AmeriCorps State Annual Grantee Meeting July 24-26, 2013 Montgomery, Alabama
Overview What Governs us? Compliance with the AmeriCorps grant. Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) expectation of the Governor’s Office of Faith- Based and Volunteer Service(Serve Alabama) Serve Alabama Expectations of AmeriCorps grantees The expanded role of Serve Alabama as the State Service Commission
What Governs Us? Prior to October 1, 2009: NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE ACT OF 1990 (as amended through P.L. 106-170, approved 12-17-99) After October 1, 2009: Edward Kennedy Serve America Act “Serve America Act”
Edward Kennedy Serve America Act The Serve America Act reauthorizes and expands national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. As the nation's largest grant maker in support of service and volunteering, CNCS engages more than five million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities each year through the Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, VISTA, NCCC, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s call to service initiative, United We Serve.
Compliance Serve Alabama as the State Service Commission has the responsibility to ensure that programs are given resources, training and updates in regards to statutory and regulatory requirements of the AmeriCorps funds but ultimately the grantee is responsible for execution of the funds. Monitoring for compliance is a “check-up” from Serve Alabama for agencies but self monitoring should be an ongoing process. Compliance is a continuous process.
Serve Alabama Expectations Programs report in a timely and thorough manner *report good detailed data. *report extensions (reports are not considered late if submitted by the extension date. Programs communicate needs, expectations, problems and significant changes promptly. Programs (staff and members) attend Serve Alabama and CNCS sponsored trainings. Adhere to program contract executed by the State Service Commission.
Gap Solutions, Inc. www.AmeriCorpschildcare.com Online application submission AmeriCorps member checklist Provider checklist AmeriCorps child care Fact Sheet New forms (activity sheets, attendance logs, etc.) **Report ongoing problems and issues to the Commission.
Major changes because of the Healthcare Reform See SRC (Aetna Letter in your packet)
Navigating the Corporation’s System Refer to the CNCS Knowledge Network National Service Hotline
Necessary Documents for Effective Program Operation The NOFO, the CNCS Application Instructions and Serve Alabama Additional Instructions AmeriCorps Provisions (current) The Final Rule on the Serve America Act (www.cns.gov) Code of Federal Regulations “CFR”- online and searchable Serve Alabama AmeriCorps Policy Manual
Policy Manual - Document developed to assist Serve Alabama and programs with easy to find AmeriCorps policy Not an inclusive document (living document) Can be used as a basis for program to develop AmeriCorps State program policy manuals For example this document is a part of the overall Serve Alabama Policy Manual which is a supplemental document to the full Alabama State Policy and Personnel Manual Revised Version available at: www.ServeAlabama.gov/AmeriCorps (early September) www.ServeAlabama.gov/AmeriCorps Your program should have an AmeriCorps Policy Manual
National Service Criminal History Checks Under the Serve America Act (SAA), all grantees must conduct National Service Criminal History checks on participants and program employees in AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve, Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion and any other programs funded by the Corporation under National Service laws (Title 45 CFR Part 2540, Subpart B, Section 2540, 200-207).
National Service Criminal History Checks Beginning in April 21, 2011, programs will also be required to conduct FBI background checks 1.Sub-grantee agrees to search based on two (2) separate components of the criminal history check: a.A search (by name or fingerprint) of the State criminal registry for the State in which the program operates and the State in which the individual resides at the time of application; b.A National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) check is an eligibility requirement and must be completed prior to beginning of member contract.
National Service Criminal History Checks Definition: Accompaniment An individual is accompanied when he or she is in the physical presence of a person cleared for access to a vulnerable population. NSOPW WHAT The requirement to conduct the nationwide US Department of Justice National Sex Offender Registry Check (NSOPW) ( www.NSOPW.gov) became effective with the November 23, 2007 regulations. This is public information. No fees are charged. WHEN This must be completed (conducted, cleared, documented with dated printout) BEFORE the start of service. Covered individuals cannot begin counting their hours until this check is cleared. HOW This is a name based check. Results of nationwide NSOPW checks are dated screen prints of the results of the nationwide NSOPW search. You will need a government issued photo ID when adjudicating hits on a name. That result should also be annotated to document who confirmed that any hits are not the same persons as the candidate you are checking. You must document the adjudication and resolve all hits before enrollment. Note: The fields to enter are Last name then First name. Make sure to enter them correctly. Do not limit the search by doing the Advanced search. Do not enter a zip code, state or other limiting criteria. Perform the search multiple times if one or more states are not functioning at the time of the check. NSOPW single-state checks are not compliant checks. There is no allowance or exception to the nationwide NSOPW check and having a cleared individual accompany the individual has no bearing on the requirement to conduct the NSOPW check prior to service/work.
