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Dec 11 -- The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invites comments to OMB by January 12, 2024 regarding the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Year End Report. [Comments due 30 days after submittal to OMB on December 13.]

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) administers grants that support the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Communities Project (SCP). Funding for this program is authorized under section 3(d) of the Smith-Lever Act (7 U.S.C. 341 et seq.), CYFAR funding supports community-based programs (also known as “extension programs”) which serve children, youth, and families in at-risk environments. CYFAR funds are intended to support the development of high quality, effective programs based on research.

The purpose of CYFAR SCP funding is to improve the quality and quantity of comprehensive community-based programs for at-risk children, youth, and families supported by the Cooperative Extension System. Collaboration across disciplines, program areas, and geographic lines, as well as a holistic approach that views the individual in the context of the family and community, are central to Sustainable Community Projects. CYFAR grants are awarded only to 1862, 1890, and 1994 Land Grant institutions through a competitive application process. Awards are made annually, for five year terms. There are up to 50 grantees at any given time.

The purpose of the CYFAR Year End Report is to collect the demographic and impact data from each community site in order to evaluate the impact of the programs on intended audiences. CYFAR grants represent a Federal financial investment and the data collected allows NIFA to gauge the benefits achieved from these investments. The CYFAR Year End Report tells the story of each of the CYFAR SCP grantees and is part of the information used to determine whether grantees have performed adequately in the past year to receive a continuation of funding. Without the information NIFA would not be able to verify if CYFAR programs are reaching at risk, low-income audiences specified in the authorizing legislation.

CYFAR SCP grantees collect responses to the CYFAR questionnaires directly from participants in CYFAR-funded extension programs and from SCP program staff. SCP grantees compile the responses and submit them via a secure web portal found at https://suite.cyfar.org/. NIFA and the CYFAR PDTA review the data submitted by SCP grantees and provide feedback on the quality of the data, to ensure datasets are as complete and accurate as possible.

The data from the CYFAR SCP surveys are used in a variety of ways, due to the variety of surveys and their purposes. The more minor surveys are those conducted on CYFAR SCP grantee staff to evaluate the sustainability of the program beyond the term of the grant and to evaluate the effectiveness of the program coaches provided as part of the technical assistance of the CYFAR PDTA grantee. The sustainability survey data are used to foster discussions between the CYFAR PDTA coach and the SCPs while the coach survey data are used internally by the PDTA for program improvement.

The bulk of the surveys conducted by the CYFAR SCP grantees are those comprised of questions for program participants to evaluate program quality as well as any impacts on participant resiliency and life skills. The data from the participant surveys is primarily aggregated into the CYFAR Year End Report, though there are other publications created from the data (e.g. CYFAR Youth Common Measures 2022 Report, CYFAR Return on Investment Study, and the many outcome reports shown on the USDA NIFA CYFAR page under “Program Specific Resources.”) The pre- and post- survey analysis style allows for a paired comparison of participant responses from before and after implementation of the CYFAR SCP programming. This means that researchers can determine things like “5% of projects resulted in participants’ growth in knowledge and interest around STEM subjects” and “65% of food- and nutrition-related projects specifically reported youths’ expanded knowledge about proper nutrition.”

CYFAR: https://www.nifa.usda.gov/grants/programs/4-h-positive-youth-development/4-h-access-equity-opportunity/children-youth-families-risk-cyfar
NIFA submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202312-0524-001 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-27039

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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