Continuous Quality Improvement
What is Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)? The Children’s Bureau defines it as:
The complete process of identifying, describing, and analyzing strengths and problems and then testing, implementing, learning from, and revising solutions. It relies on an organizational culture that is proactive and supports continuous learning. CQI is firmly grounded in the overall mission, vision, and values of the agency. Perhaps most importantly, it is dependent upon the active inclusion and participation of staff at all levels of the agency, children, youth, families, and stakeholders throughout the process.
Information Memorandum 12-07 from the Children’s Bureau provides more detail on the role of CQI in child welfare systems.
Why Does CQI Matter?
North Carolina’s Child Welfare Services Statewide Training Partnership Training Matter Newsletter (Volume 14, Number 1, October 2012) describes why CQI is important for child welfare systems:
At times child welfare agencies make a huge effort to help families, but to no avail. CQI is founded on the idea that before we jump to solutions, we must first understand the problem. Only then can we target our intervention in the most effective way.
For example, rather than doing ten new things that might improve time to permanency, an agency should figure out which children are most likely to remain in care the longest, and why.
With this information, we can select just one or two interventions to help that specific group of children.
Although this process takes a bit longer on the front end, it saves time and resources and is more likely to actually improve outcomes.
What is Needed for Conducting CQI?
The Children’s Bureau considers the following five components as essential to a State having a functioning CQI system in child welfare:
- An administrative structure to oversee effective CQI system functioning;
- Quality data collection;
- A method for conducting ongoing case reviews;
- A process for the analysis and dissemination of quality data on all performance measures;
- A process for providing feedback to stakeholders and decision makers and as needed, adjusting State programs and process.
How Does Diligent Recruitment Relate to CQI?
Multiple elements of comprehensive diligent recruitment relate closely to your efforts to apply CQI to your recruitment and retention activities, including:
- Procedures for consistently updating the characteristics of children in care utilizing information and analysis of AFCARS data and other data available to the State, region, or county;
- Procedures for ongoing analysis of the current pool of available foster and adoptive placement resources.
Building your capacity to apply CQI approaches to your recruitment and retention strategies and outcomes will strengthen you ability to conduct comprehensive diligent recruitment.