CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership

Quality In Practice Guides

These Quality in Practice Guides provide practical tips and suggestions for how to improve quality in the areas that we have found to be most critical for achieving personal outcomes and building responsive services. They are compiled and written by CQL staff from their experiences in meeting with people and visting organization across the world - and seeing what works.


Accountability Guide



Organizations that support people with disability are expected to be managed professionally and to have systems in place to prove their accountability.



Action Planning


Action Planning

Taking action is about learning what people want to do and supporting them to do it. Some information can be acted on immediately and should be. 


Assessment Guide



The purpose of assessment is to deepen and broaden the service provider’s understanding of the person. Assessment is a process, not something that occurs at one point in time.



Advocacy Guide



Organizations should encourage staff to seek out and/or act on opportunities to engage in advocacy efforts that enhance quality of life for people with disabilities.



Person-Centered Planning Guide


Person-Centered Planning

Engaging in authentic Person-Centered Planning is fun, creative and synergistic work.




Service & Support Relationship Guide


Service & Support Relationship

Choosing services and supports is the foundation of being person-directed. A four-phase process outlines the key points in understanding options and making decisions.



Behavior Supports Guide


Behavior Supports

Behavior is first and foremost communication. Understanding the behavior and positively supporting a person to no longer rely on that behavior can be much simpler than we often make it.

Board Development Guide


Board Development

The best Board of Directors for not-for-profits understand and embody the values and mission of the organization and hold the vision for the future work of the organization.



Consent Guide



What does consent really mean? And how can we best support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities when facing important decisions on whether or not to consent to a matter?

Data System Guide


Data System

An organization’s data system is an important tool intended to guide decision-making and provide valuable information about the work and direction of the organization.



End-Of-Life Issues Guide


End-Of-Life Issues

Organizations have a role in promoting and maintaining community participation for people with disabilities in later life and in providing end-of-life support.



Expectations For People Guide


Expectations For People

Expectations for human service organizations and for the people they support are constantly changing and evolving.



Guardianship Guide



Person-centered planning and self-determination give us the ability to support people with disabilities to live full lives in our communities, and allows us to rethink the need for guardianship.



Health Guide



No organization can guarantee that a person will be healthy or that nothing bad will ever happen to him or her. The organization can have practices in place to support good health to the greatest extent possible.



Human Rights Committee


Human Rights Committee

The Human Rights Committee is charged with an awesome responsibility – to protect the due process rights of people receiving services and supports.



Individual Budgets Guide


Individual Budgets

The first step to creating an individualized budget is for the person to decide what services and supports he/she wants to meet his/her needs.



Intimacy, Dating & Marriage Guide


Intimacy, Dating & Marriage

There is no substitute for finding our soul mate. Many people with disabilities never get the opportunity to search for or maintain such a relationship.



It's More Than Satisfaction Guide


It's More Than Satisfaction

Many organizations have come to the realization that it's not enough to just achieve high marks on "satisfaction with services” involving people with disabilities, mental illness or older adults.



Knowledge-Sharing Guide



Person-centered planning and self-determination give us the ability to support people with disabilities to live full lives in our communities, and allows us to rethink the need for guardianship.



Leadership Guide



Person-centered planning and self-determination give us the ability to support people with disabilities to live full lives in our communities, and allows us to rethink the need for guardianship.


MIcro-Boards Guide



A micro-board is a small group of committed family and friends who join with a person with a disability to create a nonprofit corporation.



Inclusive Work Opportunities Guide


Inclusive Work Opportunities

Organizations that successfully make the transition from segregated employment for people with intellectual disabilities must be willing to make a radical shift in order for workshop closure and conversion to occur.



Natural Supports Guide


Natural Supports

Person-centered planning and self-determination give us the ability to support people with disabilities to live full lives in our communities, and allows us to rethink the need for guardianship.



Personal Records Guide


Personal Records

What personal records are kept, how that information is kept, and who has access to the information are all important questions for organizations to grapple with.



Quality Enhancement Plan Guide


Quality Enhancement Plan

In order to meet changing environments, regulations, new thinking, and other unanticipated forces, organizations develop and follow quality enhancement plans.



Quality of Work Life Guide


Quality of Work Life

Employees who have a high quality of work life enjoy the work they do and feel a sense of accomplishment in it; their personal lives are enhanced through their work environment and experiences.



Rights and Responsibilities Guide


Rights and Responsibilities

Supporting people with disabilities to exercise the same rights and responsibilities as all citizens can be challenging. 



Safety Guide



Organizations can't guarantee that people will be completely safe, but they can have processes in place to help minimize risk while still protecting people’s right to experience a full and satisfying life.



Personal Privacy Guide


Personal Privacy

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities share the same rights to privacy as anyone else, yet often infringements on privacy occur when staff and others are not sensitive to privacy preferences.



Social Roles Guide


Social Roles

Assisting people you support to expand social roles within their community offers opportunities to enhance social networks, find a unique place in community and assist in building a better community for all.



Spirituality Guide



Belonging to a faith-based community is one of the most common ways to engage in spirituality with others. Organizations can support people to find and maintain such communities.



Staff Hiring and Evaluation Guide


Staff Hiring and Evaluation

In many ways, organizational staff members determine the quality of the services and supports provided to people. Therefore, hiring and evaluation processes are vitally important to the work of the organization.



The Power of Stories Guide


The Power of Stories

Stories are actually a form of qualitative data which can be far more powerful in moving people to understanding and action because of their ability to stir something intangible in the listener.



Thinking About Responsibility Guide


Thinking About Responsibility

Responsibility is an interesting concept to consider in relationship to people with disability who spend all or much of their time within the service system. 



Understanding Risk Guide


Understanding Risk

People with disabilities rarely ask or attempt to do things that are truly risky. Most often, people are trying to live their lives in a way that meets their needs.