In this fourth of four 2020 quarterly status updates, we reflect on the current status of DRS and look ahead to what may be on the horizon for DRS in 2021.

DRS Round 9 applications due January 5. The ninth round of DRS competitions opened in late October, and applications are due January 5. This is the first time we’ve seen DRS competitions extend through the holiday season. And, some grantees that expected to compete were impacted by changes to DRS competition criteria and did not have to compete.

DRS Round 9 awards will be negotiated in 2021. The project start date for DRS Round 9 grants is July 1, 2021. This means that grant awards will most likely be negotiated in late winter or early spring. This follows the trend of past rounds of DRS. Consider tips for how to use the time while you wait for your DRS grant award.

Planning ahead for DRS Round 10. The Office of Head Start (OHS) has not yet forecasted the next round of DRS. In recent years, DRS competitions have typically taken place in the fall. Stay tuned in to updates from OHS; sometimes these updates are shared at NHSA’s Winter Leadership Institute or Head Start Conference. Keep your eye on for the most up-to-date information about grant forecasts, and explore Grant Writing Solutions to prepare a competitive application.

Use self-assessment and community assessment to enhance DRS Round 10 competitiveness. If your program is expecting to compete in DRS Round 10, consider how you might use the upcoming winter and spring to prepare. Information gathered through these self-assessment and community assessment can impact a grantee’s program design (e.g., program type, allocation of slots) and eventual DRS application competitiveness.

5-year grant period extended for some grantees. The Continuing Appropriations Act, signed into effect in October 2020, allows for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to extend the 5-year grant period of agencies by two years. Per the Act, these decisions will be made by December 31, 2020. Application timelines for agencies with an extension may be impacted.

Risk mitigation to prevent DRS competition. Whether your program is expecting to compete for funding, or will submit a non-competitive application for funding, you might consider implementing a risk mitigation framework in 2021 to prevent deficiencies or areas of non-compliance. A risk mitigation framework includes many strategies, one of which is federal review preparation.

Foundations for Families offers customized Grant Writing Solutions for programs applying for funding through DRS and array of Consulting Services to meet programs’ unique needs. Please contact us to learn more about how we can support your program to submit a competitive application for funding.

Thank you.

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