Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in Human Service Organizations

In today’s economic and competitive environment, it is also important to be able to justify why investments should continue to be made in human service systems. As administrators are determining how to spend funds given by a legislative body, it is equally important that the front line workers and supervisors of those workers are able to see the impact that services are having on the consumers of those services. Furthermore,  continuous quality improvement program can track the improvements made by your system within your organization and outside.

Continuous quality improvement is 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 and/or system culture that is proactive and supports continuous learning. Continuous quality improvement is firmly grounded in the overall mission, vision, and values of the agency/system. Perhaps most importantly, it is dependent upon the active inclusion and participation of staff at all levels of the agency/system, children, youth, families, and stakeholders throughout the process (National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement and Casey Family Programs, 2005).

To implement continuous quality improvement, organizations should form a team that has knowledge of the system needing improvement, define a clear aim, understand the needs of those served by the system, and identify and define measures of success. In addition, organizations can advance toward continuous quality improvement by brainstorming potential change strategies; planning, collecting, and using data for effective decision-making; and applying the scientific method to test and refine changes (Iowa State University, 2006).The following illustration is, developed by Robert Friedman (2005) at the University of South Florida.

Why Use a Continuous Quality Improvement Toolkit?

Having a robust continuous quality improvement system is important to consistently improve services and supports for children and families, and to ensure that you are making the most effective use of your resources. As service interventions evolve, your continuous quality improvement program can make sure that delivered services are relevant and contributing to positive results.

Check the resources at Child Welfare Information Gateway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/management/reform/soc/communicate/initiative/soctoolkits/cqi.cfm#phase=pre-planning

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