The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families sent the following notification to the Sponsored Projects Office. The notification references Information Memorandum: IM-ACF-OA-2020-01.


From: Ben Goldhaber, ACF Chief Grants Management Office
Date: Tue, Mar 31, 2020
Subject: Important COVID-19 Update from ACF

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is deeply concerned for the health and safety of people involved in ACF programs and about the effects on the human service enterprise in the areas affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Due to the extraordinary impact of the public health emergency, I want to assure ACF’s grantee and recipient community that ACF will be doing its part to help you continue your work.

To the extent permitted by law, and per 45 CFR §75.102(a), this Information Memorandum: IM-ACF-OA-2020-01 provides short-term relief for administrative, financial management, and audit requirements.

Please read IM-ACF-OA-2020-01 carefully to learn about the following flexibilities ACF can provide for human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19:

  • Flexibility with System for Award Management (SAM) registration
  • Flexibility with application deadlines
  • No-cost extensions on expiring awards
  • Abbreviated non-competitive continuation requests
  • Allowability of salaries and other project activities
  • Allowability of costs not normally chargeable to awards
  • Prior approval requirement waivers
  • Exemption of certain procurement requirements
  • Extension of financial, performance, and other reporting
  • Extension of currently approved indirect cost rates
  • Extension of closeout
  • Extension of single audit submission

These exceptions are time-limited and will be reassessed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within 90 days of the M-20-17 memo, dated March 19, 2020. If OMB extends the flexibilities contained in their M-20-17 memo, HHS and ACF will also re-evaluate the extension of the exceptions.

These flexibilities are applicable to ACF applicants and grantees/recipients where the entity is conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19. Affected entities are those that have been closed or that have business activities that are hindered due to COVID-19 precautionary measures and/or illnesses. If the recipient/grantee intends to use any of the flexibilities identified in IM-ACF-OA-2020-01 (ACFs version of M-20-17) due to the public health emergency, the recipient/grantee must notify the ACF Program Office describing the impact the emergency is having on their program and any ACF-related work.  Documentation may be requested; however, ACF is still in the process of determining the documentation details as it may be program-specific oriented.

While these requirements detail general flexibilities that ACF is offering during this public health emergency, please consult with your Grants Management Specialist and Project Officer about program-specific COVID-19 guidance and flexibilities as some citations listed do not apply directly. We are also in the process of developing FAQs that will be disseminated in the coming days that we hope you will find useful.

ACF is continuing to monitor the situation, to identify ways we can help, and to publish any additional information about the public health emergency at Stay Safe and Be Informed about COVID-19.

Please direct all inquiries to your assigned Grants Management Specialist and Project Officer.


Ben Goldhaber

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