Continuous Quality Improvement

The federal Administration for Children and Families—Children’s Bureau defines Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) as the complete process of identifying, describing, and analyzing strengths and problems and then testing, implementing, learning from, and revising solutions.
The Children’s Bureau addresses quality assurance of state child welfare agencies through Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). During the first round of reviews conducted from 2001-2004, the Children’s Bureau found that 31 states had QA systems. That number increased to 40 states in the second round of reviews conducted from 2007-2010.

The Children’s Bureau further lists five key components of an effective CQI system:
• A strong foundational administrative structure
• Quality data collection
• An effective case record review process
• Process to analyze and disseminate data
• Processes to provide feedback to stakeholders/decision-makers and adjust programs and process

More information is available here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/im1207.pdf

One essential component of an effective child welfare system is Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS). Thus, it is critical to maintain and improve the quality of IFPS programs on an ongoing basis. The CQI-IFPS Instrument developed by the National Family Preservation Network allows states and contracted providers, through the case review process, to determine if they are meeting best practice for IFPS and that includes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families. The CQI instrument assists in determining what is currently being done well along with identifying areas that need improvement in the future.

The CQI-IFPS Instrument is grounded in many years of research on IFPS and includes the following materials:
• CQI-IFPS Introduction (Definition, Basis in federal law/policy, and Purpose of IFPS CQI)
• CQI-IFPS Instrument (10 domains covering a total of 75 items)
Domains include referral, assessment, safety, engagement, parent involvement, children, service delivery, outcomes, termination, supervision
• CQI-IFPS Tally Sheet (Checklist for case reviewers that allows tallying of up to 5 case files)
• CQI-IFPS Instructions (Preparation, Reviewing Case Files, Debriefing, Using Findings to Guide Improvement in Practice)
• CQI-IFPS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

NFPN recommends that IFPS programs be operational for at least one year prior to using the CQI instrument. We will also work with agencies to revise the tool for use with other home-based services.

The CQ-IFPS is affordably priced, ranging from $125 for small private agencies to $250 for large private and government agencies. You may order and pay online.

To get started visit http://www.nfpn.org/preservation/cqi-ifps-instrument.

If you have questions or need more information, contact Priscilla Martens, Executive Director at director@nfpn.org or phone 888-498-9047.

Posted by Priscilla Martens
NFPN Executive Director

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