TAVARES — The University of Central Florida's Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) is conducting a social services needs assessment for Lake County beginning with a focus group at the Elder Affairs Coordinating Council's monthly meeting on Thursday, July 19, at 9 a.m. at the Lake County Agricultural Center, located at 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares.
Local agencies and programs that provide elder services to Lake County are encouraged to attend this meeting. For more information about the focus group, call Allison Thall, Elder Affairs Director, at (352) 742-6525 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robbie Hollenbeck, Director of Citizen Support Services, is coordinating the needs assessment for Lake County.
"What this assessment will try to do is identify the current social services as they exist in Lake County across four categories: elder services, children and family services, health related services and other social services," Hollenbeck said. "The social services we are trying to assess are countywide, including state, county and municipal governments, individual agencies and not-for-profit organizations."
By determining the level of services currently available, the Department of Community Services will be able to identify what social services gaps exist today and be better able to predict what future concerns may also exist. According to the scope of work, the CCP will create a report that identifies the current demographic pattern and the current pattern of services in the community — linked with location — and providers' information about additional needs. This report will help the Department of Community Services and social services organizations strategically plan for the future needs of the community as effectively as possible.
The needs assessment will begin on Thursday with the first of four focus groups. The focus groups are targeting agencies that help provide the specific social services for the community.
"Especially in these times of scarce resources this could be really important for our future," Hollenbeck said. "The intent is to make the end result available to especially those that participate because it is important for the community to know."