A community needs assessment identifies the strengths and resources available in the community to meet the needs of children, youth, and families. The assessment focuses on the capabilities of the community, including its citizens, agencies, and organizations. It provides a framework for developing and identifying services and solutions and building communities that support and nurture children and families.
A community assessment may be limited to a compilation of demographic data from census records, results of surveys conducted by others, and informal feedback from community partners. Or, assessments may be expanded to include focus group discussions, town meetings, interviews with stakeholders, and telephone or mailed surveys to partnership members and the community.
Assessing Community Needs and Resources
University of Kansas Community Tool Box
Focuses on community assessment for health promotion programs.
Assessing Service Requests and Gaps for Child Welfare Families: DCFS Needs Portal (PDF - 584 KB)
University of California, Los Angeles, Luskin School of Public Affairs
Highlights the findings of a study that assessed service requests and gaps in resources in neighborhoods for parents involved with the child welfare system in Los Angeles, California. For the study, 183 service tickets were reviewed to compare the three types of services (basic needs, family well-being, and psychosocial) by the number of times the service was requested and the number of comments received to identify unmet service needs.
Community Needs Assessment and Gaps Analysis 2016 [North Carolina] (PDF - 3,190 KB)
Presents the findings of a review of a health-care provider’s capacity, an assessment of service accessibility and choice, and incorporation of community feedback about needs and gaps. The report details the methodology for collecting consumer, family, and stakeholder input.
County of San Diego Community Action Plan 2018–2019 (PDF - 6,221 KB)
Community Action Partnership, Office of Strategy and Innovation, County of San Diego Health and Human Service Agency
Provides an overview of the comprehensive community needs assessment collected through surveys, key informant interviews, and a public forum. The plan also explains a model that was used to engage residents of low-income communities to lead the collection of direct feedback regarding the needs and priorities of San Diego’s economically disadvantaged individuals, families, and communities.
Developing Strategies for Child Maltreatment Prevention: A Guide to Community Needs Assessments (PDF - 1,270 KB)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services & the University of Texas at Austin Child and Family Research Institute (2015)
Presents specific strategies and four steps communities can take to complete a needs assessment. Communities are encouraged to use and adapt components of this guide to meet their needs.
Early Childhood Needs and Resources Community Assessment Tool (PDF - 56 KB)
National League of Cities
Designed to help city officials and other community leaders gain a better understanding of how young children and their families are faring and where assistance is needed.
Planning and Program Development: Community Needs Assessment
Office for Victims of Crime
The HALOS Strategy
Provides an overview of community needs assessments, the challenges to consider when conducting a needs assessment, and some of the lessons learned from HALOS’ extensive needs assessment process. The webpage also provides a link to the Office for Victims of Crime’s web-based Guide to Conducting a Needs Assessment.