Needs assessment (SPF Step 1)

In order to successfully implement a program, a needs assessment within the community must be completed. This includes assessing teen drug and alcohol use, protective and risk factors, and specific needs of the community. It is also important to assess the perception of adolescent substance abuse and general community needs through the perspective of multiple community stakeholders, including parents, law enforcement, local government, school staff, and other community members.

We chose the following evidence-based instruments to conduct our needs assessment:

Assessing adolescent substance use

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is given to all high school students through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The YRBSS monitors six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults. The purpose of the YBSS is to determine the prevalence of certain risk behaviors among youth. The focus of this needs assessment is on the Alcohol and other Drug Use portion of the YRBSS.

Assessing youth risk and protective factors

The Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) can be given to local high school students in order to assess for risk and protective factors in your community. The CYRM has three sub-scales which consist of survey items assessing the individual's personal and social skills and perceived peer support, the individual’s relationship with primary caregivers, and the individual's sense of belonging in a spiritual, educational and cultural context. The higher the score within each subscale the more resilience components the teen has in the subscale. The CYRM manual contains normative data for girls and boys in a large group sample. This data can be used to compare your community's youth population resiliency scores to those of youth from a larger dataset (Liebenberg, Ungar, & Van de Vijver, 2012). (See resources for further information about the CRYM).

Assessing perceptions of adolescent substance use through the Communities that Care (CTC) community survey

In order to assess community perception of adolescent substance use, parents and community members should be recruited at local events to anonymously complete the CTC community survey. The implementation team should give prospective participants a verbal description of the program and purpose of the CTC survey. Implementation team members should be available while community members complete the survey in order to answer any questions. The CTC survey should be completed anonymously in order to reduce social desirability bias and to assure that no community member feels that a family member may be implicated in any reported illegal activity. Not only does having a multi-disciplinary approach to the CTC Survey offer varied perspectives regarding the analysis of information, it helps ensure continuity regarding the project throughout the community as a whole.

You may also make the survey available online through Survey Monkey is a web-based program that is able to collect anonymous responses. The collector setting should be set to not save IP addresses in the analyzing section. Survey Monkey does not use any data collected for their own purposes and utilizes a stringent physical and network security measures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of collected data.

Assessing adolescent substance use program needs through focus groups with community members and school staff

In order to determine the specific needs of the respective program, we must continuously analyze and modify the data that we present to the student population. As a result of the aforementioned, we have established focus groups made up of professionals from various disciplines throughout the community which includes Rusk Restorative youth members, RCYC volunteers, school administrators, public health officials, health and human services representatives, and members of community and civic organizations.

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(877) 607-5280

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