those children drowned. And it’s unfortunately all too common that the Kevin and Avonte stories tend to still be common, and so that’s why we have the Kevin and Avonte Program and the training and technical assistance to support that program. Next slide. So when we look at the goals and objectives, I kind of already stated what they are, but, you know, the goal, of course is to support the grantee sites. Some of the things that we hope that the TTA provider that is selected will be able to do is help the grantees that are funded under the Kevin and Avonte Program develop systems or implement policies that prevent wandering, that increase knowledge, not only public knowledge but law enforcement knowledge, that aids in the successful and faster recovery of individuals that go missing. We also want to work with them on developing community education campaigns, raising public awareness that can also aid in preventing wandering and facilitating the safe return of individuals who are prone to wander should they wander away, and then we also want to work with the sites that are funded under the grantee program to develop, you know, partnerships with schools, partnerships with nonprofit agencies, public health organizations to implement these programs. Also, looking at how they use technology and other strategies in this space, in this program, and so those are the goals and objectives of the program. The TTA provider is really there to support the Kevin and Avonte grantees and then do the overall public education and awareness. Next slide.
So I already kind of talked about this. Under the Kevin and Avonte grantee side, we fund the proactive programs that I mentioned, and we fund the locative technology programs. And so as a TTA provider, you would be working to support grantees that are funded under one or two of these categories. We tend to fund about 14 sites every year. Next slide. So with that, I will take it back over to Maria to talk about the deliverables for all the categories.
MARIA FRYER: Great. Thank you, Kristie. Thank you for the great description of those programs. I’m sure that our applicants will find it very helpful. So regarding the deliverables, with five categories, as you can imagine, they each have a number of deliverables, quite a few, and it would take a lot of time to go through all of them. But if you look on this slide, in the bullets, you’ll see that there are three deliverables that apply to all categories, 1 through 5, and the first one is about, you know, who is coming on board as subrecipient, you know, and what type of subject matter expertise do they bring. That’s very important. Also, the second bullet is really about the importance of coordinating with BJA’s NTTAC and tracking progress. And then the third bullet--and what we expect from all categories--from applicants in all categories, 1 through 5, is to maintain a dedicated project website. And so you have those bullets there that apply to categories 1 through 5. And then I would suggest for more information on each specific category where you could read the deliverables for categories 1 through 5, they begin on page 8 of the solicitation. So the deliverables for each category begin on page 8.
Regarding federal award information, BJA expects to receive between 15 and 20 applications in the FY 2022 program solicitation and will have approximately $8.6 million available for awards. BJA expects to make awards under the solicitation as cooperative agreements, which provide for OJP to have a substantial involvement in carrying out award activity. You can learn more about cooperative agreements by reading the “Administrative, National Policy, and Other Legal Requirements” and also in the Financial Guide. Next slide.
Regarding eligibility. So eligible applicants. Eligible applicants are nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education. Eligible applicants are also nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education. Eligible applicants are for-profit organizations, other than small businesses, and also eligible applicants are private institutions of higher education and also, finally, public and state-controlled institutions of higher education. For all categories, eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations including tribal organizations and for-profit commercial and tribal organizations; also faith-based and community organizations; and institutions of higher education, including tribal institutions of higher education.
Next is some important criteria to consider. So under this solicitation, training and technical assistance solicitations generally do not contain OJP priority consideration. Applicants may receive priority consideration if their proposal addresses the tenets of digital trust, and that basically means how technology will be used, how personnel will be trained on that technology, the policies that are in place governing its use, and how to increase public safety with the use of digital technology. Also, how civil rights and civil liberties will be safeguarded for the project period. Next slide.
This next slide is regarding the basic minimum requirements for application. So minimally, the application must contain an abstract, a narrative, a budget narrative, worksheet narrative, MOU--which is a memorandum of understanding or a memorandum of agreement, which is sometimes referred to as an MOA--or letters of support. Just want to make sure that we note here that for Category 5, applicants that come in under Category 5 must have an MOU, or a memorandum of understanding, as an attachment. This is really important. Basic minimum requirements are very important because those will be reviewed at the first screening to determine whether or not the application will go any further in the peer review process. Next slide.
