FR Doc 04-13190
[Federal Register: June 10, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 112)]
[Notices]               
[Page 32795-32798]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr10jn04-173]                         


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Part VI





Department of Education





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National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; Notices


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

RIN 1820 ZA34

 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priorities (NFP) for Community Integration for 
Individuals with Disabilities.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces final priorities under the 
Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTC) Program for the 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). 
The Assistant Secretary may use one or more of these priorities for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2004 and later years. We take this 
action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend 
these priorities to improve community integration outcomes of persons 
with disabilities who have psychiatric or other mental health 
conditions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These final priorities are effective July 9, 2004.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 550 12th Street, SW., room 6046, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 245-7462 or via Internet: 
donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the TDD number at (202) 245-7317.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    RRTCs conduct coordinated and integrated advanced programs of 
research targeted toward the production of new knowledge to improve 
rehabilitation methodology and service delivery systems, alleviate or 
stabilize disability conditions, or promote maximum social and economic 
independence for persons with disabilities. Additional information on 
the RRTC program can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#RRTC.


General Requirements of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    RRTCs must:
     Carry out coordinated advanced programs of rehabilitation 
research;
     Provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to help rehabilitation personnel more effectively 
provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
     Provide technical assistance to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties;
     Disseminate informational materials to individuals with 
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested 
parties; and
     Serve as centers for national excellence in rehabilitation 
research for individuals with disabilities, their representatives, 
providers, and other interested parties.
    The Department is particularly interested in ensuring that the 
expenditure of public funds is justified by the execution of intended 
activities and the advancement of knowledge and, thus, has built this 
accountability into the selection criteria. Not later than three years 
after the establishment of any RRTC, NIDRR will conduct one or more 
reviews of the activities and achievements of the RRTC. In accordance 
with the provisions of 34 CFR 75.253(a), continued funding depends at 
all times on satisfactory performance and accomplishment of approved 
grant objectives.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) for this program 
in the Federal Register on March 25, 2004 (69 FR 15308). This Notice of 
Final Priorities (NFP) contains no significant differences from the 
NPP. In response to our invitation in the NPP, we received three 
comments. One commenter expressed general support for the priorities 
and one expressed support for the focus on children's mental health 
issues. The third commenter provided specific recommendations. An 
analysis of the comments follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes and 
suggested changes that we are not authorized to make under the 
applicable statutory authority.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that attention be paid to the 
effect of disability laws on self-determination, empowerment, and 
community reintegration for persons with disabilities, particularly in 
the context of psychiatric disability.
    Discussion: Applicants are free to propose research topics that 
focus on these issues; however, NIDRR does not believe it is necessary 
to require that an applicant address these specific policy concerns. 
The peer review process will evaluate the merits of the proposals.
    Changes: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate each priority as absolute, competitive 
preference, or invitational.

    The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to 
which the application meets the competitive priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive priority over an application of comparable merit that does 
not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    Note: NIDRR supports the goals of President Bush's New Freedom 
Initiative (NFI). The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the 
following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom/.


    These final priorities are in concert with NIDRR's 1999-2003 Long-
Range Plan (Plan). The Plan is comprehensive and integrates many issues 
relating to disability and rehabilitation research topics. While 
applicants will find many sections throughout the Plan that support 
potential research to be conducted under these final priorities, a 
specific reference is included for each priority presented in this 
notice. The Plan can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/index.html.

    Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: 
(1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation 
research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and 
training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding 
of the unique needs of

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traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best strategies 
and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for underserved 
populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify mechanisms of 
integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate findings.

