The Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) oversees the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse and sought comments on proposed rule changes and clarifications for the existing standards and procedures for the Handbook of Standards and Procedures 2.0. The notice for comments was posted in the Federal Register, where a detailed explanation of proposed changes can be found.
During an initial feedback session and comment period, 104 commenters from a variety of state and local child welfare agencies, program and service developers, researchers and evaluators, non-profit organization staff, and more, left comments and suggestions for revision. In summary, these comments pointed towards revising procedures in Handbook Version 1.0 to better reflect the goals and requirements of the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
Some of the comments requested technical clarification regarding the definition of an available written protocol manual, or other documentation. Commenters recommended broadening the definitions of the program or service areas to be more inclusive for the types of programs and services eligible for review. The Handbook now specifies how members of the public can submit recommendations of programs or services for review or information about studies of those recommended programs and services to the Clearinghouse at any time.
The Clearinghouse intends to conduct additional activities to be responsive to public comments and support advancing equity efforts in accordance with the Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. Commenters recommended a number of revisions, such as broadening the definition of the program more or service areas to be more inclusive regarding the types of programs and services that may be eligible for review.
The Clearinghouse will also undertake the following changes to be responsive to the feedback it received:
- Display study participant characteristics on the program or service page of the Clearinghouse website.
- Develop two new reports focused on equity
- Enhanced activities for future public calls for program and service recommendations in order to comprehensively identify culturally adapted and culturally grounded programs and services that may be eligible for review.
- Revise its author Reporting Guide to clarify recommended reporting related to culturally adapted and culturally grounded programs and services and the characteristics of their participants.
- Revise existing resources for Clearinghouse users, such as its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) website section and fact sheet resources, with person-centered design principles to ensure information about the Clearinghouse and its standards and procedures are accessible.
- Publicly post all programs and services that have been recommended for review and will continue to explore additional ways to improve transparency such as through data sharing.
The Clearinghouse plans to apply the new standards and procedures upon publication of a final Handbook 2.0, with plans to notify the public via the Prevention Services Clearinghouse website and other avenues.
By Harper Dilley, Policy Intern