So merit review criteria. Other than important review factor considerations for BJA, we think of things like geographic diversity; strategic priorities, specifically included but not limited to technological enhancements; the priority area already mentioned, which for this solicitation is the digital trust piece; and available funding. All of these things come into play when we make a determination. Past performance has a role, past funding utilization, how well the funds are used in past awards, history, of product impact, and the extent to which the budget worksheet and budget narrative accurately explain project costs that are reasonable, necessary, and otherwise allowable under federal law and applicable federal cost principles. So all of those things have to come together in the best way possible. In consideration of the review process, applications submitted under the solicitation that meet the basic minimum requirements will be evaluated for technical merit by a peer review panel in accordance with OJP peer review policy and procedures using the review criteria listed above.
OJP screens applications to ensure they meet the basic minimum requirements prior to conducting the peer review. Although specific requirements may vary, the following are common requirements applicable to all OJP solicitations. So the application must be submitted by an eligible type of applicant. The application must request funding within programmatic funding constraints, so we list within the solicitation the maximum amount that you can apply for. And the application must be responsive to the scope of the solicitation. So what are we asking you to do in the goals and objectives, and is that narrative responsive to those goals and objectives. And then the application must include all items necessary to meet the basic minimum requirements, and that’s why we went over that so carefully.
OK. Next slide are the helpful resources available for grant applicants. So here we have the two-step process, the first one, beginning with grants.gov, which provides technical assistance with getting started, and this is where you’ll be submitting the Application for Federal Assistance, known as the SF-424. There’s another SF there, LLL, I’m not as familiar, but this is where you begin, with Grants.gov. And on the Grants.gov site, there’s also lots of technical assistance there like Grants 101 and other helpful listings to help you get started. The next slide.
The next step in the application process is the JustGrants customer support--well, as a resource to help you is the customer support and hotline and email, but that is the next step where the application goes. So if you notice on this slide, it does state submitting the full application in DOJ’s JustGrants system. And again, the full application is this two-part process: one beginning in Grants.gov with the SF-424 and then moving on to JustGrants, where you will attach all of those required attachments. And if you go to the back of--the very back of the solicitation, you’ll see a review checklist, which is really helpful when you’re applying, just using that checklist. We put that there so it’s just a helpful tool to run down a list and make sure that you have all the required attachments uploaded into JustGrants. There’s a lot of documents often required with a federal grant or federal application, so it’s really helpful to have a checklist. OK.
Next slide is the OJP Response Center, and so here--there’s actually two resources here. For general assistance from OJP, you would contact the OJP Response Center for general questions, maybe not specific to JustGrants but just general questions, and then the Justice Info newsletter. And this is the funding newsletter email subscription that’s very helpful in talking about what’s available and how to submit an application.
The next slide is resources for FY 2022 grant applicants, and these are available online, and all of these resources can be referenced throughout the performance period of the program. Oftentimes, a lot of the resources we provide can help you throughout the life of the cooperative agreement, specifically, some of the federal registrations that do need to stay current such as the SAM registration. So having these resources handy and referring to them often will really keep you informed along the way. Next slide.
The BJA Grant Applicant Education Series--this is just another helpful resource in your tool belt that enables you to access previous webinar recordings, transcripts, and other types of slides you can visit. It could include this webinar, once it’s concluded and archived because it is being recorded, so you can go back. If there’s something you missed or you want to share it with somebody in your office, you can certainly do that. In addition to other recordings that may be of interest, you can peruse those on BJA’s website, and then the next slide is about becoming a peer reviewer. We at BJA need lots of subject expertise in reviewing grant applications, and we just encourage you to think about that as a practitioner as someone who’s been working in the field a long time. You can offer your expertise in grant application review, and we would love to have you.
