What is QPI?
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QPI first began in Florida in 2008, but as of 2018, it has been implemented in 10 states—including Minnesota. In October of 2017, foster families, birth families, and adoptive families came together for the QPI-MN kickoff event.
The Quality Parenting Initiative—or QPI—is a process which aims to better the lives of children in foster care through the improvement of parenting and familial support. During this process, foster parents, birth parents, and child-focused organizations come together to discuss what will ensure the best quality of life for children placed in the child welfare system.
Some of the core principles which QPI strives towards; defining excellent parenting within the community, creating and practicing the policies which the community upholds, and using these excellent parenting practices to provide a family environment for kids—not just meeting their basic needs, but going beyond those needs to give them a real childhood and a real family.
Why should I care aout QPI?
Darlene and Curtis Bell are well-known in the foster care community, and have not only fostered, but provided a home, a family, and incredible opportunities for over 30 children in the past 32 years. Even today, their home is open to both current and past foster children for Sunday dinner. It is these kinds of genuine connections and family bonds which the Quality Parenting Initiative aims to grow.
Many kids in the child welfare system don’t get the chance to just be kids—they’re forced to take on adult responsibilities and emotions from a very young age, and it’s important for us to recognize this and provide a space where they can both have fun as well as grow with the help of their family and support systems.
When loving, caring foster families like the Bells are paired with a child and given support from the community, there is a higher chance that that child will find a permanent home, and that child is less likely to end up back in the child welfare system.
This permanent home doesn’t necessarily have to be with the foster family; it could also mean that the child reunifies with their birth family or finds permanency with an adoptive family. Regardless of which family they call their own, these groups will work together to support each other and the child they are caring for.
How can I get involved?
Reducing the number of children in the child welfare system means both; finding more quality foster families who have the child’s best interest at heart and creating healthy relationships with that child and others in their life. However, fostering a child and giving them the tools to be healthy and successful in their own lives is just one way that you can help grow the Quality Parenting Initiative in your community. Two of the easiest ways you can get involved are to donate and educate yourself so you can educate others. Having a solid foundation in initiatives like QPI will help you better advocate for any children in your care, but for children in the system overall. We often say it takes a village- and it does. A village filled with community members willing to educate, advocate, and take action.
EVOLVE has implemented QPI in our Foster Care programs and education. EVOLVE carries a value and commitment to remain child focused in all that we do and ensure that the needs of the children we serve are our first priority. We believe that QPI is a step to bettering our system.