Getting to Outcomes, 2004: Promoting Accountability through Methods and Tools for Planning, Implementation and Evaluation

By Matthew Chinman; Pamela Imm et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter One
QUESTION #1: What Are the Underlying
Needs and Conditions in the
Community?
Needs/Resources

Definition of Needs and Resources Assessments

Once the vision statement is

constructed, you are ready to address the first accountability question. Answering this question will help you gain a clear understanding of the problem areas or issues in your location/setting and for which group of people (potential target population) the problem is most severe. Additionally, it is important to examine the existing assets and resources in a community to help lessen or protect individuals from risk conditions and/or to prevent the emergence of problem issues. For example, good family management and supervision helps to protect youth from becoming involved in alcohol and drug use. In this example, needs may be identified in terms of families needing parenting training and counseling support to improve their parenting and supervision skills. Often needs may be defined in terms of “assets to be strengthened” in contrast to the focus on problems or deficits in the community or within a targeted population.

A needs assessment is …

a systematic process of gathering information about the current conditions of a tarageted area that underlie intervention.

This manual relies heavily on the risk and protective factor model to prevention. While there are other models available (e.g., developmental assets, etc.), risk and protective factors have been widely researched and been shown to predict diverse types of problem behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, violence, etc.) across a wide variety of populations. Definitions of risk and protective factors are provided below.

Risk factors = Factors associated with greater potential for substance use Protective factors = Factors shown to guard against substance use

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