1.01Introduction and Program Description
The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS or Department), Division of Behavioral Health (DBH), is requesting proposals from eligible applicants to provide Supported Employment services for the State of Alaska in FY2021 through FY2023. Program Services are authorized under 7 AAC 78 Grant Programs. Additional governing statutes are 7AAC 78 - Grant Programs, AS 47.30.520-620 Community Mental Health Services Act; 7AAC 70 Behavioral Health Services; 7AAC 135 Medicaid Coverage for Behavioral Health Services; AS 47.37 Uniform Alcoholism and Intoxication Treatment Act; and 7AAC 10.930 Request for Variance. State of Alaska statutes and regulations are accessible at http://www.law.state.ak.us/doclibrary/doclib.html or through the contact person identified on the cover page of this Request for Proposals (RFP).
The purpose of the Supported Employment program is to improve access to supported employment across the state for adults 18 years or older with serious mental illness, including persons with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. It also includes adolescents (ages 16-18) with severe emotional disturbance (SED). The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model will be used to increase employment across the state. The IPS model includes supported education as well. Proposals must include either supported employment, supported education, or both. Training and Technical Assistance for the IPS model will be provided by DBH.
The IPS Employment Model utilizes Behavioral Health Care Providers and Employment Specialists to provide continuous support that enables the consumer to find employment matching their strengths, interests and preferences. IPS is based on eight principals that provide guidance for agencies offering this service.
These practice principals are:
- Competitive employment is the goal
- IPS supported employment is integrated with treatment
- Zero exclusion: Eligibility is based on client choice
- Attention to client preferences
- Benefits counseling is important
- Rapid job search
- Systematic job development
- Time-unlimited support
Supported Education is developmentally appropriate for adolescents and young adults. Some middle aged and older adults are also interested in school or vocational training. Educational attainment predicts employment rate among people with behavioral health illness. Lifetime earnings are strongly associated with educational attainment in the general population https://ipsworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IPS-and-Education.pdf The practice principals for supported education are similar to the IPS principals.
These practice principals are:
- Zero exclusion for eligibility
- Focus on mainstream education and job training programs
- Supported education services use a team approach
- Supported education and employment services are integrated into a single program
- The Employment Specialist help people access information about the financial impact of their career plans
- Rapid engagement and expeditious enrollment in educational programs
- Employment Specialists build partnerships with school and training program staff
- Education supports are continuous
- IPS supported education is individualized
This program operates in an integrated, competitive setting, enabling individuals to live, work and receive services in the larger community to the fullest extent possible. Supported employment and education's philosophy presupposes individuals with behavioral health disabilities are capable of earning competitive pay and benefits in the community with ongoing, individualized supports and services as needed.
Consumers have no eligibility requirements; instead the individual's preferences, strengths, and experiences are taken into account when exploring career opportunities. Similarly, there are no requirements for completing extensive pre-employment assessment and training or intermediate work experiences. The Employment Specialist spends the majority of time assisting the job seeker with locating employment and coordinating employment plans with treatment teams: case manager, clinician, psychiatrist, consumer, and others. Personalized benefits counseling must be offered to every consumer, to help them understand how benefits such as social security and Medicaid are affected by working. If the consumer is interested in supported education the Employment Specialist will spend their time developing a study schedule with the student, devise a system to track dates for tests and assignments, help students use good study skills, encourage students to attend school and graduate, provide supports for difficult social situations at school, and help students obtain summer jobs or part-time jobs during the school year.
1.02Program Goals and Anticipated Outcomes
The proposed project must demonstrate a thorough understanding and support of the grant program goals and outcomes anticipated by the Department.
The goals of supported employment are:
- Individuals are working in competitive, integrated community-based employment settings, which may include self-employment.
- Individuals are earning at least minimum wage and are earning the wage that others receive performing the same work.
- Individuals are working in a position that is based on his/her interest.
- Individuals are working in an integrated employment setting or employment in a job not reserved exclusively for people with disabilities.
- Increased independent living and community/social skills.
- Enhanced self-advocacy skills and training.
- Increased access to natural supports.
The goals of supported education are:
- Individuals are enrolled in mainstream education and job training programs that are open to all community members.
- Individuals earn degrees or certificates for successful completion of coursework.
- Enrollment is based upon education programs that are related to prior educational achievement and knowledge, not disability status.
- Individuals pursue education opportunities in order to obtain jobs that pay living wages.
- Individuals learn how to access financial assistance.
- Increased access to natural supports.
The expected outcomes for the program are:
- Increase the number of individuals to obtain and retain competitive employment.
- Increase the number of individuals who further their education (e.g. complete high school or go to college).
Projects must meet or exceed anticipated minimum outcomes described in this RFP.
Applicants will upload a timeline for the initiation of services and project activities that reflect the goals and anticipated outcomes in section 1.02. The timeline must specify a project start date of July 1, 2020, with service delivery beginning no later than September 1, 2020.
Applicant proposals must describe the ways in which the project aligns with program intent. The submitted project proposal will identify agency resources available to the project; describe project activities; and clearly state the project’s anticipated goals, outputs, and outcomes.
Applicants agree to comply with the following additional program requirements and service standards.
