“Focusing on the assets of lower income communities does not imply that these communities do not need additional resources from the outside. Rather, this…simply suggests that outside resources will be much more effectively used if the local community is itself fully mobilized and invested, and if it can define the agendas for which additional resources must be obtained…the discussion of asset-based community development is intended to affirm, and to build upon the remarkable work already going on in neighborhoods across the country,” – McKnight and Kretzmann, p. 8, 1993. 

 We talk a lot in foster care about what is lacking. Don’t get us wrong, we know there are a lot of shortcomings to the system.

However, we see the incredible strengths of this community every day. The commitment, resilience, and ingenuity. The tireless commitment to learning. These positive individual attributes are coupled with a diverse range of resources and services available by local government and non-profits in our community. By making an asset map, we are hoping to have a visual representation of these resources that will serve two purposes: first, to help foster parents locate needed resources and services; and second, for service providers and local governments to better understand what areas need to be built upon.

We know that the reform needed in the Children’s Administration will not happen overnight. That is why we are looking inward at our community to see what strengths we already possess and can build on ourselves.

The first step to making a CAM is to create an inventory. In our community, we will use the following categories:

  1. Individual Capacities: Foster parent in the area and their skill-sets, i.e. Trauma Informed Care, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, CSEC, respite providers, etc.
  2. Local Businesses: Many of the businesses in the area surrounding the 2100 Building are excited about the opportunity to help our foster care community. For the purposes of our map, we will specifically note local businesses that are willing to offer discounts or special programs for youth in care and their caregivers.
  3. Citizens Associations: Community groups that have expressed and/or demonstrated interest in supporting youth in care through fundraising or service projects
  4. Cultural/Religious Organizations: It is of the utmost importance that children in care are able to practice their culture and traditions. Cultural associations are a great asset in helping foster parents connect youth with their own communities, especially when it is a community that the parent is not a part of.
  5. Hospitals and Health Care Providers: We will emphasize providers who accept Medicaid and may focus on the needs of children in care.
  6. Social Service Agencies
  7. Public Schools
  8. Libraries
  9. Parks & Recreation facilities

Our physical CAM will be created on Google Maps in order to ensure that the map is dynamic and easily accessible. The categories in the inventory will be denoted by different color pins on the map.

Sources:

McKnight, J.L., Kretzmann, J.P., (1990). “Mapping Community Capacity.” Institute for Policy Research Northwestern University.

McKnight, J.L., Kretzmann, J.P., (1993). “Introduction to ‘Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’sAssets, Evanston, IL: Institute for Policy Research.'”

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