Area residents soon will be asked to participate in a countywide social service needs assessment survey.
Hundreds of Douglas county residents soon will receive telephone calls asking what they think about local social services for those in need.
The household survey, beginning today, will be conducted by Kansas University's Institute for Public Policy and Business Research.
"We feel that it is important to let the citizens of Douglas County know in advance that they may be called to participate in this survey, and that their participation is crucial," said Ed Meyen, chair of the needs assessment committee and KU's executive vice chancellor.
"Information from this survey will be used by our community leaders and volunteers as they strive to meet the most pressing needs of all our residents," he said.
The survey, being conducted as part of the Douglas County Area Health and Human Service Needs Assessment, is a first-time, comprehensive effort to identify omissions or duplication of services.
Households throughout the county will be selected through a random dialing procedure. Each interview will last 10 to 15 minutes.
The entire assessment is expected to cost about $25,000.
Groups that have committed funding for the assessment are the cities of Eudora, Baldwin and Lawrence; Douglas County; Eudora, Baldwin, Perry-Lecompton and Lawrence school districts; the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Rice Foundation.
The United Way is spearheading the assessment, but it will address both United Way and non-United Way agencies.
"This survey will get the views of residents in Douglas County on their perceptions of needs for human and social services and barriers to getting human and social services," said Steven Maynard-Moody, KU professor of public administration, consultant for the needs assessment committee and a research fellow with the research institute.
Maynard-Moody declined to outline specific questions that will be asked in the survey, saying he didn't want its integrity to be compromised.
However, he said, "It should be reasonably straightforward. It's pretty standard stuff."
The survey will be conducted until at least 400 responses are obtained, he said, which should take two to three weeks. Results should be available by September, he said.
Maynard-Moody said organizers are making a special effort to obtain the opinions of residents who live outside the city limits. About 100 responses will be from people who live outside Lawrence, he said.
The household survey is one of at least three formal queries that will be conducted by the needs assessment committee, he said
The other surveys will be targeted toward employees of social service agencies, and yet-to-be-determined community leaders, he said.