New Data Center publication on CQI
Today, public child welfare agencies are taking stock of their capacity for Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) and considering the investments they will make in order to build that capacity. How these CQI systems develop will vary from agency to agency depending on administrative structure, staffing patterns, available resources, and a host of other factors. They will all, however, be responsible for facilitating the same basic CQI process—a cycle of problem solving activities that requires the deliberate use of evidence. Given that shared responsibility, the child welfare field will benefit from a common vocabulary for describing what CQI is, the core principles on which CQI rests, and the critical role that evidence plays throughout the CQI process.
In keeping with a century-long tradition of CQI that has guided improvement efforts in other fields, we put forth a common language for child welfare CQI in a new publication, Principles, Language, and Shared Meaning: Toward a Common Understanding of CQI in Child Welfare. Download the PDF >
In the paper we:
- Distinguish the cross-cutting CQI process from individual CQI systems.
- Define the basic elements of the CQI process and the foundational principles on which the process rests.
- Explain the meaning of the term “evidence” and discuss how evidence use plays a critical role at each stage of the CQI process.
- Provide concrete examples of evidence use in action. Examples include: developing logic models for planning and implementing new interventions; generating evidence on outcomes for children in foster care; using administrative and fiscal data to plan for a Title IV-E waiver; and implementing performance-based contracts with private providers.
What results is a valuable tool that child welfare agencies can use to facilitate discussions about how to identify child and family outcomes that need improvement and how to use the CQI process as a method for guiding evidence-based efforts to improve those outcomes.