Aligning School & Community Resources
This topic explores how state agencies and local communities can
align and leverage all the resources communities offer to support
youth with disabilities and their families.
Many community resources are available to support youth with disabilities and their families. Communities across the country have attempted to convene interagency teams that work to coordinate these services, but coordination has been difficult to achieve for many reasons, including complications in agency eligibility criteria, difficulties in convening interagency meetings, lack of agreement between agencies, and lack of commitment to addressing specific community and youth needs. Resources are often unknown or underutilized by schools and organizations that serve youth with disabilities. Because of this, far too many youth with disabilities do not receive the full benefit of the services and supports available within their communities.
There are a number of different methods for identifying and aligning such resources, including resource mapping, community asset mapping, and youth mapping. All of these methods follow a similar process. This Web topic focuses on resource mapping, which is a process or method by which a community's capabilities and capacities are utilized to build a system. Resource mapping reveals the resources and assets of the entire community and highlights the interconnections among them. It can be used to build relationships among various community agencies, organizations, businesses, and people at the local, state, and federal levels. Resource mapping also helps foster relationships between schools and community service agencies by focusing on the strengths rather than the deficits of the community, thus building its capacity. Many states and local communities--both urban and rural--as well as the federal government have started to map and align resources to better serve youth and more effectively meet education, workforce development, and economic development goals.