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Partner Toolkit - 2020 Pennsylvania Family Support Needs Assessment

In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), PolicyLab conducted a county-level needs assessment of the health of children, mothers, and families, as well as the social and environmental circumstances of families and communities across the state. We conducted this needs assessment over the period of January 2019 to October 2020, utilizing multiple methods of data collection, prioritizing a strengths-based, stakeholder-informed approach and infusing community voices. The assessment categorizes Pennsylvania’s counties as having “elevated need,” “moderate need,” and “low need,” across six domains: maternal and child health, socioeconomic status, substance use, child safety and maltreatment, community environment and child care.

The resulting report paints a robust picture of elevated needs and strengths in key areas of family support  across all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

To support you in sharing this new data, we created key messages, suggested social media posts, graphics and a newsletter blurb (included below) if you wish to disseminate this material to your networks.


  • We found that the four most pronounced issues facing families across urban and rural communities in the state include substance abuse, mental health, economic issues (e.g., unemployment) and intimate partner violence. These issues were both signaled in a review of data indicators and highlighted by community voice.
  • Overall, the findings show that 44 counties have elevated need in at least one of the domains and 15 counties across the state met elevated need thresholds in three or more domains. There was no defined pattern among counties with elevated need (e.g., geography), underscoring that each county has unique strengths and needs.
  • Two measures of racial disparities identified the presence of structural and birth outcome inequities in urban and rural communities in Pennsylvania.
  • The FSNA also identified several areas of improvement since the 2014 needs assessment, including:
    • Nearly every county saw improved rates of preterm birth and teen births.
    • 60% of counties saw improvements in infant mortality rates.
    • Half of counties saw a reduction in the percentage of children under age 5 living in poverty.
  • The report also spotlights local service providers who are making a difference in addressing the elevated needs of their communities.

Join the conversation.



  @PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Be sure to use #PaNeedsAssessment to connect to the conversation.

This report provides profiles for each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and sub-county analyses by ZIP code for 12 of those counties, which highlight areas of low, moderate, and elevated need when it comes to maternal and child health. We encourage you to explore the assessment and highlight details that are relevant to your work and community. Post your commitment to child and maternal health by sharing this data with your audience. To aid you, here are some template social media messages you are welcome to utilize:


Share the report:

  • New Family Support Needs Assessment from @PAHumanServices & @PolicyLabCHOP shows substance use, mental health, economic issues & IPV are some of PA families’ most pressing needs. Where can local leaders focus efforts? More in #PaNeedsAssessment report:
  • #PaNeedsAssessment evaluates county-level strengths & needs across six domains & highlights where more local support is needed to improve outcomes for mothers & children. View the full report with data for each of PA’s 67 counties:
  • PA’s 67 counties have diverse strengths & unique needs for young families within their communities. New #PaNeedsAssessment from @PAHumanServices & @PolicyLabCHOP offers a deep look at factors that impact child & maternal health. Explore the data:
  • Since 2014, PA families have seen improvements in rates of preterm birth, infant mortality & children under 5 living in poverty, according to new @PAHumanServices & @PolicyLabCHOP report. Let’s preserve this success during COVID. #PaNeedsAssessment    

Sample tweet to spotlight community programs:

  • Spanish-speaking families are a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. That’s why pediatric bilingual clinics like @ChildrensPgh’s Salud Para Niños are so crucial for supporting child & maternal health. Learn more about their impact in #PaNeedsAssessment:

As this report offers county-specific data, we encourage you to screenshot your county profile map and/or your sub-county analysis to highlight important data with your communities:

Share data specific to your community: 

  • [XX] County families deserve resources that prioritize maternal health and child well-being. New #PaNeedsAssessment datafrom @PAHumanServices & @PolicyLab highlights areas of need across PA & opportunities for [local community] to provide more support:
  • Families in [XX County] have elevated [mental health] needs, according to new @PAHumanServices & @PolicyLabCHOP data. [local organization] is here to help, but we need more support from local leaders. 
  • So pleased to see that infant mortality rates have improved in [XX County] in new data from @PolicyLab & @PAHumanServices. Glad to have programs like [local organization] to support local families.


  • Amid a global pandemic and economic hardship, families need more support than ever. In a new county-level Family Support Needs Assessment, @PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning highlight areas of need across the state in order to help improve outcomes for maternal and child health. Read the complete report and find profiles for each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties at [link].

Sample LinkedIn message to spotlight community programs

  • A new report from @PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning highlights county-level data on child safety and maltreatment throughout the state. To support child safety, @Children’s Aid Society Southern PA District’s Lehman Center Crisis Nursery provides wraparound support for families. Learn more about child welfare needs throughout PA and how organizations like the crisis nursery can make an impact: [link]


Download & share the visual below for greater impact in your messaging. Please right click and save each image for your use. 


New report: Statewide Needs Assessment Illustrates Key Issues Impacting PA Families

Amid a global pandemic and economic hardship, families need more support than ever. PolicyLab recently collaborated with Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) on the 2020 Family Support Needs Assessment (FSNA), examining a wide range of maternal and child social, environmental and health factors to understand current needs and community program capacity in Pennsylvania.

This assessment can support regions across PA in identifying communities that would benefit from increased investment in specific family support services. It also provides individual communities with the information they need to set priorities for and make informed decisions about the delivery of local programs to benefit children and families. Learn more: [link]


Full report

Report summary

Project page with overview of the effort

More information on the Department of Human Services' website


Matone M, Marshall D, Whittaker J, Kellom K, Garcia S, Dechert T, Wang X