To build community support and ensure CAPP and PREP success, we must first assess the community's readiness to address adolescent sexual health issues or support a particular intervention. By understanding how key sectors of the community see the issue at hand, we can strategize a path toward greater community support and engagement.
What is the Community Readiness Model process?The Community Readiness Model (CRM) is a research-based process and assessment tool for measuring a community's readiness to address a given social issue. Developed by the Tri-Ethnic Center at Colorado State University, the tool has been used by people seeking to make positive change in their communities on issues such as breast health disparities, intimate partner violence, services for LGBT elders, and Latino/a school dropout, among many others. The New York State Department of Health encourages CAPP providers to work with ACT for Youth to address community readiness; the tools are also available to PREP providers.
Working with one of the original developers, ACT for Youth has designed an adaptation of the CRM specifically for CAPP and PREP. To conduct the assessment, you will select a small group of community stakeholders to engage in a structured interview about a key issue related to adolescent sexual health (CAPP component 1). The interviews in the CAPP and PREP adaptation cover three dimensions of readiness with respect to the issue: community members' knowledge, community climate, and community leadership's attitudes. Once the interviews are compiled and analyzed, you will be able to identify the community's stage of readiness, and this, in turn, will help you determine the most effective community outreach strategy.
First StepsTo begin the CRM process, you must identify: 1) the specific issue you wish to address, 2) the relevant community, and 3) the stakeholders who will yield the best information ("key respondents"). In the video below, Jutta Dotterweich reviews the first steps in the process.
Identify the Issue and the Community
To conduct an accurate community readiness assessment, it is critical to first define the issue to be investigated in clear and specific terms. For CAPP, the issue must connect to component 1. It is equally important to define the community of interest. This may be a geographical community; a system (such as juvenile justice or a school district); or an organization (such as a school or community-based organization where you would like to offer programming).
Identify the Key Respondents
The interview process requires 6-10 community stakeholders or respondents. Who understands the issue you've identified in that specific community? Who knows what's going on in the community and can reflect how community members feel about the identified issue? Your goal here is to collect a wide range of informed perspectives while limiting the interviews to a manageable number.
InterviewsInterviews generally take 30-45 minutes and may be conducted in person or over the phone. You may wish to contact the people you hope to interview by mail or email to explain the project before you call them to schedule an interview. A template for an introductory letter is provided below. If at all possible, record each interview so that you can ensure accuracy -- see Recording Tips below. Finally, a template for the interviews has been developed that can be tailored to your specific issue and community.
Keep in mind that your TA provider (PDF) is available to support you.
Increasing Input from Young PeopleAlthough one or two young people are typically part of the key respondent group that is interviewed for the community readiness assessment, we recommend that you gather additional youth input. By convening a small, diverse group of young people for a focus group or discussion session, you are likely to gain additional valuable information.
Scoring the InterviewsOnce you have completed your interviews, you need to code them to determine your community's readiness score across each dimension (community members' knowledge, community climate, and community leadership's attitudes). You may also wish to calculate an overall score, but keep in mind that the overall readiness score may be less informative and useful than the score for each dimension. The following presentation and tools describe the scoring process.
Moving Toward ActionAfter completing and coding the interviews, it is time to summarize the findings and consider what the results can tell you about community readiness. This in turn will guide your next steps.
Summarize the Results
Enter a description of your interview efforts and scores into a Community Readiness Report (see template below). Include summaries and short discussions of themes and challenges that surfaced through the process. The completed report will describe the assessment process, efforts, and findings. Internally, this report will provide a foundation for you and your implementation team to discuss action steps. Externally, it can provide information about the assessment efforts and findings to the community.
Next Steps: Plan for Action
The Community Readiness Model provides a set of possible action steps for each stage or level of readiness. How do you select the action steps that will effectively raise the readiness level for your community? With your team, take a closer look at the scores as well as the themes, obstacles, and additional information that surfaced in the assessment process. The interviews may also have identified stakeholders and leaders who may support your efforts to raise the community's readiness level. Consider what young people have said about your community's readiness level. Given all of this information, what are the next steps that can move your community forward in each dimension?
See the sidebars for additional planning tools and resources.