- Services must be provided using the IPS model. This must be demonstrated by using the IPS model Fidelity Scale for guidance, (Attachment #1);
- The staff must work in collaboration with the Department of Labor Job Centers, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and/or Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR) for those consumers who meet TVR criteria (see section 2.04 for further requirements);
- An individualized service plan must be developed for consumers by the Employment Specialist and will be based on the individual's informed choices;
- The staff ensures the individual is actively involved in the job-seeking or supported education process. This includes the delivery of all relevant information and the provision of support to the consumer so that he/she is able to make a choice;
- The staff must provide ongoing support (no time limits) focused on the individual needs and the needs of the employer; and
- The staff must seek permission from the consumer to include family and friends in the supported employment process. If permission is given family and friends must be included.
Successful grantees will adhere to the standards contained in Service Type 8 in Attachment #2- DBH Grant Program Standards.
1.04Program Evaluation Requirements and Reporting
Results Based Budgeting Framework
Results based budgeting provides a framework in which allocated resources support, and are justified by, a set of outputs and expected results. Within this framework, actual performance and achieved outcomes are measured by objective performance measures.
Projects are required to align with program objectives expressing Department priorities and core services. Projects will use performance measures to evaluate progress toward meaningful outcomes, and to initiate data collection and reporting consistent with Department priorities.
The Department Priorities, Core Services, Objectives, and Performance Measures of Effectiveness and Efficiency for this program are:
- 1 Health & Wellness Across the Life Span
Department Core Services
- 1.1 Protect and Promote the Health of Alaskans
Performance Measures of Effectiveness and Efficiency
- Efficiency--Cost per client (grant expenditures/total # of clients)
- Effectiveness--Number of individuals receiving employment services who become employed (or)
- Effectiveness--Number of individuals receiving education services who obtain a certificate or degree.
The applicant’s proposed evaluation plan will incorporate the performance measures of effectiveness and efficiency identified above. Applicants can propose additional performance measures for evaluating the project’s progress in achieving results supportive of program goals and outcomes. (The applicant's evaluation plan must include indicators and data gathering strategies that will be used.)
Required reporting will include:
- Cumulative Fiscal Reports recording overall grant and match expenditures by budget line
- Program Reports in the format prescribed by the program; and
- Submission of the AKAIMS minimal data set is required for all applicants receiving funding through this solicitation. Grantees will submit their AKAIMS data on a quarterly basis, and it is required that grantees must agree to an AKAIMS alignment within 30 days of the grant award.
1.05Target Population and Service Area
Applicants must clearly describe the population targeted by the project, including the area or communities that will be served. Proposals will be evaluated for compatibility with the program’s intended target population identified in this solicitation.
Target Population: The target population for the solicited services is adults 18 years or older with serious mental illness, including persons with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. It also includes adolescents (ages 16-18) with severe emotional disturbance (SED).
Service Areas and Communities: Statewide.
Funds available for this program are for up to four awards, anticipated to total $462,675 per fiscal year. Estimated funding for the three year duration is $1,388,025 in General Funds.
Match Requirement: The budget must include matching funds equal to 25.00% of the proposed DHSS funds. Calculate required match with the following formula.
Total Requested Grant Award x Required Match Percentage = Required Match
Federal grant funds may not be used to match federal funds awarded through this grant program, and State grant funds may not be used to match State funds awarded through this grant program.
Eligible sources of matching funds include:
- Local Cash: local sources, including local tax receipts, municipal revenue sharing, cash donations
- Local In-Kind: donated items of value for which the applicant incurs no cost, including volunteer labor and donations of supplies, equipment, space
- Other Sources: government and non-government grant awards, third party receipts, direct receipts such as gaming or sales of goods
- Grant Income: earnings anticipated as a result of this project proposal receiving award, and Medicaid reimbursements if award of this grant is required for the applicant to bill Medicaid for awarded services
- Medicaid: includes Medicaid which is not Grant Income, as well as other third party receipts
Proposed Budget: The applicant must submit a budget proposal for the first fiscal year of the project. The proposed budget detail and narrative, (including required match), will support the program’s results based service delivery and staffing requirements stated in this RFP.
The proposed budget will be fully compliant with the limitations described in this RFP, and those detailed in 7 AAC 78.160 (Costs). Regulations are provided under the GEMS Documents tab.
Resources specific to budgeting are also available under the GEMS Documents tab. DHSS Grant Budget Preparation Guidelines provide information and guidance about budget lines, cost detail groupings, and narrative requirements. Grantee User Manual Part I provides detailed instructions for entering a budget proposal in the chapter "Responding to a Solicitation."
Other Agency Funding: Prior to submitting a proposal, applicants are required to list all other agency funding received and applied for. This task must be completed by an Agency Power User in the Other Funding section of the Agency Administration tab. This is part of the pre-award risk assessment required under Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.
Indirect Costs: If the proposed budget includes indirect costs, 7 AAC 78.160(p) requires a copy of the agency’s current federally approved Indirect Cost Rate Agreement. The agreement is to be uploaded in the Agency Administration tab. Lapsed agreements can be used if uploaded with the negotiating federal agency’s written approval to continue using the rate until a new agreement is negotiated.
Payment for Services/Grant Income: If applicable to the services proposed in response to this solicitation, awarded grantees will have a Medicaid Provider Number or apply to obtain one, and will make reasonable effort to bill all eligible services to Medicaid and any other available sources of payment before seeking grant support for delivery of the proposed services. DHSS funds are the payer of last resort.
In the applicant’s proposed budget, anticipated receipts and expenditures for all grant income must be evident in the detail and narrative. Fiscal reports for awarded income generating projects will include the receipts and expenditure of all grant income.