WHEELING – Individuals who have accessed or provided community support services in Ohio County are being asked to participate in one of three focus groups organized by the Ohio County Community Needs Assessment Partnership (CNAP). The focus groups will take place virtually on March 9, 10, and 11. CNAP will review local needs specifically in mental and physical health, education and youth programs, and financial stability, which will lead to less duplication of services and increased programming where it is needed.
Last year, representatives from 18 local organizations joined forces to create this partnership and systematically evaluate strengths and areas of opportunity in the county’s services.
“The assessment team has worked for months to reach as many community members as possible using surveys. While this will provide insight to service gaps and needs, the focus groups will allow for an open discussion to help guide service delivery and expand programming,” said Claudia Raymer, executive director of the Ohio County Family Resource Network. “Individuals and agency members have extensive, diverse knowledge about educating the community and leveraging and distributing resources, and this assessment will allow us to ensure we’re doing so comprehensively and effectively in the studied service areas.”
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The group has completed both service provider and service recipient surveys and now seeks input from the community through focus groups.Focus groups are being conducted in a virtual format and led by a neutral facilitator contracted by the Partnership.
CNAP is comprised of both a leadership team and an assessment team. Leadership team members include Ohio County Family Resource Network (FRN), Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley (CFOV), West Virginia University (WVU) Extension – Ohio County, and United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley. The 14-member assessment team is responsible for reviewing, editing, and approving CNAP surveys and focus group questions. CNAP has contracted with Collective Impact, LLC, a capacity-building consulting firm based out of Huntington, WV, to facilitate the project.
“While COVID-19 has become a significant issue facing the community, the project is assessing community needs independently of the health pandemic,” said Lewis Honaker, agent for WVU Extension – Ohio County. “We’re engaging the broader community to learn about the community needs that are most important to people in Ohio County. The next phase of the project is having conversations through focus groups with both service providers and service recipients.”
The final needs assessment report is anticipated to be released in the Spring of 2021. The data will drive area organizations’ work and help foundations determine funding for actual rather than perceived needs in Ohio County. The link to register for a service provider or service recipient focus group is available by emailing OhioCountyFRN@yahoo.com.