Strategic Prevention Framework

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the Strategic Prevention Framework?

The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) is a five step public health planning approach designed to help States and communities identify needs, and build the infrastructure for effective, sustainable substance abuse prevention services.

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What are the five planning steps?

The five steps are designed to helps states and communities build prevention capacity and infrastructure necessary to implement and sustain effective prevention policies, practices and programs.  The five steps are:

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What are the goals of the SPF?

The goals of Vermont’s Strategic Prevention Framework grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Metal Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are as follows:

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What are Vermont’s Priorities?

Following a detailed examination of all available statewide substance abuse data by the SPF State Epidemiological Workgroup (SEW) and approved by the SPF Advisory Council, Vermont will address the following four priorities:

  1. Reduce underage drinking
  2. Reduce high-risk drinking among persons under age 25
  3. Reduce marijuana use among persons under age 25
  4. Build prevention capacity and infrastructure at the state and community levels, including a sustainable evaluation system for prevention grantees

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What is the State’s role in the SPF?

The Vermont Department of Health’s (VDH)  role is to establish a governance structure, including a SPF Advisory Council to guide the VT SPF, and to establish the State Epidemiology Workgroup (SEW) to assess substance use (consumption) and consequences at the State level.  VDH has also developed a state Strategic Prevention Plan to guide and support State and community level implementation of the SPF.

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Are SPF SIG grantees required to use research-based programs?

The SPF SIG will require the implementation of evidence-based programs, practices and policies.  SAMHSA is seeking to measure the impact the SPF SIG has on a community population level, so environmental strategies will be emphasized.  Training will be provided on these programs, practices and policies as part of the learning community process.

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How many years will the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive (SPF SIG) Grants Program run?

All available SPF SIG funds will all be granted to communities prior to June 30, 2010.  All grantees will receive a planning grant at the beginning of the program.  Upon Department of Health approval of completed plan, grantees may be eligible for up to 3 years of additional funding contingent upon satisfactory performance and availability of federal funds. 

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What are the amounts of the SPF SIG grants?

All Grantees are eligible to apply for start-up grants of up to $68,000 for needs assessment, capacity building and planning (SPF steps 1-3).  Once their plan has been approved by the Department of Health (VDH) they will be eligible to apply for up to $120,000 to implement their plan.  It is expected that different communities will take different amounts of time to move into the implementation phase.  All grantees will be expected to support a share of statewide training, evaluation and media expenses.  Funds to support these activities have been built into the award amounts.

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What is the difference between a capacity-building applicant and an implementation applicant?

A capacity-building applicant is an organization that is organized around prevention issues, operational for at least 6 months and has a strong interest in addressing alcohol, marijuana and other drug use in the community.  Capacity-building grants provide support for developing the workforce, organizational structures and relationships needed to carry out a comprehensive prevention plan.  It is anticipated that capacity-building grantees will take longer to move through the steps of the SPF process than implementation grantees.

Implementation applicants are organizations that:

It is anticipated that implementation grantees will move through the steps of the SPF process more quickly than capacity-building grantees due to their level of experience.

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Why not heroin use or prescription drug misuse as priorities for this grant?

As a requirement of the state level SPF activities, the State’s Epidemiological Workgroup utilized 3 primary criteria in reviewing Vermont’s data:

Additional criteria were then applied which were:

From this detailed and systematic data assessment, the priorities of alcohol and marijuana emerged.  This is not to suggest that illicit drug use and prescription drug abuse are trivial problems, only that alcohol and marijuana use and abuse are comparatively overwhelming and more amenable to immediate prevention efforts.

It is anticipated that this program’s focus in strengthening prevention infrastructure will enable communities to address other health promotion and prevention priorities. 

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What if applicants are proposing to work in an area where the schools have not agreed to sign onto the YRBS for ’09 and ’11?

The SPF SIG is a voluntary, competitive program.  The participation in the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey is required in order to track community level outcomes.

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If no matching or in-kind funding is required for year 1, then why do they need to show 2 funding sources for Implementation Grants (pg. 8)?