National Service Criminal History Checks State Repository Check(s) – Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) WHAT This check requires that you check both the State of residence and the State of service. The State of residence is determined at the time of application. WHEN These checks must be initiated no later than the start of service. Any service hours accrued prior to initiation are ineligible. HOW These checks must be obtained from the CNCS designated state repository. (http://www.nationalserviceresources.org/files/table-of-designated-state-repositories-and- alternatives-06-13.pdf) Results of the criminal information records are the actual criminal history rap sheets, or an adjudicated result from the official state repository or an FBI authorized recipient. Employees can start work/members service while State checks are pending but they cannot have access to vulnerable populations unless they are accompanied at all times by someone who has been cleared for access. Members that have been cleared can serve as accompaniers for other members whose criminal history checks are pending.
National Service Criminal History Checks FBI Check WHAT The check requires that you obtain a fingerprint based FBI check. For those who started on or after April 21, 2011 these checks are required and cannot be substituted in lieu of State check(s) when an individual in a covered position has recurring access to vulnerable populations. WHEN These checks must be initiated no later than the start of service. Any service hours accrued prior to initiation are ineligible. Results of the criminal information records are the actual criminal history rap sheets, or an adjudicated result from the official state repository or an FBI authorized recipient. Employees can start work/members service while FBI checks are pending but they cannot have access to vulnerable populations unless they are accompanied at all times by someone who has been cleared for access.
National Service Criminal History Checks Definition: Individual in a Covered Position All individuals serving in a covered position MUST undergo National Service Criminal History Checks. An Individual who receives a salary, stipend, living allowance, or a national service education award An individual in a covered position may be paid wholly from federal share, wholly from matching dollars, or from a mixture of federal and non-federal funds. The source of the funds has no impact on the status of a position as covered or not covered. Pay attention to any changes made after the budget is approved.
National Service Criminal History Checks Returning Members Returning members in an AmeriCorps State program who have been checked through the State criminal registry, are returning to the same program for a consecutive term and have no more than a 120 day break in service do not have to undergo a second State criminal history check. Consent An individual who refuses to consent to a State criminal registry check is not eligible to serve.
National Service Criminal History Checks Service without Clearance No applicant may have unsupervised access to vulnerable individuals until the results of his or her State criminal registry checks have been reviewed and verified by the program. A program may allow a member to begin their service but the following conditions must be met: A member may not have access to a vulnerable beneficiary without being accompanied by an authorized program representative who has been previously cleared to have such access.
National Service Criminal History Checks Disqualification Anyone convicted of murders defined and described in 18 U.S.C. §1111 is ineligible to serve. (October 1, 2009) Programs should develop criminal history check policies that are fair to the individual, protect the populations they serve and guard their organizations against liability.
National Service Criminal History Checks Disqualification Ineligible to Work or Serve in a Covered Position Anyone who refuses to undergo the Check may not serve. Anyone who makes a false statement in connection with a program’s inquiry concerning the individual’s criminal history is ineligible to serve. Anyone listed, or required to be listed, on a sex offender registry is ineligible to serve. (November 23, 2007).
National Service Criminal History Checks Cost CNCS considers the cost of a criminal history check a reasonable and necessary grant expense. Unless approved by CNCS, a Sub- grantee may not charge applicants for the cost of a criminal history check. Maintenance of National Service Criminal History Check Records Programs keep the actual results of the criminal history checks in the participants’ files, unless prohibited from doing so by State law. AmeriCorps State programs can maintain criminal history checks in a separate locked file.
National Service Criminal History Checks Federal Compliance Requirements NSOPW check completed before work/service begins Criminal history check(s) later than the start of work Verify identity with government photo identification Obtain written authorization prior to initiating checks Document understanding that selection is subject to the Check results Determine where the checks must be obtained from (ABI) Pay for the checks Provide opportunity for review of findings Keep information confidential Perform accompaniment while checks are pending when in contact with vulnerable populations (To be noted on timesheets) Maintain the results of the checks Document that you verified identity and conducted the checks Document that you considered the results of the checks
National Service Criminal History Checks Documentation: What You Must Create and Retain Document that you verified the individual’s identity with a government-issued photo ID Document that you conducted the checks Maintain the results of the checks: NSOPW, State(s), FBI* Document that you considered the results of the checks *To retain anything else in lieu of the actual results, such as a clearance letter from a school, requires approval of an alternative search procedure (ASP).
National Service Criminal History Checks Once the final regulations are in effect, accompaniment will be required until all components of the check are completed. Accompaniment can only be performed by someone who has been cleared for access to the vulnerable population.
