Federal Grants Management

The NCJA advocates for effective criminal justice policy and funding for justice assistance programs.

Managing and Administering Federal Grants

No single issue is more critical to the proper administration of an SAA’s job performance than the management of the award and the monitoring of federal funds to eligible grantees. If properly executed, the agency will thrive, programs will flourish and promising practices will advance. If not, the agency will suffer, not only in reputation, but also in the ultimate denial of sufficient funds to promote positive programs.

States such as Maryland prepare a statewide Crime Control & Prevention Plan for the Governor every three years. Plans like these serve as roadmaps for specific steps to take to improve public safety and guides decisions regarding the allocation of grant funds, and articulates the reasons for funding decisions.

More significant than the selection of any one particular model of administration is the necessity to have an effective and wholly legal process in place. For example, whether a state chooses to use the advisory board model in all instances, even if not federally required, is less important than the need to ensure that a comprehensive method has been established to assure that all legal and accounting requirements are met. The grantee must ensure this for their subgrantees and for the state planning requirement, as a whole.

Many states divide their planning staff programmatically, while others utilize a model with grant coordinators or program specialists handling all types of grants. For example, in states administering criminal just programs using the first model, all juvenile grants are handled by individuals assigned to a juvenile section or unit, whereas with the second structure, juvenile grants, victims’ grants, drug grants and state funded grants are administered by a grant team or section, leaving programmatic and policy issues to others. Still others utilize a third structure, organizing staff geographically so a single staff member oversees all grants awarded in a specific jurisdiction. Whichever model is used, strong emphasis must always be placed upon proper accounting and accountability procedures. This applies to the agency itself as well as to all sub-grantees. (See the Ethical Considerations section of this module).

Federal Grants Management Resources

Below are resources intended to: (1) provide sample documentation used by representative states, and (2) familiarize new grant administrators and refresh experienced grant administrators concerning the essential points of proper administration. As is invariably the case, adherence to promising practices is ultimately dependent upon the quality of agency staff. The need for ongoing training cannot be overstated. The administrator in even the smallest state is unlikely to know all of the requirements attached to each award. Therefore, it is incumbent upon him or her to employ professional grant managers, program coordinators, grants management specialists and accounting staff who do possess this detailed knowledge.

Training and Technical Assistance

The NCJA provides training and technical assistance (TTA) to support recipients of funding from public and private entities to fulfill the requirements attached to this support. We provide grants management training technical assistance to the state administrators of federal assistance. Contact Carol Poole, NCJA Senior Policy Advisor, at cpoole@ncja.org for more information about grants management TTA.