Step One: Define the Problem

In addition to justifying a problem in the community, program managers should also be able to identify characteristics of the juveniles they are targeting for particular interventions– the program’s target population.  Because the effectiveness of many interventions depends on how suitable they are for the population being served, youth characteristics such as age, gender, language, and problem behaviors should be considered, in addition to characteristics of the youths’ schools, families, and communities.  This can be accomplished through quantifying and qualifying the problem.

Here are some questions to ask in order to best define the problem you are seeking to address:

  • Whom does it affect?
  • How serious is it?
  • What specifically is the problem?
  • How does it connect with other problems in the community?
  • What services are already in place to address the problem?
  • What are the gaps in services?
  • Why is there a problem?
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