MaryLee Allen Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program


The objectives of the MaryLee Allen Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (PSSF) are: 1) to prevent child maltreatment among families at risk through the provision of supportive family services; 2) to assure children's safety within the home and preserve intact families in which children have been maltreated, when the family's problems can be addressed effectively; 3) to address the problems of families whose children have been placed in foster care so that reunification may occur in a safe and stable manner; 4) to support adoptive families by providing support services as necessary so that they can make a lifetime commitment to their children. This is accomplished through the issuance of awards to child welfare agencies in states, territories, and eligible Indian tribes to serve families at risk or in crisis, to develop or expand and operate coordinated programs of community-based family support services, family preservation services, family reunification services, and adoption promotion and support services. In addition, a portion of funds is reserved for separate formula awards for states and territories to support monthly caseworker visits with children who are in foster care. A small proportion of appropriated funds are reserved for research, evaluation, and technical assistance, which may be awarded competitively through contracts or discretionary awards.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Administration For Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
A - Formula Grants; B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 It is anticipated that 502 formula grants to states, territories and tribes will be awarded. It is anticipated that 12 discretionary grants will be awarded. 245 formula grants were awarded to states, territories and tribes. 239 discretionary grants were awarded.
Fiscal Year 2017 245 formula grants were awarded to states, territories, and tribes and 239 discretionary grants were awarded.
Fiscal Year 2018 248 formula grants were awarded to states, territories, and tribes and 239 discretionary grants were awarded.
Fiscal Year 2019 248 formula grants will be awarded to states, territories, and tribes and 239 discretionary grants will be awarded in FY 2019.
Fiscal Year 2020 Formula grants were awarded to 194 states, territories, and tribes and discretionary grants were awarded to 3 recipients in FY 2020.
Fiscal Year 2021 PSSF formula grants were awarded to 197 states and territorial, tribal, and discretionary grants were awarded to 3 recipients in FY 2021.
Fiscal Year 2022 197 state, territorial, and tribal PSSF formula awards were made and discretionary awards were made to 3 recipients.
Fiscal Year 2023 It is anticipated that 197 states will be awarded PSSF formula grants and 3 discretionary grants will be awarded to territorial and tribal recipients in FY 2023.
Social Security Act, Title IV, Part B, Section Subpart 2, Sections 430 - 435; 436(a), (b)(1), (3) - (4) and (c) and 437(a), (b)(1), (3), (c) - (e), and (g).
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
(1) Formula Awards: States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas, Guam, American Samoa, and Federally-recognized Indian tribes are eligible applicants. For caseworker visit funds, only states and territories are eligible applicants. (2) Discretionary Awards: Please see the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for applicant eligibility.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Families and children who need services to assist them to stabilize their lives, strengthen family functioning, prevent out-of-home placement of children, enhance child development and increase competence in parenting abilities, facilitate timely reunification of the child, and promote appropriate adoptions.
Formula Grants: The state agency which administers the formula award programs under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act must be the same agency that administers the social services program under Title XX of the Social Security Act (Social Services Block Grant). Discretionary Awards: Nonprofit agencies must submit proof of nonprofit status.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. (1) Formula awards: A five-year agency plan must be submitted. A full plan (every five years) or a plan update is due for submission by June 30th of each year. The plan must be jointly developed by ACF and the state or Indian tribe and written after consultation by the agency with appropriate public and non-profit private agencies and community-based organizations. The plan must coordinate the provision of services under Title IV-B with services under other Federal or federally-assisted programs serving the same populations. (2) Discretionary Awards: Applicants may find and apply to Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) on Eligible applicants must submit applications by specified deadlines.
Award Procedure
Formula Awards: Funds will be awarded after the agency plan, or annual update is submitted and approved. Discretionary Awards: Each application will be screened to determine whether it meets any of the disqualifying factors: missing the application deadline, required electronic submission or waiver requested and approved, or exceeding the Award Ceiling. Disqualified applications are considered to be "non-responsive" and are excluded from the competitive review process. Applications competing for financial assistance will be reviewed and evaluated by merit review panels using only the criteria described in NOFO. Each panel is composed of experts with knowledge and experience in the area under review. Generally, review panels include three reviewers and one chairperson. Results of the competitive merit review are taken into consideration by ACF in the selection of projects for funding; however, merit review scores and rankings are not binding. Scores and rankings are only one element used in the award decision-making process. ACF reserves the right to evaluate applications in the larger context of the overall portfolio by considering geographic distribution of federal funds (e.g. ensuring coverage of states, counties, or service areas) in its pre-award decisions. ACF will complete a review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR 75.205. ACF may elect not to fund applicants with management or financial problems that would indicate an inability to successfully complete the proposed project. Applications may be funded in whole or in part. Successful applicants may be funded at an amount lower than requested.
Discretionary awards: Please see latest NOFO(s). Formula awards: The plan or its annual update is due on June 30 of each year.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Formula Awards: The agency plan or its annual update is due June 30 of each year. Approval/disapproval by the Children's Bureau is due September 30 of each year. Discretionary Awards: The approval/disapproval range is 90 to 180 days.
There is no appeal process for unsuccessful discretionary applicants. For existing recipients, appeals may take place in accordance with 45 CFR Part 16, subject to the limitations of the Appendix A.
Discretionary Awards: Non-competing continuations will be issued based on availability of funds, satisfactory progress, compliance with award terms and conditions and a determination that continuation funding is in the best interest of the federal government.
How are proposals selected?
Discretionary awards: The criteria for selecting discretionary proposals will be published in the NOFO(s). This is not applicable to formula awards.
How may assistance be used?
Under the main Promoting Safe and Stable Families Formula Awards, states must spend a significant portion of funds (approximately 20 percent) on each of the service categories of family preservation, family support services, time-limited family reunification services and adoption promotion and support services. State recipients must limit administrative costs to 10 percent of the Federal funds. Caseworker visit formula awards: States and territories are required to spend funds to improve the quality of monthly caseworker visits with children in foster care under the responsibility of the state, with an emphasis on improving caseworker decision making on the safety, permanency, and well-being of foster children, and on activities designed to increase retention, recruitment, and training of caseworkers. Discretionary Awards: Awards are typically awarded for research, evaluation, and technical assistance activities relating to family support, family preservation, family reunification, and adoption promotion support. Project funds may not be used for construction.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Performance monitoring of state agencies is conducted through the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) process in accordance with 45 CFR 1355.31 - 1355.37.
45 CFR Part 75 applies to this program.
All records are to be maintained in accordance with 45 CFR 75.361-365 .
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory Formula: Title IV Chapter Sections 433 and 437 Part B Subpart 2 Public Law Social Security Act

