Assessment of where you are and where you want to be is a critical first stage of a policy initiative. The full Policy Action Guide Assessment (PDF - 1.25 MB) includes the following:
- Problem and objectives
- What is the problem or issue that you are seeking to address through a policy initiative?
- What evidence do you have for the need for change?
- What child welfare principles best describe your problem or issue area?
- What objectives are you hoping to achieve related to the problem or issue?
- What specific results are you trying to achieve through the policy initiative?
- Who is the primary population of interest?
- In what geographic area are you seeking change?
- Developmental stage and time frame
- How long has your organization or coalition been working to address this issue/problem?
- Within what time frame are you trying to accomplish change?
- Existing policies
- Are there existing policies that address your problem or issue area? What changes or modifications are needed?
- Are there child welfare practices that are not currently aligned with existing policies?
- Where are there policy gaps?
- Environmental and contextual factors
- What factors support a policy initiative?
- What factors may hinder a policy initiative?
- In addition to a policy initiative, what other changes need to take place to achieve your objectives?
Answers to these questions will help prepare you to select an appropriate policy approach that meets identified needs and circumstances.
Before you begin to answer these questions, your organization or community collaborative already should have identified a problem or issue that you are seeking to address through a policy initiative. If you have not already defined your problem/issue, consider conducting a comprehensive needs assessment.