In 2001, United Way of Adams County, University of Illinois Extension, and Adams County Health Department joined together to conduct a Community Assessment for Adams County, Illinois. With the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010, Blessing Health System joined the collaboration, taking an active role in the community building
In 2021, the United Way of Adams County applied for and received an R3 – Restore. Reinvest. Renew. Assessment and Planning Grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The purpose of the Assessment and Planning grant is to support community organizations to assess community needs and develop a plan for delivery of economic development, violence prevention, re-entry, youth development, and civil legal aid services. This Adams County Community Assessment is the first step in developing a plan to address community concerns and needs.
The process for the Adams County Community Assessment includes the collection and analysis of primary and secondary data. Both public and private organizations including government agencies, faith-based organizations, educational systems, nonprofits, and health and human service entities, as well as the general public, contributed to the process and data.
Adams County has been conducting a community assessment for 20 years. This year, the United Way of Adams County, Blessing Health System, Adams County Health Department, and their partners opted to dig deeper to paint a more robust picture of Adams County, and provide a foundation for problem identification and solving on behalf of the community.
The survey instrument was overhauled and an effort was launched to get a more diverse representation of the community. We were able to secure feedback from 861 respondents via two survey instruments. Respondents from the surveys were 93% white or Caucasian, 55% female, and the ratio of Quincy to rural Adams County residents was around 80/20. These demographics generally match the demographics of the Adams county region. We continue to observe a limitation in the data without appropriate representation from communities with lower-socioeconomic status. Included in the survey results were the results of in-depth interviews with 33 key stakeholders on the front lines of community health and social service. These informed stakeholders shared candidly their challenges, and opportunities they see for growth. While responses varied, one overwhelming theme throughout all of the interviews was an innate hope and optimism by practitioners in direct service of our community in areas such as social services, health, education and safety.
This work began in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the pandemic came up in every interview and nearly every response. Secondary data presented in this report is the most current available, but almost all of the secondary data predates the pandemic which hit the community in March of 2020. As we await new data showing just how deep the impact of the pandemic has been on our community, emerging research indicates the pandemic will only exacerbate the community’s greatest challenges.
By focusing on community level outcomes, we invest our resources into programs that lead to lasting change – which is evident in Adams County. Just in the last year, our area has been named a top community for Baby Boomers. Quincy has been listed as the sixth most affordable place to live in Illinois as well as one of the best small communities for college graduates. In addition, reports show that teen pregnancy is the on the decline in Adams County and unemployment is nearing record low rates. These are not just good news headlines. This is proof that our collaborative efforts are having a positive impact on the quality of life in Adams County.