To succeed, a prevention program should be tailored to the strengths and needs of the community it serves. An assessment to identify those strengths and needs can take many forms, such as a compilation of demographic data from census records, results of surveys, and partners' responses to questions about the community they serve. Assessments can be expanded to include focus group discussions, town meetings, interviews with stakeholders, and telephone or mailed surveys to partnership members. An image or chart of community assets will show opportunities for building on the strengths of individuals, agencies, and businesses within the community.
Use the following resources to learn more about assessing community strengths and needs.
Assessing Community Needs and Resources
Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas
Focuses on community assessment for health promotion programs.
Assessing Community Needs, Strengths and Resources
Peers for Progress (2021)
Provides a guide to various community needs assessments and presents options for processes that can be followed.
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, Research, and Planning
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Presents tools that can be used to assess the needs and strengths of a community to aid in child maltreatment prevention and the promotion of positive outcomes for children and families.
Annie E. Casey Foundation, Harvard's Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, & Rockefeller Foundation
Provides community builders with problem-solving tools and strategies in the form of case studies, best practices, and web links related to community development issues. The website also features discussion forums to foster interactive exchanges of ideas and peer-to-peer learning.
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.
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.