For an agency to measure performance, there must be a process in place to benchmark the progress towards stated goals and to change course in a specific area to enhance performance. The Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process is a mechanism of the overall Change Management process. In the CQI process, quantitative and qualitative data are key guiding principles. Once processed (collected, analyzed, shared), these data guide and improve practice and contribute to advanced learning on agency administration, policy development and program implementation.
A core process an agency can use to guide quality improvement activities in the Change Management process is the DAPIM model. This process defines an agency problem, assesses the current situation to identify strengths and gaps and identify root causes, plans a course of action, implements activities to execute the action plan and make improvements and establishes mechanisms for continued monitoring and evaluation.
Another resource to agencies in this area is the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Organizational Improvement. The Resource center provides research, training, technical assistance and evaluation to State and Tribal child welfare organizations in a number of areas, including strategic planning and quality assurance and improvement.
An information management plan will only come to life once structures are established for producing and disseminating the information and for establishing the feedback loops to accommodate changing information needs and changing program conditions over time. Following is an example regarding increasing exits to permanency to demonstrate the cycle of continuous quality improvement.
What could have been done to increase the likelihood of success?