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mapping assets

Asset mapping produces a visual map of all the child development interventions in a state or district that the Action Team and its partners decide to include in the comprehensive framework. These may include any school-based programs that focus on this approach, as well as developmental programs in the community and other resources. The goal is to connect like-minded programs and provide a visual representation of what is already being done. This will not only demonstrate strength and support for the programs, it will show that there is already an infrastructure in place that can be used to grow the approach.

Asset-mapping reframes the task from specifying needs, the typical method that advocates use to present the case for investment in behavioral, social, and health programs, to describing current resources that are already in place and working. There is considerable research indicating that a presentation of needs does not generally produce as positive a response as does the “can-do” approach of building on assets.

The asset-mapping strategy also provides a useful tool for school personnel, providers, and any other advocates to start working together to define such next steps as whether and how to reorganize resources or what additional resources to seek based on the team’s goals.

Finally, asset-mapping encourages collecting population-based data that can show positive gains over time.

At its best, asset mapping paints a visual “big picture” of the comprehensive child development approach that helps policymakers and practitioners see how the multiple separate programs exist in relation to one another. It thereby becomes a fundamental tactic for harnessing support essential to the long-term sustainability of effective child development and prevention programs.

In this section, we will provide you with tools and tips for identifying and quantifying such assets and about technology to create your maps.

Guiding Questions
  • Different systems organize data differently and even geographic locations where funds are spent vary, so your team will have to figure out what is going to be included
    • What process can you devise to figure out what data will be identified and counted?
    • What data is available that represents interventions to promote the health, education, or wellbeing status of youth and families in your community?
    • What organizations or agencies ‘own’ that information?
    • Is this information publically available and accessible?
  • Which Action Team members have the resources or expertise to oversee an asset mapping activity?
  • What other stakeholders should be “at the table?”
  • What state-level agencies or initiatives might be gathering related or helpful data?
  • What kind of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are available in your state and can you build off their existing data sets?
Key Actions
  • Decide who on the Action Team will coordinate this activity.
  • Identify local and state, school and community coalitions, partnerships, and coordinating any entities that are already trying to link the region’s child mental health promotion/prevention efforts.
  • Identify other key stakeholders who should participate in the asset mapping process, such as educators, mental health leaders, various family and child advocacy leaders, representatives from non-profits or community agencies, representatives from public or governmental organizations, practitioners, etc.
  • Consider the interplay between state and local levels.
  • Determine what data you will use and a process for obtaining that data.
  • Create a visual representation of the relationship between numerous data points and known resources, via Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Updated June 2018

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