As required by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), each county must study community needs and evaluate the strength of current services for children and families every two years. This year, WRI joins the Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC) in Camden County as its research partner, focused on evaluating the efficacy of current services and assessing needs. The Human Services Needs Assessment in Camden County will employ quantitative and qualitative analysis using a mix of county data mining, stakeholder interviews, and virtual focus groups to determine the county’s priority needs and service areas, as well as any barriers that may exist for local families in accessing or utilizing services. Tracy Swan, senior project administrator for the WRI, leads the project.
The needs assessment incorporates Camden County’s profile of data pertinent to health and human service delivery. This information will be compared to the results of the surveys, focus groups, and stakeholder interviews to see how the community’s input on needs and services relates to the quantitative data. The needs assessment also includes community outreach and feedback through a community-wide survey and more than 10 virtual focus groups representing a wide cross-section of the community. Participants will include health and human services providers; public service organizations, such as schools, police, and medical professionals; community leaders and local business owners; as well as those currently or previously served by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Children’s System of Care, or community-based providers, such as HSAC-funded programs. Youth and young adults are also invited to participate. Stakeholder interviews will be conducted by the Community Planning and Advocacy Council. The full report will be completed by the end of 2020 and presented to Camden County’s Human Services Advisory Council in early 2021 to inform New Jersey’s Federal Child and Family Service Plan.