Request for Proposal Timeline and Details

Download the Request for Proposal (RFP) here.
Download the Budget Document. 
Download the Proposing Agency Agreement.

The 2021 RFP timeline:

  • March 19, 2021 - Request for Proposal (RFP) issued
  • March 19 – April 5, 2021 - RFP Question and Answer for agencies period (Ends 5 p.m. on April 5, 2021) 
  • Monday, April 12, 2021 - Final answers, clarifications, and updated RFP will be posted here
  • Monday, April 26, 2021 - Agency LOI deadline – 1 p.m. 
  • Monday, May 10, 2021 - Agencies will be notified if invited to submit a full proposal
  • Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - Agency deadline for full proposal submission – 1 p.m. 
  • Friday, July 16, 2021 - Proposing agencies will be notified of the award 
  • Monday, August 30, 2021 - Evaluation contract begins    

Question and Answers

Q: Does the funder have a specific funding amount set aside for the proposed evaluation? (I.e., What is the expected level of effort for this work?)
A: Based on feedback from the Request for Information, First Steps Kent is estimating the project cost will range between $100,000 and $200,000 per year.

Q: Does the funder have any limitations on indirect rate/overhead? 
A: First Steps Kent does not dictate a specific limit as far as an indirect rate or indirect costs. The proposed budget must show clear reasoning for why each budget item is necessary – this includes direct and indirect costs. 

Q: Is the capped budget for evaluation services equal to the frequently-used evaluation allocation of 15% of the anticipated $5.7 million Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage funding, or a different threshold? 
A: Based on feedback from the Request for Information, First Steps Kent is estimating the project cost will range between $100,000 and $200,000 per year. 

Q: Do you have any flexibility with the budget or scope of work? For instance: a. Would you consider a proposal for the provided scope of work but with a revised, higher budget? b. Would you consider a proposal for a revised scope of work but within the provided budget range?
A: First Steps Kent is estimating the project cost will range between $100,000 and $200,000 per year. It is feasible that proposed project costs could be higher than this estimate. If this is the case, we suggest that proposing agencies submit a proposal that includes a scope of work that falls close to this range. The proposing agency may include additional recommendations of how the scope of work could be further enhanced along with estimated costs for the Evaluation Advisory Team (who is reviewing proposals) to consider. If possible, we suggest these recommendations be presented as optional. 

Q: Do you anticipate the contractor will do any original data collection?
A: While First Steps Kent is open to proposed ideas about what additional data collection would support evaluation, we do not anticipate the contractor being responsible for collecting novel data unless it is necessary to complete the selected contractor’s methodology as accepted. 

Q: Do you anticipate data collection/focus groups being done in person and/or virtually? 
A: Our experience has been that access to technology can be a barrier to reaching and engaging equitable representation of all groups throughout Kent County. For this reason, a mix of “in-person” and virtual focus groups would be necessary. Individual phone interviews could also serve as an option if in-person meetings are not feasible.

Q: Do you anticipate the contractor would need to put into place data use agreements? If yes, do you anticipate facilitating that on behalf of or in collaboration with the contractor? Note, in our experience, it usually takes a minimum of 3 months to finalize these agreements with third parties. 
A: Currently, there are data agreements in place for all 39 service provider agreements. These agreements are between the funded service providers and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). These agreements allow for the monthly submission of the required data fields, including identifiable data to the Ready by Five Database housed at KCHD. A data agreement will be put in place with the Kent County Health Department to obtain identifiable data, if necessary.
With the exception of identifiable fields (name, address, date of birth), First Steps Kent receives deidentified data sets from the Kent County Health Department on a monthly basis.

To access school readiness data, agreements would need to be put in place with each school district in which data will be obtained. First Steps Kent, with support from Kent County, and in collaboration with the selected contractor will facilitate agreements for school readiness data. We agree that it will take at least a few months to secure these agreements and proposing agencies should allow for this in their proposed plan.

The proposing agency may suggest requesting data from sources not mentioned in the RFP. First Steps Kent would support with data requests when possible, but who is ultimately responsible for facilitating the data requests will be determined on a case-by-case situation with the selected contractor.

Q: (refers to pg. 2, eligible services) Are there specific program models service partners are using (e.g., Parents as Teachers)?
A: Yes. Home Visiting models currently funded and recognized by HomeVEE include Parents as Teachers, PALS, Healthy Start, and Healthy Families America.
Other nationally recognized models currently funded include Reach Out and Read, Fetal Infant Mortality Review, as well as the Incredible Years. Models recognized as evidence-based by the State of Michigan include Infant Mental Health and the Maternal Infant Health Program (home visiting). The Play and Learn programming is evidence-informed and generally follows the nationally recognized Kaleidoscope model as well as incorporates early childhood learning expectations as defined by the Michigan Department of Education. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is the recommended screening tool for all service providers.

