Welcome to the Division of Community Services/CSBG

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Community Services Block Grant [CSBG]?
How does DOS administer CSBG?
How does DOS receive CSBG funds?
Which local entities are eligible to receive CSBG funds?
Which provisions of state law govern administration of CSBG?
What are the responsibilities of the Secretary of State under state law for administering CSBG?
Who partners with the Division of Community Services?
How are local CSBG grantees monitored and evaluated?
How do I obtain guidance in completing budget forms, e.g., what costs are allowed or disallowed costs under each cost category?

The Community Services Block Grant [CSBG] is a federal anti-poverty program administered by DOS since 1982. Its purpose is to provide assistance to states and local communities working through a network of CAAs and other neighborhood organizations for reduction of poverty, revitalization of low-income communities, and empowerment of low-income families and individuals in rural and urban areas to become fully self-sufficient. CSBG provides funds to a network of 52 local agencies – Community Action Agencies and Programs – [CAA-CAPs] and the organization serving migrants and seasonal farmworkers. Funding is also provided to 4 Indian tribes/tribal organizations.


The Division of Community Services [DCS] of DOS administers CSBG. DCS is the primary liaison with grantees, monitoring the program as well as providing technical assistance. As the CSBG administering agency, DOS established goals and objectives which provide program evaluation, monitoring, and oversight, and ensures compliance with federal and state statutes, laws, policies and procedures.
DCS offices are located in Albany, Buffalo, New York City, and Syracuse. Staff makes onsite visits to grantees to evaluate and to monitor activities. Staff also reviews contracts, assists with planning, analysis, and resource mobilization. DCS staff provides or arranges for training/technical assistance in areas such as governance, management, service delivery, and program operation.
At the local level, CSBG is implemented through the network of CAA-CAPs, statewide migrant/farm worker, and Native American organizations, which furnish such services and activities as assistance to the very young as well as the elderly, and include response to direct and immediate need with food, clothing and shelter. Grantees have extensive experience with job creation, employment training, educational support, and other strategies designed to move individuals and families from dependency to self-sufficiency.
DCS also ensures that fiscal monitoring of grantees is conducted. Regionally located field representatives of the Contract Administration Unit [CAU] within DOS work closely with DCS staff to confirm reported expenditures and allowability of costs, and to conduct general reviews of fiscal methods, procedures, and processes.

New York State must submit an application to the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services [DHHS] for each fiscal year in which it desires to acquire CSBG funds. [42USC. §9908(b)] Each application must contain assurances that the state legislature will conduct public hearings on the proposed use and distribution of CSBG funds. [42 U.S.C.§9908(a)(3)] It must also certify that the state agrees to specified conditions. The Governor must designate a lead agency, and the lead agency must prepare and furnish to the Secretary of HHS a state plan which contains provisions describing how the state will carry out these conditions.[42 U.S.C. §9908(a)(1)] The federal funds are appropriated by the US Congress annually. Upon approval of the application and receipt of notice of funding availability, the state may obligate and expend CSBG funds.

The entities eligible to receive CSBG funds are strictly limited by federal and state law. Organizations which were officially designated as CAAs or CAPs under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 [the precursor of CSBG] were specifically designated by the 1981 CSBG Act as eligible entities. [Public Law 97-511, §673(1)] These designations were continued under current federal [42 U.S.C. §9902(1)(A)] and state law. [ NYS Executive Law, §159-e(2)] Agencies designated by the process described in 42 USC§9909 to serve unserved areas, organizations serving migrant and seasonal farm workers, and Indian tribes requesting assistance pursuant to 42 USC §9911 are also eligible entities. These designations are recognized by New York State law. [Executive Law, §§159-e(1) and (3)].
An eligible entity may have its designation terminated if it fails to meet standards, goals, or requirements established by New York State, or if it fails to provide contractual services under the CSBG Act. [42 U.S.C. §9915] The State must initiate proceedings to terminate designation of the eligible entity or reduce its funding if a deficiency is not corrected after notice and an opportunity to be heard. [42 U.S.C. §9915(a)(5)] A determination by the State to terminate the designation or reduce the funding of an eligible entity is reviewable by the Secretary of HHS. [42 U.S.C. §9915(b)]

New York State assumed responsibility for administration of the CSBG Program on October 1, 1982. [L.1982, c. 728] Authority to administer the program expires annually, and is renewable annually.[ L.1999, c. 411]

