Program Planning

Community Assessment: The Foundation for Program Planning in Head Start

The community assessment provides Head Start programs with a mechanism for ensuring programs remain responsive to the needs of the children and families they serve. The Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) refer to it as the "community-wide strategic planning and needs assessment." Community assessments provide a starting point for understanding community strengths and identifying gaps in services. They help mobilize necessary resources. When used in conjunction with other program data, it informs program planning. This comprehensive, step-by-step guide examines the regulations that direct a community assessment. It also describes recommended processes for conducting a community assessment and identifies additional resources to support these important activities.

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