Community Engagement Assessment Tool: Supporting Family, Youth and Community Engagement in all MCH/CYSHCN Programs


Emerging Practice

Community Engagement Assessment Tool: Supporting Family, Youth and Community Engagement in all MCH/CYSHCN Programs

State/TerritorySettingPopulationTopic AreaNPMs
WisconsinCommunityCross-Cutting/System BuildingFamily & Youth Engagement1

Family, youth and community engagement is a core value of all of our MCH/CYSHCN programs. Through programs across the country there are many different ways in which services are provided to our citizens. But what about engagement? Is there a way we can assess and incorporate increased engagement throughout all of our MCH and CYSHCN programs? In Wisconsin we think there is. We have created a Community Engagement Assessment Tool which can be used by all MCH and CYSHCN programs to enhance engagement. We know from the evidence that family, youth and community engagement improves planning and policies, resulting in services more directly responsive to the needs of the people we serve.

Our Community Engagement Assessment Tool is based on six components of engagement with 14 different indicators of engagement. All MCH programs can use this assessment to evaluate how well they are doing engaging with the people that they serve. We built in autonomy for agencies to select an indicator of engagement to improve. Each program creates their own action plan based on their own assessment with people who have lived experience. This tool looks at engagement from the perspective of those with lived experience. Even if a program thinks they are doing a great job engaging with the people they serve, it doesn’t count for much unless those people reap the benefits of that effort. This tool assess engagement in:

• Family, Youth and Community Partnership
• Culture of Inclusion and Equity
• Program Environment
• Program Leadership
• Professional Development
• Continuous Improvement.

We created this tool with people who have lived experience and modified it according to their experience. We are now in our third year of using this tool in our MCH/CYSHCN programs. Feedback from those who have used the tool include: "It is simple and self-explanatory," "we increased awareness of health equity among community organizations," and "youth who identify as LGBTQ no longer feel excluded from our program." This tool supports a paradigm shift from providing services for people to doing our work with people. No matter which National Performance Measure an agency is addressing, this tool helps them learn to do their work with the people they serve. We move beyond surveys to actual partnership.


practice contact information

UW-Madison Waisman Center / Division of Public Health - Family Health Section - CYSHCN Unit
Becky Burns
Rebecca.Burns@dhs.wi.gov
608-228-7445

Project Website