United Way of York County Calls on Social Work Faculty For Help

March 25, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point It has been several years since the United Way of York County conducted a community needs assessment.
bullet point The goal of the assessment was to determine the main needs and issues in the county.
bullet point Two social work faculty members and one student completed the assessment.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA-What are the York County community's most pressing needs-support for veterans? Poverty assistance? Crime prevention?

The United Way of York County approached Winthrop University social work faculty members Duane Neff and Monique Constance-Huggins about conducting a community needs assessment, the first one the non-profit had requested in several years.

The goal of the community needs assessment was to identify the main issues or needs in York County, said Constance-Huggins, an assistant professor of social work.

"The United Way believes that the results from the study will help them to better tailor their funding to endeavors and programs that address the greatest needs in the county," she said.

For the first phase of the assessment, they presented data on multiple topics representing social and economic indicators in the county, including data on:

*Household types
*Social support
*Access to health care
*Asset poverty
*Public assistance

In the second phase, they surveyed residents about these issues.

"Of special note, the surveys were also translated into Spanish, thereby increasing participation from the Hispanic community," Constance-Huggins said.

They also held seven different focus groups, in which residents could comment on what they felt were prominent issues as well as elaborate and discuss those issues.

She and Neff brought in Lauren Goodwin, a social work major from Ridgeway, South Carolina, to help with taking notes at the focus groups and transcribing the information, an experience Goodwin said she greatly enjoyed.

"Sitting in on focus groups for members of the York County community, I learned about professionalism in social work and building rapport with the community," she said. "I also improved my note-taking and survey-coding skills as part of the assessment. Observing Dr. Neff and Dr. Huggins in their work with the community needs assessment for United Way helped further my interest in community social work and was an excellent addition to my Winthrop experience."

Interested in the results? For a copy of the executive report summary, e-mail Tamara Peterson, community impact director at the United Way of York County, at tpeterson@unitedwayofyc.org.

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