Priorities

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces three priorities for the funding of RRTCs that will 
focus on rehabilitation related to improving the community integration 
outcomes of persons with disabilities who have psychiatric or other 
mental health conditions. Applicants must select and focus research on 
one of the following priorities: Priority 1--Recovery and Recovery-
Oriented Psychiatric Rehabilitation for Persons with Long Term Mental 
Illness; Priority 2--Developing and Implementing Integrated Systems of 
Care for Child and Adolescent Mental Health; or Priority 3--
Strengthening Family and Youth Participation in Child and Adolescent 
Mental Health Services. Under each of these priorities, the RRTC must:
    (1) Contribute substantially to the scientific knowledge-base 
relevant to its respective subject area,
    (2) Research, develop, and evaluate interventions and tools to 
improve outcomes in its focus area,
    (3) Develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive plan for 
training critical stakeholders (e.g., consumers, family members, 
practitioners, service providers, researchers, and policymakers),
    (4) Provide technical assistance, as appropriate, to critical 
stakeholders (e.g., consumers, family members, practitioners, and 
service providers) to facilitate utilization of research findings in 
its respective area of research, and
    (5) Develop a systematic plan for widespread dissemination of 
informational materials based on knowledge gained from the RRTC's 
research activities, and disseminate the materials to persons with 
disabilities, their representatives, service providers, and other 
interested parties.
    In addition to the activities proposed by the applicant to carry 
out these purposes, each RRTC must--
     Conduct a state-of-the-science conference on its 
respective area of research in the third year of the grant cycle and 
publish a comprehensive report on the final outcomes of the conference 
in the fourth year of the grant cycle. This conference must include 
materials from experts internal and external to the RRTC;
     Coordinate on research projects of mutual interest with 
relevant NIDRR-funded projects as identified through consultation with 
the NIDRR project officer;
     Involve individuals with disabilities in planning and 
implementing its research, training, and dissemination activities, and 
in evaluating the RRTC;
     Demonstrate in its application how it will address, in 
whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from 
minority backgrounds; and
     Articulate goals, objectives, and expected outcomes for 
the proposed research activities. It is critical that proposals 
describe expected public benefits, especially benefits for individuals 
with disabilities, and propose projects that are designed to 
demonstrate outcomes that are consistent with the proposed goals. 
Applicants must include information describing how they will measure 
outcomes, including the indicators that will represent the end-result, 
the mechanisms that will be used to evaluate outcomes associated with 
specific problems or issues, and how the proposed activities will 
support new intervention approaches and strategies, including a 
discussion of measures of effectiveness.
    An RRTC must focus research on one of the following priorities:
    Priority 1--Recovery and Recovery-Oriented Psychiatric 
Rehabilitation for Persons with Long Term Mental Illness: The purpose 
of the priority is to establish an RRTC on Recovery and Recovery-
Oriented Psychiatric Rehabilitation for Persons with Long Term Mental 
Illness, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human 
Services, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental 
Health Services Administration. The RRTC must be outcomes-focused, with 
the aim of enabling adults with serious mental illness to live, work, 
learn, and participate fully in their communities. Emphasis must be 
placed on the development and translation into practice of scientific 
knowledge that is culturally competent and consumer and family 
centered. To achieve these goals, the RRTC will conduct research, 
training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities on 
individual and environmental factors relevant to recovery and recovery-
oriented psychiatric rehabilitation. Relevant topic areas may include, 
but are not limited to--
     The concept and dimensions of recovery as it relates to 
people with long-term mental illness;
     Factors that inhibit recovery (e.g., stigma and 
discrimination, fragmentation of the service delivery system, workforce 
shortages); or
     Factors that enhance recovery, including model 
interventions and supports (e.g., culturally competent treatment, 
supported employment, supported education, and alternative and 
innovative practices such as exercise, peer supports, and personal 
assistance services).
    The reference for this topic can be found in the Plan, chapter 6, 
Independent Living and Community Integration.
    Priority 2--Developing and Implementing Integrated Systems of Care 
for Child and Adolescent Mental Health: The purpose of the priority is 
to establish an RRTC on development and implementation strategies for 
effective and integrated systems of care for children and adolescents 
with serious emotional disorders and their families and caregivers, in 
collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 
Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
Services Administration. The RRTC must be outcomes-focused, with the 
aim of developing and implementing effective and integrated systems of 
care that provide children and families access to the services and 
supports they need in order to live, learn, work, and thrive in their 
communities. To achieve this, the RRTC must conduct research, training, 
technical assistance, and dissemination activities on relevant areas 
such as, but not limited to--
     Strategies for maximizing collaboration in planning, 
accountability, financing, and service delivery within and across 
service sectors (e.g., mental health, juvenile justice, child welfare, 
education, substance abuse, primary health).
     Strategies for enhancing the child and adolescent mental 
health workforce so that it is more diverse and has the training, 
organizational support, and infrastructure necessary to implement 
family and community-based individualized service plans.
     Strategies for developing culturally competent policies, 
practices, and procedures, and incorporating them into the service 
delivery system.
     Performance measurement and quality improvement procedures 
designed to help systems of care make adjustments and improvements as 
needed to achieve their goals.
     Strategies for developing and implementing financial 
policies that are flexible and encourage home and community-based care 
provided in

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accordance with individualized service plans.
     Strategies for maximizing translation of evidence-based 
research into systems of care that permit families' self-determination; 
maximize partnerships between schools, families, and communities; and 
provide access to effective family and community-based interventions.
    The reference for this topic can be found in the Plan, chapter 6, 
Independent Living and Community Integration.
    Priority 3--Strengthening Family and Youth Participation in Child 
and Adolescent Mental Health Services: The purpose of the priority is 
to establish an RRTC on promoting effective family-centered and 
community-based practices and supports for children and adolescents 
with serious emotional disorders and their families and other 
caregivers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and 
Human Services, Center for Mental Services, Substance Abuse and Mental 
Health Services Administration. The work of the RRTC must be outcomes-
focused with the aim of increasing the extent to which families and 
youth have awareness of and access to supports and services that 
effectively promote their participation in family, school, work, and 
community life and roles. To achieve this, the RRTC will conduct 
research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities 
on relevant topic areas such as, but not limited to--
     Strategies for reducing stigma as a barrier to service 
delivery for children, families, and other caregivers.
     Strategies for integrating the concept of recovery (as 
discussed in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation) in service 
delivery for children and youth.
     Strategies for developing, delivering, and evaluating 
culturally competent youth and family-driven individualized service 
plans that are applicable across a variety of settings and service 
sectors.
     Strategies for maximizing the translation of evidence-
based research into effective community-based practices.
     Strategies to support successful transitions across 
settings.
    The reference for this topic can be found in the Plan, chapter 6, 
Independent Living and Community Integration.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of final priorities has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with the notice of final priorities 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this notice of final priorities, we have determined 
that the benefits of the final priorities justify the costs.

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    The potential costs associated with these final priorities are 
minimal while the benefits are significant. Grantees may anticipate 
costs associated with completing the application process in terms of 
staff time, copying, and mailing or delivery. The use of e-Application 
technology reduces mailing and copying costs significantly.
    The benefits of the RRTC Program have been well established over 
the years in that similar projects have been completed successfully. 
These final priorities will generate new knowledge through research, 
dissemination, utilization, training, and technical assistance 
projects.
    The benefit of these final priorities and project requirements will 
be the establishment of new RRTCs that generate, disseminate, and 
promote the use of new information to improve options and participation 
in the community for individuals with disabilities.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may review this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.

    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 84.133B, 
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Program.)

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).

    Dated: June 7, 2004.
Troy R. Justesen,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 04-13190 Filed 6-9-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P