August 24, 2021

Our previous posts in the continuous improvement (CI) series discussed the theory behind CI, the contexts in which it’s applied, and some basic steps for building a team. Now it’s time to introduce a core belief that will elevate your work: No CI team is complete without parent leaders!

The foremost tenet of CI is the inclusion of various perspectives, particularly, the perspective of the consumer. That is why parents—defined inclusively—are essential actors in home visiting work.

The Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN 2.0), a project within EDC’s Early Childhood Development & Learning portfolio, developed the Toolkit to Build Parent Leadership in Continuous Improvement for home visiting awardees and local implementing agencies. This is a free, online resource that outlines parent leadership along a five-stage continuum and provides strategies for building capacity in your own home visiting organization. Following are the five stages. Where does your CI team land?

Stage 1: Assess and increase team’s readiness to partner in CI. The toolkit includes a readiness assessment to help team members evaluate their feelings about partnering with parent leaders and their organizational readiness to do so.

Stage 2: Set partnership goals and build shared understanding and commitment. The toolkit’s Action Plan Worksheet will help your team create a shared action plan to ensure all members are on the same page regarding the goals for parent leadership.

Stage 3: Engage in short-term strategies to learn more about your community, build relationships, and recruit parent partners. The toolkit provides information on how to collect a wealth of information concerning the parents and families being served. Well-executed surveys are the building blocks of recruiting parent leaders.

Stage 4: Engage in medium-term strategies to build infrastructure, train parents in CQI, and develop parent leaders. The toolkit discusses the importance of working with senior leaders in your organization to create and build infrastructure that can support parent involvement long term (e.g., policies and procedures for parent financial support).

Stage 5: Engage in long-term strategies to create authentic team partnerships and to successfully sustain parent leadership. The toolkit provides an example of an organizing principle that teams can use to explore the interests of parent leaders and help them reach their goals for engagement.

Parents add value when they have an equal opportunity to share and leverage their strengths toward CI efforts. We hope this toolkit inspires you as a home visiting service provider to partner with parents, co-create solutions and organizational systems, and truly elevate your CI work.

Olivia Draper is the administrative coordinator of the Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN) 2.0 at EDC. She has expertise in early childhood development and education, civic engagement, and assessment design.
Jamie Jobe, EDC senior research associate, has expertise in home visiting, early childhood, mental health, and HIV. Her work focuses on how quality improvement and collaboration can advance health equity and improve outcomes for individuals and communities.
continuous improvement
Early Childhood Development and Learning
Capacity Building for Individuals, Organizations, and Systems

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