Community Assessment

Prepare the Community Assessment Report

a toddler girl smiles over adult's shoulder

As you can see, there is a great deal of information gathered and analyzed for the community assessment. Not every detail or piece of raw data needs to be included in the report. In fact, the team will have to make decisions about what information to include and, in particular, how to analyze and summarize what is included. Visual presentations, such as charts and graphs, can help immensely.

If you have used an outside consultant to collect and analyze data, it is likely they will also be involved in writing the report. To ensure your report includes all the essential components of the community assessment, be sure to work closely with the consultant to prepare the report outline and review and edit the complete draft report. Ultimately, the report must meet the needs of your group and core stakeholders. Communicating with the consultant throughout the process will ensure the final product meets your unique situation. 

There are many ways to present all the information gathered and analyzed for the community assessment. Figure 5.1 provides a sample community assessment outline and page estimate; this sample report contains approximately 50 pages, with appendices.

Table 5.1: Sample Community Assessment Outline

Assessment Section



I. Executive Summary

1–2 pages

Highlights your methods of data collection and analysis, major findings, and recommendations.

II. Table of Contents

1 page 

Identifies the sections of the report and corresponding page numbers.

III. Overview of the State of the Grantee

3–5 pages

Summarizes the program history, location of the sites, staffing patterns, and other general information. A map may be included to show the service and recruitment areas as well as program locations.

IV. Methodology

2–3 pages

Describes the planning process, data collection methods, and data analysis.

V. Service Area Data

6–10 pages

Details basic geographic, economic, and demographic features, including required data on the number of eligible children and expectant mothers, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, and children with disabilities.

VI. Identified Needs

8–11 pages

Discusses the education, health, nutrition and social service needs of eligible children and their families, including prevalent social or economic factors that impact their well-being.

VII. Community Resources and Strengths

8–11 pages

Includes required information on other child development programs, resources available in the community, and community strengths. Addresses issues of availability and access to resources for families.

VIII. Observations and Recommendations

5–7 pages

Uses the findings in the community assessment to make recommendations about the program and to identify trends in the service area. Five-year goals
can be included in this section.

IX. Appendices

As needed

Includes surveys, interview questions, other documents, and supplemental data.

Depending on the data you have gathered and the recommendations you propose, you may want to structure the community assessment report somewhat differently. Above all, keep asking yourself if the community assessment report is providing information that helps answer this essential question: How can Head Start ensure that the correct services are provided to the appropriate population?