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Principles of CQI for Social Service Providers

1. Quality is grounded in the service experience.

Quality is reflected through the perspective of multiple stakeholders, including participants, front-line program staff, program leadership, organizational leadership, funders, and other community partners.’

In this process, we are focused on participants, front-line staff, and program leadership while “holding” the perspectives of the other stakeholders.


2. People practicing CQI must share a common purpose & trust each other.

The building blocks for programs that successfully engage in CQI are shared values, goals, and trust. Doing CQI together – working on improvement cycles – can help teams strengthen these building blocks.


3. Communication is open, consistent, & clear.

Inclusive communication across program leadership and staff is required for effective improvement.

4. People & teams are flexible & open to change

Working to minimize internal barriers (e.g. streamlining approval processes or minimizing paperwork) can help to support improvement.

5. People are encouraged & supported in thinking & working in new ways.

Putting in place CQI requires new ways of thinking, behaving or working. Program leaders and teams have the opportunity to practice:

– Curiosity

– Reflection

– Tolerance of failure and vulnerability

– Use of feedback

– Systems thinking

– Involve team members with different perspectives

Visit our CQI Resource Library to learn more about continuous quality improvement for social service providers.

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