Matching is mandatory. 25%. (1) Formula Awards: State allotments are computed based on the number of children receiving food stamps over a three year rolling average. Allotments to Indian tribes, including tribal consortia are based on a percent set aside of the total appropriation in each fiscal year and computed based on the number of children in the tribe compared to the total number of children in eligible Indian tribes. However, awards will not be made to Indian tribes whose allotment is less than $10,000. Allotments to territories are based on the formula in subpart 1 of Title IV-B. Matching Requirements: Federal Financial Participation (FFP) is available up to the full allotment at the rate of 75 percent for allowable program expenditures made by the recipient. Recipients must provide a 25 percent match for these expenditures. (2) Discretionary Awards: The funding formula and matching requirements are described in each NOFO.

This program has MOE requirements, see funding agency for further details. Additional Information: An MOE requirement is applicable to the formula awards to states. States may not use the Federal funds under title IV-B, Subpart 2, to supplant Federal or non-Federal funds for existing family preservation and family support services as of 1992 (base year).There are no matching requirements for the Kinship Navigator program. The discretionary awards component of this program does not have MOE requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
(1) Formula Awards: Awards are generally made on a quarterly basis. Awards for PSSF, Caseworker Visit awards and the Kinship Navigator programs are available for obligation and liquidation in the FY awarded and in the subsequent fiscal year. (2) Discretionary Awards: Please see the NOFO(s) for more information. Post award, the Division of Payment Management will establish an account from which a recipient may draw down funds.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Contact Children's Bureau Regional Program Managers.
Headquarters Office
Catherine Heath
330 C Street SW, Room 3508B
Washington, DC 20201 US
Phone: (202) 941-4700
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Formula Grants) FY 22$347,347,510.00; FY 23 est $347,347,510.00; FY 24 est $347,347,510.00; FY 21$422,347,510.00; FY 20$346,769,509.00; FY 19$340,758,632.00; FY 18$325,364,129.00; FY 17$326,671,996.00; FY 16$269,891,000.00; - (Cooperative Agreements (Discretionary Grants)) FY 22$4,398,687.00; FY 23 est $6,954,643.00; FY 24 est $6,880,773.00; FY 21$4,405,858.00; FY 20$3,992,664.00; FY 19$8,829,009.00; FY 18$1,972,245.00; FY 17$2,349,912.00; FY 16$59,692,755.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
In FY 2021, formula awards to states, territories, and tribes ranged from $5,786 to $34,260,477 with an average of $7,541,919.82. In FY 2021, discretionary awards ranged from $448,300 to $1,985,569 with an average of $78,676.04.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Formula grants: See Program Instructions: ACYF-CB-PI-23-01 and ACYF-CB-PI-23-02.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2023 The Children’s Bureau continues to fund one Center for Excellence in Foster Family Development in FY 2023. The purpose of the Center is to implement a model program for the selection, development, and support of foster families that will work in close collaboration with birth families to preserve and nurture critical parent-child relationships and support reunification. The program will run through 2023.