An important first step in developing an interagency continuous quality improvement program is to take a close look at what data, results, and evaluation groups already exist in other agencies and systems. For example, are there available existing management information systems or other existing resources that can be drawn upon? It is also important to look at the costs of implementing a continuous quality improvement program including the necessary staff and policies to support the work. Finally, many agencies have some sort of management information system that may be tied to a variety of funding sources. Moving from that singular agency management information system to one that involves stakeholders from different agencies and includes family involvement will be a necessary cultural shift for many agencies. Getting advice from communities and agencies that have made the shift to a comprehensive continuous quality improvement system can be valuable information that will inform your own early planning.
Activities, Questions to Consider
Continuous quality improvement pre-planning tasks and activities in your community might include:
- Assessing existing agency continuous quality improvement processes that can be enhanced.
- Looking to existing continuous quality improvement efforts in your community to see how they developed their system, its relevance to what you want to accomplish, what has changed because of their continuous quality improvement program, and what steps they took to put the system in place to see how it is working today.
- Identifying staff and consultants with expertise in continuous quality improvement and child welfare who are people oriented to assist in developing continuous quality improvement processes within systems of care.
- Building flexibility into any continuous quality improvement program.
- Identifying members who are interested in serving on a continuous quality improvement committee.
- Has a committee responsible for evaluation, data, and continuous quality improvement been established?
The people who perform continuous quality improvement duties in your community might include:
- Interagency data team
- Data collectors and data analyzers
- Administrative support
- Service delivery staff
- Continuous quality improvement personnel, consultants, and/or University evaluators
- Take the time to assemble the right people to explore a continuous quality improvement program, including interagency partners, evaluators and family members involved in your system.
- Do the proper research on existing high performing continuous quality improvement programs that may be applicable to your system.
- Look at the existing data being collected across systems. Be aware of duplication and try to assure that the ultimate interagency data set gives a picture of the whole system.
Contra Costa County, California-System Improvement Plan 2007
This 39-page report looks at three Federal and State mandated areas of responsibility: safety, permanency and well-being of children. Using the performance indicators of the child and Family Services Reviews, it tracks the county’s past performance, Improvement Goal and Current Performance detailing strategies used to reach the performance level. This is a very solid presentation of material that shows the comprehensive nature of their continuous quality improvement program.