Implementation grantees will have demonstrated organization and a track record for planning, implementation and sustainability.  One indicator of organizational capacity and stability is that the organization is supported by 2 or more funding sources. 

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If a capacity building grantee takes only 1 year to complete their plan, when can they apply for the larger amount of funding for implementation?

Upon successful completion of SPF steps 1-3 and once their strategic plan is approved by VDH, the community can apply for up to $120,000 of implementation funds.  The only time stipulation for the strategic plan is that it takes no longer than 2 years.  For example, should a grantee successfully complete SPF steps 1-3 and receive approval of their plan in 9 months, they can apply for the implementation funds at that time.

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What’s the funding schedule for the $120,000 in year 2? Are funds awarded around a calendar year?

The awarding of up to $120,000 for the implementation phase of the SPF is based on milestones completed.  If a grantee has a finalized, approved plan after only 8 months of capacity building, they will be eligible for up to $120,000 at that time.

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The statement about using other funds to support activities in this grant; could you explain that statement?

If, for instance, you are also funded by the Drug Free Communities Support program, and you choose to apply for SPF funding you must specify how the work you are doing with the DFCS program is NOT duplicating what you are proposing to do with the SPF funds.  For example, you may be funding as a DFCS grantee to implement the 5 SPF steps with community “X” and you would like to apply for the SPF funds to implement the SPF steps with community “Y”.  You must explain how the two funding sources will compliment and not duplicate efforts.

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How would we ensure that the YRBS is done in our community?

 About 80% of schools currently participate in the YRBS so the first step is to contact the schools and see if they are already participating. To be prepared in the event they are not participating, you may want to consult with your area’s Prevention Consultant or District Director for background information on the YRBS and any local history of why the school is not participating.  You will need to have a conversation with school officials.

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How are you defining what area that an applicant can cover?

The smallest coverage area is a supervisory union and the applicant is responsible for determining what their area of service will be.

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Will you fund projects in areas of small populations, or are you concentrating on areas of higher population?

With the capacity-building grants, it is planned, where feasible, to distribute them geographically as our goal is to strengthen capacity around the state.  The purpose of the implementation grants is to achieve measurable outcomes within the timeframe of the program.  Thus those grants will be awarded based on current capacity to develop and implement strong substance abuse prevention strategies and geographic distribution will be less of a factor.  Population size may also play a role in final award decisions.    

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The glossary mentions something called a logic model; can you tell me that that is?

The logic model is a planning document; it is a way to organize information and data that will lead you to outcomes.  Grantees will be developing a logic model as part of their strategic plan (Step #3) and VDH will provide training and technical assistance to grantees to successfully develop their logic model.

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Can a college apply as its own community, or does its community have to include the surrounding community?

An institution of higher education can apply and is encouraged to describe how the institution would work with the larger community in which the institution resides.

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Please explain the term “key informants”.

A key informant is a person in the community who has the” pulse of the community”. They may or may not hold a public office or run an agency – they can be a parent, youth, elder, etc … who know the norms and history of the community.

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If two communities in one county are applying for a capacity building grant - do you have any suggestions on ways that they can partner?

 It would be up to the two communities to communicate with each other and see  at what level and in what way they could  partner and collaborate.

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How many SPF SIG grants will be awarded?

We expect to fund between 21 and 25 grants total.  Of that total, 4 grants have already been awarded through the CHAMPPS (Coordinated Healthy Activity, Motivation and Prevention Programs), as required by Vermont Appropriations Act No 215.

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A clarification: can we have an outside evaluator, or do we need to use one that VDH selects?

VDH has contracted with an evaluator for the state-wide evaluation  process. We are not prescribing  whether grantees should hire  an outside evaluator or what percentage of an employee the local evaluator must be. You will know your organization and community best.

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We’re a coalition that serves 5 towns, but there’s a sixth town which we’re providing services to, but they’re not identified in our mission. Would  we still qualify for funding if we don’t have listed in our mission every community in the supervisory union?

The minimum service area for an applying organization must be  a supervisory union. You can absolutely bring in more communities if you choose to.

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If my organization is planning on applying for an implementation grant, what happens if we apply and the state feels like we would be more suited to apply for a capacity-building grant? Would we be shooting ourselves in the foot by not applying for the more basic grant?

