Do you make decisions for your program without enough data? It happens. More frequently than you think. Here are a few thoughts to consider:
What is comprehensive data?
It all starts with a good Community Assessment. A comprehensive Community Assessment provides a complete picture of the current conditions in your service area – including the needs of low-income children and families. Once you have a complete picture, you and your team can plan and make the right decisions for your Head Start program.
Where do you find the data that you need?
There is a wealth of data available from a variety of sources. Externally, there is the Census Bureau, State Departments of Health, Kids Count Data Center, and State Data Centers, just to name a few. Internally, there is your PIR and surveys of your parents, Policy Council, Board of Directors, staff, and community partners.
How do you use the data?
A good Community Assessment will be user friendly – providing you with key findings and trends. It should also compare the current data to the previous years’ data. So now you have what you need to make decisions. From the information, you should be able to answer these questions:
- Are we selecting the children who are the most in need?
- Are my centers in the right locations?
- Do the program options that we offer meet the needs of our parents?
- Are we providing children and families with the services that they need?
- Are we collaborating with the right community partners?
A comprehensive Community Assessment is the tool that you need to make good decisions in serving the children and families in your program. If you need help creating a Community Assessment, we can help. Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 to discuss your needs.