Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Making a Difference in Your Neighborhood: Developing a Results Agenda

Last month, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) released a new tool for communities: “Making a Difference In Your Neighborhood: A Handbook for Using Community Decision-Making to Improve the Lives of Children, Youth and Families.” Based on CSSP’s work in communities throughout the past two decades, this handbook provides communities with the “how to” guidance that is needed to begin community change efforts. In the next few months, we will provide a brief overview of each of the handbook’s chapters and highlight the information that we believe is critical to building communities that improve outcomes for children and families.

This week, we spotlight Chapter 1: Developing a Results Agenda.

With communities throughout the country facing several struggles, such as limited access to support services, quality schools and healthcare, communities have started to embark on comprehensive change initiatives in an effort to ensure that all children and families have the opportunity to thrive. As communities begin to think about how to design a transformation strategy, it is important to develop a results agenda that defines the conditions of well-being that the community is seeking for its children and families. Identifying results first is important for several reasons. Developing a results agenda can help your community come together around shared goals, hold each other accountable to progress and performance, and develop strategic and targeted solutions to ensure that families have access to the supports, services and opportunities they need.

To truly grasp the results the entire community hopes to achieve, it is important to incorporate the opinions of all residents, including young people, elders, longtime residents, immigrants, public housing residents, residents that are active in neighborhood activities and those that are not. Reaching out to all community residents can help you understand the various struggles individual families are facing, the resources they currently use (or lack access to) and the specific solutions they think will address their needs and the needs of the community.

There are several different ways to engage the members of your community, including:

  • Story Circles
  • Neighborhood Surveys
  • Neighborhood Summits

For more information about developing a results agenda, including community assessment tools and strategies to gather resident input, please view the Making a Difference in Your Neighborhood handbook.

To learn more about CSSP’s work in communities, please click here.

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