• July/August 2015
  • Vol. 16, No. 6

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Building Capacity Using the CQI Process

In September 2013, the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), convened a continuous quality improvement (CQI) workgroup composed of child welfare practitioners from across the country. Created in response to an August 2012 Children's Bureau Information Memorandum advising States to maintain and enhance their quality assurance systems using a CQI approach, the workgroup aimed to asses States' understanding and priorities pertaining to CQI capacity building and to develop guidance for the child welfare field in the pursuit of those CQI efforts.

With the help of other experts from child welfare and related fields—public and private, CEOs to direct services field workers—the CQI workgroup published a report in 2014 entitled A Guide to Build Capacity for Child Welfare Using the CQI Process. The guide was designed to help public child welfare agencies drive system improvements using the CQI process. It provides a framework for building organizational capacity and targeting practice and service improvements that increase safety, permanency, and well-being for children and youth involved in child welfare.

The report defines CQI as the process of identifying and analyzing strengths and weaknesses and then testing, implementing, learning from, and revising solutions. The success of the CQI process is reliant on the committed participation of staff at all levels of the agency, as well as children, youth, families, and stakeholders throughout the continuous learning process.

The report was created primarily for child welfare directors and managers responsible for overseeing the implementation of CQI at a State or local level, but it is also relevant to other children and family-serving professionals, including human services workers, legislators, educators, legal professionals, and researchers. It focuses on CQI education and implementation support and is organized into the following main sections:

  • Part 1: The Cycle of CQI and the Role of Evidence presents the basic elements of the CQI process and explains the importance and types of evidence needed to support each step of the process.
  • Part 2: CQI Implementation—Building CQI Systems That Demand and Make Use of Evidence identifies the organizational capacities essential to support evidence-based CQI. This section also presents technical assistance, organizational resources, and tools that can help agencies develop their CQI capacity.
  • Part 3: Recommendations summarizes what State and local agencies will need to be successful in developing rigorous and sustainable CQI systems.

Access A Guide to Build Capacity for Child Welfare Using the CQI Process on the APHSA website at http://www.aphsa.org/content/dam/NAPCWA/PDF%20DOC/Home%20Page/A%20Guide%20to%20Build%20Capacity%20for%20Child%20Welfare%20Using%20the%20CQI%20Process%201.23.15.pdf (1 MB).

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