To improve the outcomes of children, youth, and families, the provided services must be tailored to the specific needs of each community. A needs assessment is one way to learn what those specific needs are. After identifying what strengths and gaps are present, those strengths can be capitalized on. The whole community must partner and collaborate with child welfare, community-based providers, and the families served to identify where improvements can be made.
Below are strategies on how to conduct successful needs assessments and use the results to improve family and community well-being.
Assessing Community Needs and Resources
Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas
Provides access to work specific tasks, examples, and links to more detailed instructions for communities looking to complete a community needs assessment.
Community Conditions that Strengthen Families: Protective Factors Work at the Community Level
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2020)
Summarizes survey findings from organizational partners and members of the Strengthening Families National Network interested in using the Protective Factors Framework in their community-level approach and their viewpoints on community conditions that support child and family outcomes.
Community-Level Planning (PDF - 350 KB)
Children's Bureau Learning and Coordination Center (2017)
Describes effective processes for tailoring State-level child abuse and neglect prevention frameworks to local communications. Recommendations including framing the scope of the local plan, planning specific action steps, and monitoring progress.
Community Needs Assessment [Video]
Center for Victim Research (2018)
Describes how a community needs assessment can be used to identify victims in a community and details the steps involved.
Community Needs Assessment Resource Guide
Community Action Partnerships (2018)
Provides a curated list of resources that Community Action Agencies can utilize to conduct the steps needed to do a successful community needs assessment.
Conduct a Needs Assessment
Rural Health Information Hub
Provides information on conducting a community needs assessment in a rural community to help determine where and how resources may be best targeted.
Five Steps to Assessing Community Needs [Video]
AmeriCorps Service Resources (2018)
Provides a five-step video guide for conducting a successful community needs assessment.
Plan Elements: Community Needs Assessment
Reviews how community needs assessments can highlight risk factors in a community and collect data related to needs faced by children, families, and communities.