Q: (refers to pg. 3, individual-level data) To date, how much data has been collected? What is the quality and completeness of that data? Are data collected in a central location/database?
A: To date, data has been submitted for most children and expectant parents enrolled in Ready by Five funded programs. As of December 31, 2020, we have collected data on approximately 9,000 individuals. 
The rate for completion of all demographic fields submitted stands at 85-95% of all submitted fields. To ensure quality, we have implemented data checks and data cleaning processes. On a monthly basis, data from each funded program is directly submitted to the Kent County Health Department for processing and storage. First Steps Kent receives deidentified data sets monthly.

Q: (refers to pg. 4, potential additional data source) What else can you tell us about the quality, type, and amount of data available on the ASQ/ASQ-E and vital records?
A: In the Ready by Five Data Fields, Service Providers submit data to answer the following: 1) Was there an ASQ Developmental Screening test taken during the home visiting/healthy development session, and which was it? 2) Was there a development concern identified by the ASQ Developmental Screening test taken in which section?
See page 12 of the Ready by Five Standard Data Collection Field Definition document for more information.

To date, First Steps Kent currently has ASQ data for approximately 760 children across 11 different programs. We anticipate this number will increase when in-person services resume. The Ready by Five Database does not house ASQ data for programs receiving other sources of funding. There is currently not a centralized database for all ASQ or ASQ-SE data collected in Kent County.

Kent County Health Department houses Vital Records for the county. First Steps Kent currently does not have direct access to this information. The Health Department will share this data once an agreement for data sharing has been reviewed and approved by the Kent County Health Department.

Q: (refers to pg. 4, COVID impacts) How many families were served relative to the number anticipated?
A: First Steps Kent attributes programming in their first-year start-up, combined with COVID-19 restrictions, as factors that have impacted program enrollments. For 2020, the enrollment in services compared to actual: a) The average enrollment for all programs stood at 55% when compared to the projected number of individuals served. b) The median is 58%.

Q: (refers to pg. 5, potential methods) What financial data do you have available? 
A: First Steps Kent maintains a record of the following financial information: program budget, annual audit for each organization, and monthly projected spending vs actual spending for each funded service.

Q: (refers to pg. 5, potential methods) To date, have you done any direct data collection with families? (e.g., via interviews or surveys)
A: Ready by Five data has only been collected by funded service providers. In addition to demographic data, service data, and referral data, service providers are required to have a parent satisfaction survey component and a client complaint/grievance procedure. This information for each contract is requested and reviewed by First Steps Kent annually.

Q: (refers to pg. 6., deliverables) Interim evaluation reports are expected on November 15 each year. Given the evaluation plan is not expected to be finalized until August 30, what expectations does Ready by Five have for the first report due on November 15, 2021?
A: First Steps Kent expects, at minimum, this report would provide a narrative update of activities that have been completed to date.

Q: (refers to pg. 9, budget template) We are a nonprofit that typically charges an hourly rate based on estimated hours for deliverables.  Can we use our billing rates instead of direct and indirect costs to budget the evaluation services?
A: Ready by Five Millage funds may only be used for actual, reasonable, and allowable costs. The budget template provides documentation of how the cost is determined and that funds are being used as intended for each contract. We would need this information for the purposes of selecting the contractor for this work. Millage funds may not be used for costs related to the purchase of equipment or property. Equipment is defined as non-expendable property costing $1,000 or more per unit.

Q: (refers to the proposal agreement) The terms and conditions stated in the Request for Proposal are vague. Can you share a sample contract, specifically insurance requirements, or will we be able to negotiate during the contracting phase?
A: As far as insurance, the selected agency must maintain comprehensive general liability and completed operations insurance covering all operations of the agency, its agents, and employees; and the following policies as applicable: The Service Provider is required to meet the following minimum insurance requirements:

  1. Property (Special Cause of Loss Form-all risk; Replacement Cost Valuation for all owned property
  2. Crime or Employee Dishonesty Coverage ($100,000 each occurrence)
  3. General Liability ($1,000,000 Each Occurrence; $2,000,000 Products & Completed Operations Aggregate; $2,000,000 General Aggregate)
  4. Automobile ($1,000,000 Each Occurrence; includes hired and non-owned auto Liability.)
  5. Worker’s Compensation ( Statutory in the State of Michigan. $500,000 Employers Liability Limits)
  6. Professional Liability, including Errors & Omissions. ($1,000,000 Annual Aggregate)
  7. Unemployment Insurance (As required by the State of Michigan or state where agency is registered as a corporation)
  8. Cyber Insurance ($50,000 Aggregate)

First Steps Kent will request a copy of the agency’s certificate and require First Steps Kent is added as an additional insured agency under the coverage. We reserve the right to modify these requirements. Final minimum insurance requirements and coverage amounts necessary will be evaluated and negotiated once selected contractor’s scope of work has been finalized.

These are the final Questions and Answers. If you are unable to open any of the linked documents included above please email and let us know what link is not working for you.

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