What is Resource Mapping?
Community resource mapping is not a new strategy or process. It has been in use for many years in varying forms. Community resource mapping is sometimes referred to as asset mapping or environmental scanning. Community resource mapping is best noted as a system-building process used by many different groups at many different stages in order to align resources and policies in relation to specific system goals, strategies, and expected outcomes.
Mapping of youth services, supports, and programs within a community can have essentially three outcomes: 1) the identification of resources available to individual youth in a particular community—often referred to as “youth mapping,” 2) the identification of new or additional resources to sustain existing specific youth activities or initiatives within a community, and/or 3) the identification of resources to assist in creating and building capacity to support a more comprehensive community system for serving youth. The first outcome typically occurs at the local level while the second and third outcome can happen at any level—local, state, or federal.
This guide focuses on strategies for building the capacity of communities to better serve youth with disabilities and their families.
How Resource Mapping Can Help Transform Your Community
“No one agency can meet the needs of all youth all of the time.” —State policy maker
The community resource mapping process acknowledges that individuals, organizations, and local institutions all have the capacity to create real change in their communities, but that no agency can do it alone. With increased accountability, tight budgets, resource shortages, and fragmented services, it is a sound decision for communities to encourage cross-agency and cross-systems coordination. Insight into a community’s existing partnerships and programs, resource allocations and policies, and priorities and assets can contribute to its ability to evaluate its overall effectiveness in serving its youth with disabilities. It can also support the creation of a strategic plan to improve the alignment, coordination, and, ultimately, delivery of services. When combined with this community information, resource maps can provide a comprehensive picture of a community’s vision, goals, projects, and infrastructure.
In short, community resource mapping can help communities to accomplish a number of goals, including:
Table of Contents
3: Taking Action
4: Maintaining, Sustaining, and Evaluating Mapping Efforts
Citation: Crane, K., & Mooney,
M. (2005). Essential tools: Community resource mapping. Minneapolis,
MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National
Center on Secondary Education and Transition.
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This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.