Community Needs Assessment


Community Needs Assessment

A Community Needs Assessment is more than a requirement of administering a Head Start / Early Head Start grant. A well done CNA links your program to community resources, empowers leadership and families, shapes the direction of your program structure, hiring decisions, and growth strategy, and feeds into your SMART goals. Willow Tree will work with you to deliver a high quality CNA that positions your program for success.

Why Choose Willow Tree Early Education Team?

  1. As an experienced former HS/EHS Executive Director, Jerry Parr understands the need to complete a high quality, reliable CNA on time and within budget.  We get it.
  2. Willow Tree Early Education Team CNA’s are professionally designed, so your program will feel proud to distribute your CNA to your constituents.
  3. We work quickly, independently, and cost-effectively.

Our Process

  1. Discovery: During this phase, Willow Tree will work with the prospective client to understand their needs. For example, understanding whether the CNA is a full version or an update to existing, how the CNA will be used, if there are specific topics that the client would like to include, and if there is a structure or outline that the requesting organization recommends (Head Start, SAMHSA, etc.).
  2. Kickoff: The first meeting with the project teams from Willow Tree and the client is the kickoff. The group sets up roles and responsibilities, shares resources & concerns/questions, and agrees to a timeline and working mode (i.e. how documents will be shared, what level of project check in will be involved)
  3. Project build out: The teams work together to create the tools for the Assessment process, including on-line surveys, mailing lists, focus group locations & attendee invites.
  4. Data collection: Willow Tree Early Education Team collects and assesses secondary research, and conducts primary research: on line surveys, in-person and phone interviews, and on-site focus groups.
  5. Data consolidation: Willow Tree aggregates data, identifies trends. Initial results are shared with client. Additional data collection needs are identified, and a plan for collecting additional data is created and executed.
  6. Draft report write up: WT writes up the complete draft document, and provides it to the client for review and comment. Client provides input.
  7. Final edits: WT completes the report and provides it to client in PDF (electronic), print (optional) and PowerPoint (optional). Project is closed.

Here is an example of a Community Needs Assessment we did for Chattanooga…

Here is a tool we provide and use ourselves for all our Community Needs Assessments.

Useful Links

From the Head Start | ECLKC website:

Community Assessment Matrix – The community assessment describes the context in which Head Start and Early Head Start programs operate and is useful for ensuring that the correct services are provided to the appropriate population.

Five Steps to Community Assessment: A Workbook for Head Start and Early Head Start Programs Serving Hispanic and Other Emerging Populations.

Determining community strengths, needs, and resources – A program must propose a service area in the grant application and define the area by county or sub-county area, such as a municipality, town or census tract or jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian reservation.

Build on a Responsive Community Assessment – Tools and Resources.

Community and Self-Assessment – Community and self-assessment systems highlight the two starting points for the program planning process.

Join us as we make a difference.