Application Review Process

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The review process is designed to select the most qualified applicants in an open and fair manner. Applications are reviewed through a multi-step process that includes the following:

1. Eligibility

Screening to determine if an organization is able to apply for funding based on the following requirements:

a. All proposed services must take place within Miami-Dade County.
b. Applicant must be currently qualified to conduct business in the State of Florida.
c. Applicant must not be a charter school approved by any public school system in the State of Florida.
d. New applicants must submit a recent, valid annual financial statement audit, and renewal applicants must have a current audit on file with The Children's Trust.

2. Applicant fiscal health

For new applicants, The Trust’s finance department reviews and scores the agency financial statement audit submitted with the application to assess the level of fiscal solvency, compliance and strength of internal controls.

a. Fiscal solvency is measured using a three-prong ratio test including the following:

i. Current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities) evaluates the current assets that can easily be converted into cash to pay current expenses. Current assets include cash, cash equivalents, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses and inventories. The higher the ratio, the more capable the agency is of paying its obligations.

ii. Net assets as a percentage of annual expenses (net assets divided by total annual expenses) evaluates the availability of reserve funds compared to annual operations and could be viewed as an emergency fund. The higher the ratio, the greater the reserve.

iii. Current liabilities as a percentage of total annual expenses (current liabilities divided by annual expenses) indicates an organization’s timeliness paying vendors and its ability to meet other obligations. Current liabilities include accounts payable, accrued expenses, short-term borrowings and the current portion of long-term debt. The lower the ratio, the lower current liabilities to expenses.

iv. Applicants will be awarded from 0 to 4 points for each ratio for a possible total of 12 points, as follows:

Current Ratio
Current Assets/Current Liabilities
Net Asset Ratio
Net Assets/Total Operating
Debt Ratio
Current Liabilities/Total
Operating Expenses
0% - 99% 0% - 5% 36% 0
100% - 109% 6% - 8% 25% - 35% 1
110% - 119% 9% - 11% 18% - 24% 2
120% - 149% 12% - 15% 10% - 17% 3
150% 16% 1% - 9% 4

b. Fiscal compliance and strength are evaluated using the independent auditors’ report and accompanying notes, as follows:

i. The report describes the scope of the audit, the accountant's opinion of the procedures and records used to produce the financial statements, as well as the accountant's opinion of whether or not the financial statements present a fairly accurate picture of an agency’s financial position and the changes in its net assets and cash flows.

ii. Notes to financial statements provide additional information to explain specific items and provide a more comprehensive assessment of an agency’s financial condition. Notes can include information about debt, going concern criteria, contingent liabilities or contextual information such as potential litigation or unpaid payroll taxes.

iii. Strength and soundness of an agency’s system of internal controls are measured by the number of material weaknesses and/or significant deficiencies in the independent auditors’ report on internal control over financial reporting and on compliance and other matters based on an audit of financial statements performed in accordance with government auditing standards. This report evaluates whether and to what extent an applicant has design or operating deficiencies in its internal control systems.

Applicants will start with a total of 8 points, and points will be deducted according to these criteria:

i. Agencies with an audit opinion other than an unmodified opinion will lose one (1) point.

ii. Agencies with notes that disclose unreasonable or unethical accounting practices (e.g., unpaid payroll taxes, debt covenant violations, fraud misappropriation of funds, etc.) will lose one (1) point for each disclosure, up to a maximum of three (3) points.

iii. Ideally, an applicant should have no deficiencies in their internal control system, as reported in an AU-C 265 Letter; however, agencies that disclose material weaknesses and/or significant deficiencies in their internal control system will lose one (1) point for each deficiency, up to a maximum of four (4) points.

For renewal applicants, in addition to the review of the current agency audit on file, The Trust finance department reviews the program-specific audit. Results from both reviews are used to determine the fiscal health rating in program metrics, which will be used as the renewal applicant fiscal health rating in the solicitation review process.

3. Program proposal

Simultaneous to the fiscal health review, each application is independently reviewed and scored by a team of reviewers that may include Trust staff, experts in the field and trained volunteers.

Rating scale: Using the rating scale below, reviewers assess the quality of responses within each program section, the alignment with solicitation requirements, and the applicant’s capacity to effectively deliver what is proposed. Specific application questions within each program section may vary somewhat based on whether the proposal is for a new program or for a renewal program. For renewal applicants, prior program metrics will be incorporated into relevant application questions and reviews for some application sections.

Rating Points Description



· Response is fully complete and relevant for the section, with no deficiencies.

· Response provides evidence that the applicant exceeds the requirement(s) for the section as set forth in the RFP and the standards described in the reviewer scoring guide.



· Response is mainly complete and relevant for the section, but may have minor deficiencies and/or require some additional clarification.

· Response provides evidence that the applicant meets the requirement(s) for the section as set forth in the RFP and the standards described in the reviewer scoring guide.

Weak or


· Response is incomplete for the section—required information is missing and/or the response has major deficiencies.

· Response does not provide evidence that the applicant meets the minimum requirement(s) for the section as set forth in the RFP and the standards described in the reviewer scoring guide.



· Response is substantially incomplete, unresponsive and/or not relevant for the section.

· Response presents a major problem or counter-productive strategies in meeting RFP requirement(s) and/or meets few or no standards as set forth in the reviewer scoring guide.

Program section weights for the specific RFP: Each program section rated on the 4-point scale above will be weighted according to its relative importance to the specific funding opportunity.

    RFP Specific
Program Section Related Application Section(s) Weight Max Points
1. Services   4 x  
2. Population and sites   4 x  

3. Partners and service linkage

  4 x  
4. Outcomes   4 x  
5. Staffing   4 x  
6. Budget   4 x  

7. Continuous learning and quality supports

  4 x  
8. Organizational capacity   4 x  

Following each reviewer’s individual rating, the review team meets in a publicly-noticed debriefing meeting to discuss each proposal. Applicants may attend the debriefing meeting as observers. The team assigns a consensus score to each program section, including explanatory comments, and rates the application’s overall likelihood of success based on strength of proposed program design and resources. The application’s total score is calculated as a percentage of the RFP total maximum points. The highest ranking program proposal score does not assure a funding recommendation.

4. Interview/site visit

At the Children’s Trust’s discretion, publicly-noticed interviews and/or site visits may be conducted at either the applicant’s site or Trust’s offices regarding the agency fiscal health and/or program proposal. Members of the public may attend interviews and/or site visits as observers. The interview/site visit review team may include Trust staff, experts in the field and trained volunteers. Reviewers come to consensus on interview/site visit observations using a standard rating tool and provide input to staff recommendations.

5. Staff recommendations

Taking into consideration the above review process results, consideration is also given to factors such as alignment with The Children's Trust’s priority investment areas, effective and economical distribution of funding across Miami-Dade County and/or in underserved geographic areas/populations in Miami-Dade County (if applicable), minimizing duplication of efforts, and reasonable program cost for the services and outcomes proposed. Based on consideration of all of the above factors, the president/CEO of The Children’s Trust develops the list of applications recommended for funding.

6. Board review and approval

President/CEO recommendations are reviewed and considered by the board at publicly-noticed committee meetings and board meetings. Applicants are encouraged to attend these meetings. Board approval of the recommendations will allow the contract negotiation process to begin. Negotiation may include reframing the proposed services, and adjusting the total allocation, budget or any other changes necessary to comply with the requirements of the solicitation and resulting contract. All of the contract terms included in the RFP are non-negotiable.