You have to really look at the criteria for each type of application and decide what that means for your organization and your community. You will be able to see as you’re writing your grant application whether you should apply as a capacity building or as an implementation grantee.  We will  be asking for the grant reviewers for guidance in situations such as the one you are describing.

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Do you recommend collaboration within agencies in a community?

Yes, any time that you’re doing a process looking at community needs and processes, it makes sense to show collaboration.

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In regard to the mandatory training in December; will the funding decisions be made by then?

 Yes, the funding recommendations will have been made in November.

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We’re interested in applying for capacity building on a county level; however, we may have some supervisory unions in our community who may be able to do an implementation grant. Is that okay?

Yes. Nothing in the RFP would preclude you from doing that.

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My understanding is that young people need to be a part of this process. How much of a part do 19-24 year-olds need to play in this process?

Yes.  The RFP asks that you describe how you will involve youth and young adults in your data collection process.  We recognize that different communities may be at different stages in building relationships with youth,  young adults and the organizations of which they are a part. 

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The budget for year 1 represents a 8-month budget?

That is correct; the time frame for year 1 will be November 1 through June 30, so we can get this grant in line with the state fiscal calendar.

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Since we must sign a statement that we will not be duplicating activities that would be paid for by Drug Free Community funds, what do we do if we apply for SPF and then  find out that we have been funded by DFC?

We certainly don’t want to penalize organizations for applying for more than 1 SAMHSA grant. In the event that you are awarded a Drug Free Community Support Program Grant after you submit your application, then VDH will work with you so you may amend your plan to assure no duplication.  If you are now a Drug Free Communities Support Program awardee, please briefly  describe in your application what activities your DFCS grant will be supporting and how your proposed SPF SIG plan will augment but not duplicate your DFCS supported activities.  Please also see the instructions on page 19 of the SPF SIG RFP.

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Do we need to include MOUs for the schools in our area that are doing the YRBS?

Yes, that is page 3 as a part of the checklist. There is a sample form for you to use as a template if you like.

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Follow up question: do we need to have an MOU with each organization that we collaborate with?

If you want to include those, that is acceptable but not required.  However, please be respectful of our reviewer’s time.

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Our organization is a youth arts organization and not necessarily centered around prevention. Does this make us ineligible?

The criteria for grant applicants are listed on page 7 & 8 of the RFP.  Applicant organizations should be organized around prevention issues.  We recommend that you communicate with other organizations in your region.  Even if your organization does not fit the applicant criteria, you may be a critical partner in planning and carrying out  this project.

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While state-wide organizations are not eligible, can my coalition collaborate with a statewide organization? Perhaps take our programs to an area outside of my community?

Yes, you could still partner with a statewide organization and be eligible. However, at this point, you are not proposing any programs, so you won’t be preparing for that yet.

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Do you recommend that since the smallest unit measurable is a supervisory union we enlarge our service area to be more than that?

No, you’re not at a disadvantage if you apply only with an area as large as a supervisory union.

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Would it be helpful to include in our application if we are collaborating with another organization who may also be applying?

Yes.

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If, in the implementation phase, people come up with ideas that are not research-based programs, is there funding for that?

Evidence-based strategies are required.  On page 11 of the RFP, there is a link to a document summarizing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s guidance for defining  evidence-based programs, practices and policies.  This document, “Identifying and Selecting Evidence-Based Interventions,”, will  guide VDH and the SPF SIOG grantees as plans are developed.  

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Can an institution of higher learning mentioned in the RFP be in another state? We are in a border community, and many of our residents go to a college in New Hampshire?

A Vermont entity must be the applicant. However, it would be acceptable for the applicant to partner with a New Hampshire institution of higher learning.  In your application please clearly describe how many young people who reside in Vermont you are proposing to serve. 

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The RFP mentions that VDH will provide guidance and assessment tools – will these be provided at the beginning of the grant year (e.g. Nov. 2007)?

The assessment tools and guidance on how to use them will be provided at the first training scheduled for December 11th and 12th.  We are expecting to award grants no later than mid-November.

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