The Secretary has been designated to act as official agent of the state in administering, carrying out, and otherwise cooperating with the federal government in connection with CSBG. In addition, the Secretary allocates CSBG funds to recipients in the manner required by 42 USC §9906, assists the Governor in applying to the federal government for the state CSBG allocation, cooperates with the legislature in conducting public hearings on the use and distribution of funds, and monitors and evaluates use of funds received by the state under CSBG. [Executive Law, §159-f]

The Secretary of State is required to report on CSBG administration to the Governor and the Legislature by January 15th each year. The Report includes results of monitoring and evaluation of recipients of CSBG funds, and any recommendations for change that the Secretary deems necessary for the effective administration of the CSBG Program. [Executive Law, §159-l]


DOS partners with the New York State Community Action Association [NYSCAA] which represents the 52 CAAs in New York State serving all 62 counties. NYSCAA is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the growth and education of NYS CAAs to sustain their efforts in advocating for, and improving the lives of low-income New Yorkers. DOS awarded NYSCAA CSBG funds to enhance capacity and increase effectiveness of CAAs through increased information, by supplementing its resource library, and with training, technical assistance, and advocacy. DCS works with NYSCAA in the implementation of statewide training seminars and webinars each year, and provides additional support for the expansion and maintenance of statewide data collection efforts.
DCS also spearheaded the creation and growth of the Family Development concept.Family Development is a result-oriented innovative model which concentrates provision of services and resources to the family unit, to enable total independence from public assistance. Family Development is designed to combat the fragmentation of services, and is a long-term approach that ultimately empowers families and establishes realistic means for attaining goals of healthy interdependency, positive self-esteem, and sustainable self-sufficiency. Family Development professionals help individuals and families to establish personal and family goals, take action, access and use resources, and measure and celebrate incremental progress.
The Family Development Credential [FDC] is a voluntary, interagency, interdisciplinary training and credentialing program created to provide workers, supervisors, and organizations with the skills and competencies needed to work effectively with families to achieve outcomes of self-sufficiency, family stability and community revitalization. FDC was initiated by DOS-DCS and developed by the NYS College of Human Ecology at Cornell University in partnership with CAAs, Head Start, front-line workers, and recipients of services, and other statewide partners. As of 2007, over 5,000 individuals have received the Family Development Credential, and over 100 are certified in Family Development Leadership.

How are local CSBG grantees monitored and evaluated?
Programs are administered in accordance with the CSBG statutory purposes and goals, and in compliance with all applicable statutes, rules, regulations, policies and procedures set forth by federal and state government. To that end, all recipients of CSBG funds submit work plans and budgets detailing the programs, services, and activities to be conducted using CSBG funds.
Work Plans and budgets are approved by grantee boards of directors prior to submission to DOS-DCS and are reviewed and approved by DOS program and fiscal staff as part of the CSBG contract. In accordance with PL 105-285,§678B,monitoring activities are conducted to determine whether eligible entities meet performance goals, administrative standards, financial management, and other requirements established by the state. Monitoring is conducted by program and fiscal staff working in teams and who are assigned to individual grantees. Monitoring is proactive, result oriented, and conducted to provide assistance to grantees to improve their capacity to achieve results, and must meet the requirements of the CSBG contract, the Management Plan, and federal and state authorizing legislation.
In addition, New York State and CSBG grantees complied with PL 105-285, as well as with the results-oriented planning and reporting requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act [GPRA] of 1993.OCS established the Monitoring & Assessment Task Force [MATF] and developed Results-Oriented Management and Accountability [ROMA] to meet GPRA requirements. MATF established national goals and outcome measures.The ROMA performance measurement system was added to the CSBG legislation in the re-authorization of 1998. New York State grantees adopted all 6 national goals; each goal covers several national outcome measures, and New York State developed additional measures.These goals and measures are included in the grantee work plans monitored by DCS staff. National Performance Indicators: Effective 10/01/04 all states and eligible entities were required to report out on National Indicators. Grantees report on outcomes under the appropriate national indicator.
Beginning in 2008, DCS implemented the Grantee Comprehensive Assessment Protocol (GCAP), which identifies standards of excellence and makes recommendations for continued progress, or improvement of existing conditions.

How do I obtain guidance in completing budget forms, e.g., what costs are allowed or disallowed costs under each cost category?
See Expenditure Descriptions for Budget Preparation (134k pdf)