HHS' Administration for Children and Families Is Ready to Partner with Southern Funders

This year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is reaching out - we want to understand the work done by Southern foundations and explore areas of shared concern where collaboration is possible.

As ACF's regional administrator for the Southeast, known as Region IV, I see opportunity to work with foundations in the region in several areas, including welfare-to-work, adoption, human trafficking, fatherhood and healthy marriages. We're looking for opportunities to share and exchange perspectives and viewpoints with those interested in, or already actively working on, these priorities and others. In addition, ACF is eager to share our expertise relating to grant funding activity as well as research, evaluation and measurement.

ACF's mission is to promote the economic and social well-being of America's most vulnerable populations and communities. Our programs serve a wide variety of groups and aim to foster:

  • families and individuals empowered to increase their own economic independence and productivity;
  • strong, healthy, and supportive communities that have a positive impact on the quality of life and the development of children;
  • partnerships that enable solutions which transcend traditional agency boundaries; and services planned, reformed, and integrated to improve needed access.

In addition to the above, ACF's programs also aim to foster a strong commitment to working with low-income people, refugees, and migrants to address their needs, strengths, and abilities. This includes my personal commitment to increase engagement and strengthen combined public/private impact through partnership work with the Southeast's philanthropic community.

SECF members have a rich understanding of the unique history and circumstances of the South, as well as its current needs and the opportunities that exist here, especially through innovative approaches to giving, including Passing Gear philanthropy. Given ACF's belief that people in need, and our stressed communities, are better off when we are sharing our work and working together to advance health, safety and security, I believe there's a strong opportunity to move forward as partners.

As is our name suggests, ACF programs focus on the needs, strengths and abilities of children and families. We understand and pursue our work with children and families through a multi-generational lens that looks to support each family comprehensively and holistically, working toward self-sufficiency.

ACF is a major federal grantmaking agency. It awards billions of dollars each year in grants1  to state and local governments, nonprofit groups, faith and community-based organizations, American Indian tribes, and Native American communities. ACF furnishes technical assistance, guidance, and overall supervision to grantees that, in turn, are responsible for direct delivery of services.

ACF's Region IV offices are located in Atlanta. Region IV serves eight southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. ACF program services administered in Region IV, in coordination with our central program offices in Washington, D.C., include:

  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) - TANF provides time-limited assistance to needy families with children to promote work, responsibility and self-sufficiency.
  • Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) - Child Care and Development Fund assists low-income families, families receiving temporary public assistance, and those transitioning from public assistance, in obtaining child care so they can work or attend educational training.
  • Child Support Enforcement - The Child Support Enforcement program seeks to ensure that parents provide emotional and financial support for their children. Services provided include locating non-custodial parents, establishing paternity and child support orders and securing/distributing regular and timely child support payments.
  • Child Welfare - Child Welfare focuses on the national goals of safety, permanency and the well-being of children through Foster Care/Adoption Assistance, Independent Living Programs, Family Preservation and Family Support Services and Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment.
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth - Runaway and Homeless Youth assist homeless youth on a short-term basis, assist homeless youth in making the transition to independent living and assist homeless youth with drug education and prevention services.
  • Head Start/Early Head Start - Head Start provides comprehensive developmental services for America's low-income, preschool children ages 3-5 and social services for their families. Early Head Start expands the benefits of early childhood development to low-income families with children less than 5 years of age and to pregnant women.
  • Emergency Preparedness & Response - ACF oversees emergency preparedness and response activities and support to existing relief efforts in meeting human services needs in the event of an emergency or disaster.
  • Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) - ORR helps new populations maximize their potential in the United States by linking them to critical resources that assist them in becoming integrated members of American society.
  • Administration for Native Americans (ANA) - Promotes self-sufficiency for Native Americans by providing discretionary grant funding for community-based projects, and training and technical assistance to eligible tribes and native organizations.

Opportunity for partnership is often found close at hand - that's why ACF now seeks to work more purposefully with the philanthropic community. We believe collaboration is possible around advancing policy, service design and program practice to support states (and others).

We'd like to hear from funders, including those currently working with ACF or our grantees as well as from those simply interested in learning more about our work. Please reach out and stay tuned for more information on this front as we continue to strengthen our combined efforts.

Carlis V. Williams is the Southeast regional administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

ACF awards two types of grants to implement its programs: mandatory (also known as formula, block or entitlement grants) and discretionary.  Mandatory grants are not subject to competition and are awarded to States, the District of Columbia and federally recognized Tribes and Territories. Discretionary grants, on the other hand, allow the federal government to exercise judgment or “discretion” in selecting the recipient organization through a competitive process.  States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, federally recognized Tribes and Territories, and public and private non-profit organizations may apply for these grants, based on each program’s particular rules.


Connecting with Philanthropy Southeast:
The Philanthropy Southeast staff works remotely – the best way to reach us is by email or by calling (404) 524-0911.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)

On Fridays, staff work on a flexible schedule. Members can reach our team via email or by calling (404) 524-0911 between 9:00am and 6:00pm (ET). We will respond to all urgent and time-sensitive matters promptly.

Mailing address:
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Mission: Philanthropy Southeast strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.