On Thursday, the Office of Head Start (OHS) hosted a webinar to discuss the recent changes to DRS and provide information about next steps. For grantees expecting to compete in DRS this fall (Round 9), important updates on process and timing were shared.

First, many programs that were previously designated for competition in Round 9 have now received a follow up letter from OHS stating whether they will still have to compete or if they are eligible for a non-competitive grant. This decision is based on whether the grantee is meeting the revised criteria for competition.

Second, the forecasts that are currently on grants.gov, with Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) forecasted to be released on Monday, September 7, are changing. The release of the FOAs for DRS Round 9 will be delayed until early October. OHS noted that the grants.gov forecasts would be updated accordingly. With a typical turnaround time of approximately 8 weeks, this change in timeline means that grant applications will be due in early December.

It’s not too late for programs in DRS to take proactive steps to prepare for competitive grant writing. Confirming your program design and budget are critically important and are foundational to a smooth process. We also recommend you make sure that community assessment data is up-to-date and reflective of the current needs in your community.

For programs that are no longer required to compete in DRS, OHS has provided little information about whether grant cycles may change or if non-competitive processes will be any different from a standard baseline application. These questions are particularly important for grantees that were previously asked to complete a 6-month, Year 6, continuation application to bridge the timeline to DRS.

Please be in touch if your program will be competing for funding DRS and needs help. Foundations for Families provides support to programs in DRS through our Grant Writing Solutions. This includes grant coaching, quality assurance reviews, grants.gov submission support, and a DRS toolkit to guide you through the process. Contact us to learn more.

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