The Quality Standards Assessment: Connecting Quality Care with Youth Outcomes

Room: Germantown

The Quality Standards Assessment (QSA) is a validated measure of quality practice standards for youth residential care. The QSA draws upon research and empirically-driven frameworks to transform youth residential services through the integration of research-informed practice standards, ongoing assessment, and continuous quality improvement. Early evidence from statewide studies in Florida of the QSA demonstrated that programs that scored higher on the standards experienced significantly fewer critical incidents (e.g., youth runaway episodes, hospitalizations, law enforcement intervention). Despite these promising results, the question of the extent to which the program’s performance on the standards predict positive youth outcomes remains. In this workshop, we present results from a statewide study that examined associations between behavioral changes and the quality ratings among youth in residential care. Specifically, the purpose of the outcomes pilot is to examine whether the quality standards and which specific standards are related to youth outcomes. That is, are higher QSA scores associated with greater improvements in youth’s behavioral and emotional symptoms over time and discharge outcomes. This exploratory pilot is evaluating 1) which standards are most strongly associated with youth outcomes, 2) and whether the QSA distinguishes between higher and lower performing programs. Data collection began August 4, 2021 and will be finalized in the April of 2022. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), a 25-item behavioral screener, is being used to measure changes in youth behavioral and emotional symptoms. QSA data are continuing to be collected during the relicensing of residential programs across the state and will be extracted and used for this study to examine associations with SDQ scores. We will discuss implications of the results for demonstrating and supporting effectiveness of residential care.


Shamra Boel-Studt, PhD, MSW

Associate Professor , Florida State University


Jonathan C Huefner, Ph.D.

Research Scientist , Boys Town Translational Research Center


Taylor Dowdy-Hazlett, MSW

PhD Candidate , Florida State University