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Community Decision-Making

Disturbed by lost opportunities for American children, states, cities and towns across the country are seeking answers to a fundamental question: How can communities help families raise their children so that they are safe, healthy, successful in school and prepared for the responsibilities of adulthood?

Responses to this question point to a need for a community-wide agenda for strengthening families and neighborhoods.

CSSP uses community decision-making to mobilize a community's strengths, formal resources and informal supports to improve quality of life and achieve positive results for children and families.

Community decision-making is based on a shared commitment to achieving concrete improvements in child, family and neighborhood conditions, and to building local capacity and accountability to sustain those results.

Decades of work by CSSP in more than 15 states shows that community decision-making works best when it:

  • Helps communities establish and monitor progress toward clearly defined results, such as improvements in school readiness, family economic success and community development
  • Uses timely, relevant and reliable data and other information to make decisions
  • Authentically involves residents, families and other community members
  • Sets a community-wide agenda for making the investments in program improvements
  • Accurately assesses community resources and coordinates those local assets
  • Engages informal social networks and formal systems to support family and community well-being
  • Reports back regularly to the community on progress
Community Decision-Making

Stay Informed

Now Available: Making a Difference in Your Neighborhood: A Handbook for Using Community Decision-Making to Improve the Lives of Children, Youth and Families

This new guide builds on CSSP's six learning guides for building community capacity. It provides tools, resources and success stories from around the country to help communities make real changes.

“Building Capacity for Community Decision-Making:  A Series of Learning Guides for Communities.”  

These learning guides are based on CSSP’s work with state and local partners from Missouri, Georgia, and Vermont. The Learning Guidesinclude facilitator tools and presentation materials to help build the capacity of community, state and local partners, including state and local government officials,  to carry out effective decision-making processes. Download all the Learning Guides.

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