A basic tenet of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is to include a variety of perspectives—in particular, the perspective of the customer or consumer.
Different stakeholders bring unique knowledge and experience that collectively improves the functioning and effectiveness of the systems and services provided. Parents in particular bring lived experience and familiarity with the systems as customers of home visiting, and their contributions to CQI are essential. But involving participants and parents in CQI represents a shift in philosophy for some programs—from improving services for families to improving services with families as partners. This shift in philosophy also requires greater transparency of services, skill building, and infrastructure development to create an environment where effective partnerships with parents and families can thrive.
Shift worked in partnership with the Education Development Center (EDC) to improve the capacity and infrastructure of state and local home visiting programs to successfully incorporate parent leadership through teaching, access to tested resources, and coaching. This toolkit breaks down five stages in which awardees and local implementing agencies (LIAs) can integrate parent leadership into their CQI initiatives and then sustain parents’ involvement. The continuum ranges from early readiness to partner in CQI to long-term strategies for bolstering the infrastructure and team functioning needed for parent leadership to continue to flourish. These stages are not linear; rather, they suggest various approaches to engaging parents in CQI work.