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 Capacity Assessment for State Title V (CAST-5)

​​​Capacity Assessment for State Title V (CAST-5) is a set of assessment and planning tools designed to assist state Title V programs in examining their organizational capacity to carry out core maternal and child health (MCH) functions.

Based on the 10 Essential Services set forth in the Public MCH Program Functions Framework: Essential Public Health Services to Promote Maternal and Child Health in America, CAST-5 provides a process for:

  • Articulating program vision, mission, and strategies for reaching population health goals,
  • Assessing performance of core functions,
  • Identifying organizational resources necessary for optimal performance, and
  • Developing a capacity-building action plan.

The CAST-5 tools are designed to accommodate wide variation in state programming structures and to be useful for strategic planning in different health policy and systems contexts. They can be used collectively for a comprehensive assessment of program capacity needs that includes the identification of opportunities for capacity development, or they can be used singly for appraisals of narrower scope. Given the wide range of resources with which state MCH programs operate, key assessment elements are structured along a continuum, allowing programs to characterize their capacity needs using relevant reference points. Moreover, recognizing that responsibility for the health and well-being of MCH populations extends beyond Title V, the assessment of program resources takes into account the contributions of other agencies, organizations, and institutions in implementing public MCH functions. Although the tools are designed for use at the state level, in the future they may be adapted for use by local MCH programs.

CAST-5 is an initiative of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and the Johns Hopkins University Women's and Children's Health Policy Center (WCHPC), in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Table of Contents
Overview of CAST-5 PDF
Planning for CAST-5 PDF
CAST-5 Tools and Guidance PDF
Related Projects
  • National Public Health Performance Standards Program
    CAST-5 was designed to be compatible with the performance measurement tools developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Practice Programs Office in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers and the National Association of City and County Health Officers as part of the National Public Health Performance Standards Program (NPHPSP). Like CAST-5, those assessment tools are structured around the 10 Essential Services and address both performance and capacity related to core public health functions. Both CAST-5 and the NPHPSP tools are intended to be used as part of an ongoing, quality improvement cycle.

    The principal difference between CAST-5 and the NPHPSP tools is the segment of the public health system to which they are directed; the NPHPSP was developed to assess the generic public health system, while CAST-5 provides a process and framework for assessing state-level maternal and child health programs. More specifically, CAST-5 is intended to be used by state Title V (the maternal and child health block grant to the states) programs to assess performance and identify capacity-building opportunities. Further, CAST-5 is designed for use only at the state level, although some components may be adapted for use at the local level.

    Despite these differences in focus, the NPHPSP state-level assessment and CAST-5 are complementary tools, and they can be carried out simultaneously by the overall state agency and the Title V agency.

    For a discussion of the similarities, differences and relationships among CAST-5, the NPHPSP and Title V Performance Measures, see Assessing Capacity and Measuring Performance in Maternal and Child Health (Maternal and Child Health Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2, June 2002).
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Capacity Assessment for State Title V: Second Edition is copyrighted. Readers may duplicate and use in non-commercial applications all or part of the information contained in this publication. In accordance
with accepted publishing standards, the Johns Hopkins Women’s and Children’s Health Policy Center and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs request acknowledgment, in print, of any
information reproduced in another publication. ©2004 AMCHP