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DCFS Implements Continuous Quality Improvement Team

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) today announced the implementation of its Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) team. CQI is part of DCFS' ongoing commitment to excellence, implementing and evaluating best practices in Louisiana's child welfare program, and building on successes.

DCFS' CQI team is made up of experienced staff from all nine regions of the state's Child Welfare programs. Team members will use their extensive knowledge of child welfare along with additional training from national experts to measure the quality of services provided and the impact those services have on child and family outcomes.

"DCFS continually strives to promote the highest quality child welfare practices for the residents of Louisiana," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "CQI is a proactive stance by DCFS to ensure that practices in the child welfare system are effective. The outcomes of safety, permanency and well-being are paramount."

CQI uses assessment, feedback and application of information to improve services proactively by continuously evaluating process and outcomes and the link between them to change services. The overall goals of CQI are to guide quality operations, ensure safe environments and high quality of services, meet external standards and regulations, and facilitate agency programs and services to meet annual goals and objectives.

The CQI team is part of DCFS' Performance and Quality Improvement (PQI) group, which is made up of all levels of agency staff and community stakeholders. The PQI group will use information from the CQI team and others to delve into the root causes of issues and develop and monitor corrective action plans.

Louisiana is supported in its work to create a CQI team by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, which encourages states to develop CQI teams as a way to enhance federally mandated quality assurance programs.

Additionally, DCFS' CQI team will align with earning reaccreditation by the Council on Accreditation (COA). COA is an international, independent, not-for-profit, child- and family-service and behavioral healthcare accrediting organization. Louisiana is only one of four states that is COA accredited; the others are Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee. Louisiana's current COA accreditation expires in 2014.

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