Technical Assistance Grants are designed to provide state and local courts with funding to obtain expert assistance to diagnose a problem, develop a response to that problem, and initiate implementation of any needed changes.
Technical Assistance Grants are limited to no more than $50,000 each, and may cover the cost of obtaining the services of expert consultants; travel by a team of officials from one court to examine a practice, program, or facility in another jurisdiction that the applicant court is interested in replicating; or both.
Normally, the technical assistance must be completed within 12 months after the start date of the grant. A cash and in-kind match must be provided equal to at least 50% of the grant amount, of which 20% of the match must be in cash. For example, an applicant seeking a $50,000 technical assistance grant must provide a $25,000 match of which up to $20,000 may be in-kind and not less than $5,000 must be cash.
HOW TO APPLY:
Two copies of the Technical Assistance application must be submitted for consideration to the SJI Board of Directors. An application for a Technical Assistance Grant must include Form A – SJI Grant Application; Form B – Certificate of State Approval; Form C – Project Budget; a budget narrative, and a project abstract and program narrative.
Applications should include the following:
1. NEED FOR FUNDING
What is the critical need facing the court? How would the proposed technical assistance help the court meet this critical need? Why can state or local resources not fully support the costs of the required consultant services?
2. PROJECT DESCRIPTION
What tasks would the consultant be expected to perform and how would they be accomplished? Who (organization or individual) would be hired to provide the assistance and how was this consultant selected? If a consultant has not yet been identified, what procedures and criteria would be used to select the consultant? (Applicants are expected to follow the jurisdiction’s normal procedures for procuring consultant services.) What specific tasks would the consultant(s) and court staff undertake? What is the schedule for completion of each required task and the project itself? How would the court oversee the project and provide guidance to the consultant, and who at the court would be responsible for coordinating all project tasks and submitting quarterly progress and financial status reports?
3. LIKELIHOOD OF IMPLEMENTATION
What steps have been/will be taken to facilitate implementation of the consultant’s recommendations? For example, if the support or cooperation of specific court officials or committees, or other agencies, funding bodies, and organizations would be needed to adopt the changes recommended by the consultant and approved by the court, how would they be involved in the review of the recommendations and development of the implementation plan?
4. BUDGET AND MATCHING STATE CONTRIBUTION
Form C along with a budget narrative must be included with the application. The budget narrative should provide the basis for all project-related costs, including the basis for determining the estimated consultant costs (e.g., number of days per task times the requested daily consultant rate). In addition, the budget should provide for submission of two copies of the consultant’s final report to SJI.
5. SUPPORT FOR THE PROJECT FROM THE STATE SUPREME COURT OR ITS DESIGNATED AGENCY OR COUNCIL
Applicants must demonstrate this support by submitting a copy of SJI Form B signed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court or the Chief Justice’s designee.
6. DOCUMENTATION OF SUPPORT FROM OTHERS
If the support or cooperation of agencies, funding bodies, or other organizations would be needed in order for the consultant to perform the required tasks, written assurances of such support or cooperation should accompany the application letter. Support letters also may be submitted under separate cover; however, to ensure that there is sufficient time to bring them to the attention of the Board, letters sent under separate cover must be received not less than three weeks prior to the Board meeting.
Factors that SJI will consider in awarding technical assistance grants include:
- The assistance would address a critical need of the court;
- The soundness of the technical assistance approach to the problem;
- The qualifications of the consultant(s) to be hired, or the specific criteria that would be used to select the consultant(s);
- The court’s commitment to act on the consultant’s recommendations; and
- The reasonableness of the proposed budget
Technical Assistance Grant recipients are subject to the same quarterly reporting requirements as other SJI grantees. Quarterly Progress and Financial Status Reports should be submitted within 30 days of the close of each calendar quarter (that is, no later than January 30, April 30, July 30, and October 30). One copy of each report should be sent. The Quarterly Progress Reports must include a narrative description of project activities during the calendar quarter and the relationship between those activities and the proposed schedule. Any significant problem areas that have developed and how they will be resolved should be described in these reports.
At the conclusion of the grant period, a Technical Assistance Grant recipient must complete a Technical Assistance Evaluation Form. The grantee also must submit to SJI a copy of a final report that explains how it intends to act on the consultant’s recommendations, as well as a copy of the consultant’s written report. Technical Assistance Grants do not require a fiscal audit.