National Service Criminal History Checks Pay attention to: DO NOT allow individuals in covered positions to start work before completing and documenting the nationwide NSOPW. DO NOT allow an individuals in a covered positions to have unaccompanied access to vulnerable populations before the results from the State AND FBI checks are cleared. DO NOT initiate State and FBI checks after the individual in a covered positions starts work/service. Write Policies and Procedures in case of staff turnover. Transfer this knowledge. DO NOT fail to document, document, document! If a third-party is involved, whether it be a partner site, community organization or commercial vendor, the program assumes the responsibility and liability of ensuring every component of the National Service Criminal History Check meets all requirements. Understand the requirements and ask your vendor the right questions.
National Service Criminal History Checks Residency – location when application submitted Hits on NSOPW – print the first one but all must be checked and compared to the valid picture ID Covered positions How do I document that a check is pending? ASP –when?
National Service Criminal History Checks Alternative Search Procedure (ASP) Are the correct required sources used? (NSOPW, States, and FBI) Is there access to check results for oversight & monitoring? Are the results coming from the designated source for a state? (a school or partner declaration is not an official check result) Are all requirements found in regulations followed? … if one or more “no” answers, then an ASP is needed. What to Include in Your Request: Explain why you are requesting approval to use an ASP and describe the specific element(s) of the requirements that you would vary from. Describe the alternative process/system you plan to use to conduct a criminal history check. Provide a detailed description (if applicable) of the substantially equivalent source you propose using instead of the designated sources/alternates. If you are receiving clearance letters instead of the actual results from a partner or non-designated source/alternate, please include a copy of the written agreement you have in place to ensure that murder and sexual offenses deem an individual ineligible to serve and that no appeals can overturn this eligibility determination for the purposes of serving/working under a National Service program. If prohibited by state law, attach a copy of the statute or prohibition along with a legal analysis from either the Attorney General or legal counsel. Please submit where applicable a rejection letter from the CNCS designated repository. Perform accompaniment for those with recurring access to vulnerable populations while ASP decision is pending.
National Service Criminal History Checks Consequences Disallowed Service Term If found negligent full re-payment of stipend and education award If found as an isolated incident partial repayment
Who does this apply to?: Grantee Staff, Sub-Grantee, Program Participant (member) Where is this found? Serve America Act, Provisions, and Regulations CNCS Recommended: pass this information to your service sites, review service descriptions and member contracts - impress upon EVERYONE associated with this grant the importance Highlights: Stay out of the political arena Recent Congressional inquiry, climate of accountability and continuous improvement at CNCS for it’s grantees
Other Policies Member Grievance Policy Member Evaluations (Written Performance Reviews) *minimal requirements: mid-year and end-of –term for full and half time member. End-of-term for less than half time. *minimally address the following factors: whether the member completed the required number of hours whether the member has satisfactorily completed assignments whether the member has met other performance criteria that were clearly communicated at the beginning of the service term Compelling Circumstance Exit
AmeriCorps Branding and Identity Name and Logo Minimal expectation from CNCS: (strengthened the language see pages 5-6 in AmeriCorps Provisions) Display Logo with Prominence and Pride Website Service Gear (National Service Catalog) – members should serve in gear/uniform. Public Materials Signage Presentation Material Signs at Service Locations (National Service Catalog) or at your local printer. Ensure to use CNCS Guidelines.
National Service Criminal History Checks Tools and Resources Corporation for National and Community Knowledge Network (formerly the Resource Center) Federal Regulations: Read the Federal Register Notice with Request for Public Comments due August 5, 2011 –published on July 6, 2011 (PDF) Read the Federal Register notice –published on September 10, 2009 (PDF) Read the Federal Register notice –published on August 24, 2007 (PDF) Frequently Asked Questions: Frequently Asked Questions, updated May 10, 2012 (PDF) (NEW) National Service Criminal History Check: NSOPR Check Department of Justice (DOJ) National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) State(s) Check Listing of Required State Criminal History Information Repositories and Alternatives as of May 7, 2012 FBI Check Guidance on Obtaining FBI Criminal History Checks, last updated March 11, 2011 (PDF)FBI Memorandum October 31, 2011 to State Criminal History Information Repositories RE: Serve America Act (PDF) Recent Presentations: National Service Criminal History Check, Basics 101, National Conference, June 19, 2012 (PPT) (NEW) National Service Criminal History Check, Advanced 201, National Conference, June 19, 2012 (PPT) (NEW) Compliance: Corporation for National and Community Service Enforcement of Criminal History Check Compliance Guidance, October 2011 (PDF) Factsheets and Reference Tables: Factsheet: Alternate Search Procedure (ASP) Request (PDF) Factsheet: State of Residence (PDF) VISTA Sponsor Fact Sheet (PDF) Program and Position Coverage Table (PDF) Program and Requirement in Effect by Date Table (PDF).
Questions: CriminalHistoryCheckQuestions@cns.gov CriminalHistoryCheckQuestions@cns.gov Other questions and concerns?