|TITLE:||COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT|
|PRINCIPLE INVESTIGATOR:||HAMILTON, ELLEN|
File Created: January 29, 2013|
Department Chair Action Date: February 1, 2013
Current Status: Final Status Report Received
|Confidentiality||Data are linked to individuals.|
STATEMENT OF PURPOSEThe purpose of a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) is to prioritize what a community sees as its biggest areas of need. Every three years, Community Action Partnership of Greater St. Joseph (CAPSTJOE) conducts a CNA for the four-county region (Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton, and DeKalb) that they serve and it guides how they prioritize services in those counties. CAPSTJOE’s mission is to end poverty so the CNA emphasizes opinions and observations on different areas of poverty. However, geographical areas with different populations and environments often have different needs. This assessment will focus solely on Clinton and DeKalb counties. The data collected will be used to identify if the priorities of the rural counties differ from the service area as a whole and how services can personalized to those needs. This process is a valuable educational experience because most agencies are required to perform CNAs every few years to maintain funding levels and to gather new data. It is important to my education as a future social worker to understand the process for a CNA.
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThe methodology of the CNA involves two parts. First, one to two surveys that are quantitatively measured will be given to current social service clients and also other community members to identify their views on poverty in Clinton and DeKalb counties. These surveys will have the participant identify the areas of poverty that they see most pressing in their communities. It also allows room for additional comments. The client survey will include a section about what services they are aware of and have utilized. These surveys may be mailed, handed out, or accessed online. The second part is focus groups and personal interviews that allow for qualitative responses. Two to three focus groups will be held and any additional personal interviews that allow for a representative group. All effort will be made to include local government leaders, employers, minorities, high school seniors, and those in poverty in these discussions. The target population of this researched is those living and working in the Clinton and DeKalb counties over the age of 18. The topic being researched in what areas of poverty are most pressing for residents of Clinton and DeKalb counties. I hypothesize that the data gathered from Clinton and DeKalb counties will differ from the four-county data gathered in 2011.
ANTICIPATED RISKS AND BENEFITSParticipants will be made aware of the purpose and details of the study by including a cover letter for each paper survey. Online surveys will also have a statement that must be agreed to before proceeding. This survey is completely voluntary and participants will have the opportunity to leave questions blank, decline to participate, or stop any time. Focus group participants will sign a letter of consent and will be ensured of their confidentiality. No names or other identifying information will be included with that analysis of the information. Surveys will not include names therefore there is no way for names to be linked back to individual surveys. The surveys will all be analyzed together. The risks are minimal. The benefits, however, could be great. The potential benefits of this study included new business partners, an increased awareness of poverty, an increased awareness of current services, and the personalization, modification, and expansion of services to the Clinton and DeKalb counties area. And area that may be a problem for the researcher is getting adequate support from area social service agencies and community leaders. These groups will be informed of the benefits of this research. This information may also be used by other agencies to modify or create their own programs.
SUBJECT SELECTIONTo maximize survey size, the surveys will use a convenience sampling process because it is voluntary. It is unclear how many participants will volunteer to take the survey. The goal is to have at least 100 participants. However, all efforts will be made to create a representative sample. The surveys will be available in many locations and the online survey will be marketed by local employers and possibly in local businesses. The focus groups will also be a convenience sample. Many individuals will be contacted and all efforts will be made to encourage a diverse and representative sampling. This will be done by including demographic information on the surveys and in the focus groups. Due to informed consent concerns, nobody under the age of 18 will be surveyed or interviewed. There will be no monetary incentive for participating.
CONFIDENTIALITYSurveys will not need written consent therefore they will not include any names, addresses, or other private information. Paper surveys will be locked in a filing cabinet at the CAPSTJOE office and destroyed after five years. Online surveys will be password protected. Focus groups will require consent forms however the notes taken during the sessions will not include names or other identifying information. Names will not be used in the report or any presentations.
Final Report on 05-02-2013Data collection for the community needs assessment has been completed. Overall, 70 surveys were filled out both in paper and on-line. 3 focus groups were held with 14 participants. The data is still being analyzed and used to make recommendations to CAPSTJOE.
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