The community assessment enables programs to make informed decisions about service delivery. It amplifies the voices of families in the community. It also provides specific data to help programs understand demographic changes, such as new or underserved populations in the service area, and identifies ways in which programs might address newly identified needs. Community assessment data can inform the development and implementation of the program's coordinated approach to service delivery for children who are DLLs, children with disabilities, and their families (45 CFR §1302.101(b)(2 and 3)). The community assessment helps programs consider how to use resources to advance cultural competence, foster equity, and reduce disparities. Using a strengths-based approach, the community assessment can help mobilize community resources and partnerships. You should use the community assessment to gauge the specific types of services and resources needed.
Through the community assessment, a program can determine the skills and competencies needed in the existing workforce, as well as gaps in professional development. When making decisions based on the community assessment, a review of staffing and workforce issues should be included. Does your staff have the knowledge and skills required to implement the services? Do they have the support and resources they need? What professional development needs might arise? How are they connected to the community? Are they culturally and linguistically responsive to children and families in the community? Community assessment data can be instrumental in designing and implementing a coordinated approach to training and professional development that effectively supports the delivery of high-quality services (45 CFR §1302.101(b)(1)).
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To ensure decisions are data-informed use the Appendix A-4: Identifying Data and Data-Based Decisions Worksheet.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Program Management and Fiscal Operations
Audience: Directors and Managers
Last Updated: November 2, 2023