OK. So the last slide is a reminder of these dual deadlines. Again, I can’t state it enough. It’s super important, step one and step two. Step one is to submit that SF-424 in Grants.gov, and step two is to submit the full application with all of your attachments where you’re going to go to the back of the solicitation and run down that reviewer’s checklist and submit all your attachments. I’m being very deliberate about saying that because there’s nothing worse than someone who has worked very hard on an application and I see that they’ve missed something on a basic minimum requirement list, so that’s where the redundancy comes from. OK. So two deadlines, Grants.gov, JustGrants, and also please note that this year there is a different submission time than last year. So be mindful of that, as well.
So that concludes sort of the--all of the informational--actually, we have one more slide. Sorry about that. We do. We have a social media slide. So here are some good locations and sites for additional information. You can subscribe, and you can connect. So bja.ojp.gov is a good one to bookmark. I encourage you to do that. Oh, we have one more slide after this actually. Quick reference. Important contacts. So here we have solicitation content assistance, we have Grants.gov assistance, and we have JustGrants assistance, as well. And I think I would bookmark these, as well. Oftentimes, I bookmark these for myself just so that I can see what you’re seeing in the event that we have to offer assistance, and there’s lots of assistance available. I encourage you to take full advantage of that as you’re submitting your application.
So now we are truly to the point of questions and answers. So, I’ll hand it over--great.
DARYL FOX: OK. So just a reminder, as Maria did mention, that the recorded PowerPoint and transcript for today will be posted to the BJA website. So if you need to go back and look at something, reference the PowerPoint, you’ll be able to do so. We’ll send an email out to all the registrants for today when those have been posted. If you do have a question, at the far bottom right, you’ll see 3 dots. Click that. In there, there’s a Q&A box, and just send to all panelists. I can coordinate those and go through those as they’re entered. So for now, there’s one question in queue for the panel. “For Category 3, are construction costs for mental health wings in county jails an allowable cost?”
MARIA FRYER: OK. I would please check to the federal financial guide, but construction costs are typically unallowable. These are really specifically for providing training and technical assistance, but again, I, you know, would ask you to--there’s the broad federal financial guide that has rules and regulations around allowable costs, and then when you go to the solicitation, those are the more programmatic allowable costs. And so I would encourage you to look at the goals, look at the objectives, and then look at the deliverables under Category 3.
DARYL FOX: Nothing else in the queue at this time. We’ll just wait a few more moments. If something does come to mind, go ahead and enter that in the Q&A. I’ll also put this slide up. It was up earlier, the quick reference. If you do have any questions about solicitation content assistance, you can call the OJP Response Center. Grants.gov for those forms, 424 and LLL, and then anything with application technical assistance within the JustGrants system, that’s available, too. As Maria mentioned, there’s a variety of different training resources, step-by-step guides to help you through that process.
And then a particular person did ask about system downtime perhaps for grants.gov and JustGrants. We’ll go ahead and try to--OK.
MARIA FRYER: Yes. That will be returning back up online May 18. It was out, I believe, May 13 through 18, but do check.
DARYL FOX: Yep. That’s perfect. That’s what she had asked. Yep. 13 to 18.
MARIA FRYER: Yeah.
DARYL FOX: OK. So that seems to be all that’s come in.
MARIA FRYER: OK.
DARYL FOX: Is there anything in closing, Maria, you wanted to mention?
MARIA FRYER: Just want to say the best of luck to all potential applicants. Please read the solicitation from cover to cover. I know it seems like an obvious thing, but I oftentimes have to go back myself. There’s just so much information in there. So, I just encourage you to read through this solicitation, use the reviewer checklist in the back, and also, please take advantage of the resources that we’ve provided, and then I hope to see your application. Thank you for your participation and your attendance today. Thank you.
DARYL FOX: Great. So on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Assistance and our panelists, we want to thank you for joining today’s webinar. This will conclude today’s presentation.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.