Running head: COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT 1
COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Community Needs Assessment
Community Needs Assessment
Child abuse and neglect has become a major social issue that social services have to deal with. The rates of child abuse and neglect have increased in the community, and it has now become an issue that needs to be addressed. According to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) (2019) at least 1600 children die from causes related to maltreatment and caregivers. In the year, 2017, at least 3.5 million children were subjected to maltreatment investigation, which indicates the large number of children who need help from the stakeholders. ACF shows that the cases dropped between 2017 and 2019 but it does not mean the problem does not exist.
There are issues that surround the maltreatment of children, mainly drug problems and mental issues. Some caregivers and parents are drug addicts who fail to provide proper care to children exposing them to abuse and neglect. A child in a family where one or both parents abuse drugs is more likely to suffer abuse more than those in families where no drugs are abused (Zeanah & Humphreys, 2018). Despite the trends, the communities are not fully responsive. The closest neighbors and relatives are unlikely to report the abusive practices, even if they come across something suspicious. It deepens the social problem as the children are abused and neglected without the matter being reported to the agencies and law enforcement. If they can be reported quite early, the children may not suffer abuse for a long time. In some cases, some children are abused even for months without anyone raising an alarm (Risk Factors for Victimization, 2019). The members of the community need to be involved in the safety of the children and should take proactive measures and stay vigilant.
The local law enforcement provides information that also points out to the perceived problem. Every three days, there is a case or two that are about the suspicion of child abuse and neglect. There are concerned neighbors who report the cases, but the law enforcement feels the effort is too little. There should be frequent reporting as there are thousands of children who are subjected to abuse and neglect. With the help of the community members, it will be easier for law enforcement to respond in a timely manner and prevent the children from further abuse and neglect. It indicates the collective approach that is required. The children who are exposed to abuse may not be able to report, hence there must be a third party that will make the call and save them from further abuse (Key Facts, 2016). It is a primary reason that makes the problem persist.
In order to launch an effective program that will help address the problem, information should be gathered to provide the real picture and facts. This information will inform the approaches and methodologies that can be taken to fully address the problem. The goal is to ensure there is full and informed understanding of the child abuse and neglect issue in the community. A structured approach will be taken as follows.
First, there are individuals and parties that will be involved in the assessment. Health and human service providers will be essential people who will be part and parcel of the process. They will have a primary role in ensuring the assessment does not violate ethical and professional standards set by the regulatory bodies. Government officials from the local and state levels will be involved. Both elected and appointed officials will help in the planning phase and also be part of the team on the ground that will engage the communities. Influential people in leadership and business can also be part of the team. People with integrity and professionalism help the community feel secure and appreciated, hence will cooperate and provide the needed information. Finally, people who have been victims of the social problem will also be involved. They will help provide actionable information and guidelines regarding the social problem. Their firsthand information will support planning and action.
The team of the individuals outlined above may not amount to a diverse team that is representative of the community. In this respect, it is imperative that a planning group is recruited. The group will be diverse in terms of income, gender, ethnicity, and age among other factors. This group comes from the community, hence understands the various aspects of the community that needs to be considered during the planning phase. This team will be involved in the planning process that will focus on the desired goal, which is assessing the impact and intensity of child abuse and neglect.
In order to collect reliable data, there are two major tools that will be used for the collection of information. First, interviews and focus groups will be organized, and the community members asked to take part. They will be formal forums that will allow for interactions between the community members and the recruited teams. It is estimated that the members will provide actionable information relating to the social problem. Surveys will also be used. The simple surveys will be submitted to institutions such as schools and healthcare facilities to collect information on the issue. The anonymity of the participants should be required to promote the credibility of the information provided (White &McBurnie, 2012). These two tools will allow for collection of insightful and actionable data.
In consideration of the existing data, there are projected results that are expected. Julia da Silva (2017) asserts that child abuse and neglect is a national tragedy, where around 7 million children were admitted for examination in 2017. The analysis showed that about 683,000 were victims of abuse. 75% suffered neglect, 17% suffered physical abuse while 8% suffered sexual abuse. It provides a clear picture of the information that will be gathered. A majority of the victims suffer neglect while a smaller percentage suffer physical and sexual abuse. Also, the existing data indicate that children from low-income families are at a higher risk than those from high income families. Also, children from single-parent families are at a bigger risk. The trend is also seen in families where one or both parents suffer from drug abuse and/or mental issues. In these families, neglect is the most common form of abuse as the parents are not available to take care and provide for the children (Bilsen, 2018). In this respect, the programs to address the social problem need to focus on the root causes such as drug abuse and poverty. When these issues are addressed, the parents and caregivers are less likely to neglect the children. Also, in cases of sexual abuse, the offenders need to be identified and locked up as per the set criminal law.
Bilsen, J. (2018). Suicide and Youth: Risk Factors. Frontiers in Psychiatry 9(1), 540-551.
Child abuse, neglect data released. (2019, January 28). Retrieved from Administration for Children and Families: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/media/press/2019/child-abuse-neglect-data-released
Key Facts. (2016, September 30). Retrieved from WHO: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/child-maltreatment
Risk and Protective Factors. (2019, February 26). Retrieved from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/riskprotectivefactors.html
Silva, J. d. (2017, April 08). Child abuse persists: A national tragedy. Retrieved from APA: apa.org/pi/about/newsletter/2017/04/child-abuse
White, T. L., & McBurney, D. H. (2012). Research Methods (9th ed.). New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Zeanah, C. H., & Humphreys, K. L. (2018). Child Abuse and Neglect. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 57(9), 634-644.
Appendix One: A Logic Model
The Social Problem