Community Assessment

Identify Internal and External Data

a smiling family sits on the couch together

One useful framework for designing data collection is to identify your sources of data. This includes determining where you will go to get the information you need, including:

  • Internal data: Both past and current program data.
  • External data: Information from resources outside your program and agency.

Table 2.1: Types and Sources of Internal and External Data

Types of Internal Data

  • Child outcomes
  • Demographics on children and families on the waiting list
  • Demographics on enrolled children and families
  • Existing community partnerships
  • Family engagement outcomes
  • Fiscal reports
  • Health records
  • Facility maintenance records
  • Staff qualifications and professional development needs and outcomes

Types of External Data

  • Child welfare data
  • Community resources for child care and child development
  • Community safety data
  • Demographics of the service area (e.g., race, ethnicity, household income, employment, poverty levels, housing and homelessness, and education levels)
  • Environmental issues
  • Health and education issues
  • Number of children with disabilities and the types and services they require

Sources to Obtain Internal Data

  • Enrollment forms
  • Family Partnership Agreements
  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs)
  • Human resources records
  • Ongoing monitoring reports
  • Progress reports on program goals
  • Meeting notes (e.g., minutes of governing body, Policy Council, advisory committees, and staff meetings)
  • PIR Report
  • Program self-assessment
  • Family assessment data
  • Transportation logs

Sources to Obtain External Data

  • Federal, state, and city departments of
    • Health and Human Services
    • Education
    • Labor
  • Faith-based institutions
  • Federal monitoring reviews
  • Local economic development agencies
  • Local media sources
  • Nonprofit services
  • Local and regional environmental planning agencies
  • Public school systems and local colleges
  • State, county, and local governments
  • U.S Census Bureau