ROMA Next Generation myth-buster

Thank you all again for your detailed feedback that you shared with NASCSP over the ROMA Next Generation initial comment period. OCS and NASCSP are hard at work modifying the ROMA Next Gen framework to incorporate and respond to your comments. We have heard from over 50 percent of the community action agencies, state agencies, and state associations across the nation, and have read all of the thousands of survey comments, emails, and letters. We will be posting national trends we’ve seen in both the survey numbers and the written comments soon. As we worked through your feedback, we noted areas of possible misinterpretation, so we created this myth-buster blog to help demystify  ROMA Next Generation.


MYTH: ROMA Next Generation is new.

FACT: ROMA Next Generation is not new. It is focused on enhancing the CSBG Network’s performance and outcomes measurement system for local eligible entities – identified in the CSBG Act as Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) System. The original ROMA framework was designed to support continuous growth and improvement among more than 1,000 local community action agencies and a basis for state leadership and assistance toward those ends. It created a system of performance management that included standardized national indicators and annual reporting tools that have been widely used within the CSBG network. However, ROMA and the associated data collection system, the CSBG Information System Survey (CSBG IS), have remained relatively unchanged since 2004, and have not evolved over the years to reflect the ways in which the network addresses a wide variety of services and populations. ROMA Next Generation introduces new tools and a revised framework to support the analysis of services and strategies provided and the impact of these services and strategies on individual and community change.  While some elements of ROMA Next Generation are familiar, there have been updates and additions to the CSBG National Performance Indicators for individuals and families, and new elements added to capture community level change, which often take more than one year to achieve. By calling these enhancements “Next Generation”, we hope to promote the full implementation of the ROMA Cycle, continue the movement of the CSBG Network towards a robust and transparent process for collecting and analyzing data, and ensure that the CSBG Network is implementing services and strategies for maximum impact at all levels – individual, family, and community.


MYTH: ROMA Next Generation is moving the network away from local determination.

FACT: ROMA Next Generation maintains the local determination and context of the block grant. It creates robust data analysis opportunities and enables agencies and states to increase understanding of what services produce the best outcomes for specific populations, family types and communities, based on the agency’s assessment of their community needs. The services and strategies at the local level inform and drive the national performance indicators.


MYTH: ROMA Next Generation will require the Network to do case management.

FACT: This is not a case management system and does not include a mandated intake report. The reports in ROMA Next Generation will comprise the revised Annual Report, currently known as the CSBG-IS Survey. Local agencies will continue to use individualized data systems as they do currently.


MYTH: The Baseline report will be used as a comparison to the All Characteristic report and to track progress or change over time.

FACT: The Baseline Characteristics Report is being proposed in order to provide a snapshot of participants who enter CAA services within a reporting year. This Baseline Characteristics Report will not be used as a comparison, and rather is intended to provide agencies, states, and OCS with a stronger understanding of the participants who enter CAA services within a reporting year, prior achieving outcomes as a result of receiving services.


MYTH: Agencies are required to report on every data element in ROMA Next Generation (e.g. all individual, family, and community indicators, services, and strategies).

FACT: Local agencies will only report on the NPIs, Services, and Strategies as that relate to their specific work and are NOT required to report on every NPI, Service, or Strategy. In reference to the Characteristic data points, we recognize there may be circumstances where agencies only collect limited information and will not be able to report provide all characteristics for all clients.  We hope that as time passes agencies will implement data systems and adjust policies that allow for data points to be collected so they may report unduplicated counts.


MYTH: ROMA NG will require all agencies to do community level work

FACT: CSBG remains a block grant and ROMA Next Generation continues to support local determination. While agencies are not required to do community level work, this is a part of our charge as community action. ROMA Next Generation provides additional opportunity to describe the variety of community level work done by community action agencies.


There will be two additional opportunities for the CSBG Network to provide feedback. OCS will hold a 60-day public comment period and a 30-day comment period before final ROMA Next Generation package is submitted for OMB clearance. NASCSP is your resource for assistance in reviewing this material. We encourage you to use our website to continue your review of ROMA Next Generation and to contact us at with any additional questions or comments.