About Us

History

In 2000, the Tri-State Peer to Peer Project was launched by a partnership of over 100 representatives of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island community action agencies (CAAs), state association leaders, and public officials. With initial federal Office of Community Services (OCS) funding, a model CAA Self-Assessment program was developed, tested, and refined over a period of five years. In 2004, an Agreement was developed by the three state partners to support the creation of the Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action (the NIQCA). In 2005, state funding for the NIQCA was secured, an Executive Director was employed, and the model QCAS CAA Self-Assessment program was launched as a project of MASSCAP, Inc.

Back to Top

Mission

The Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action is dedicated to promoting excellence in the management policies and practices of Community Action Agencies serving low-income consumers residing in the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Back to Top

Staff

  • William A. Hunter, Executive Director

For more information, contact:

William A. Hunter, Executive Director
Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action (NIQCA)
14 Bradley Pace
Sudbury, MA. 01776
508.380.1398 - phone
978.443.0579 - fax
WHunter.niqca@gmail.com

Back to Top

Advisory Board Members

Our Advisory Board is comprised of Community Action Agency Representatives, State Association Staff, and State Community Services Block Grant Office Personnel from the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

The current NIQCA Board members are:

  • Joseph Diamond, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP), Inc.
  • Pat Wilson-Pheanious, Former Commissioner, CT State Department of Social Services
  • Rhonda Evans, Deputy Director, CAFCA, Inc.
  • Reed Risteen, Partner, Blum Shapiro, LLC
  • Gerald Bell, Director, CSU, DHCD
  • Cassandra Norfleet-Johnson, Senior Manager, CSU, DSS
  • Stephen Huntley, Executive Director, VOC, Inc.
  • William Wrybczyk, Director of Planning and Research, NO, Inc.
  • Sandra Venner, Brandies University, Heller School of Management.

Back to Top

FAQs: Services, Fees, Confidentiality

What is the NIQCA?
The NIQCA is a resource organized to promote management excellence in Community Action Agencies located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The “Institute” is the product of five years of work by over 100 Community Action Agency, CAA Association, and State Agency representatives. Officially launched in February 2005, the NIQCA currently operates as a program of MASSCAP, Inc. with an Advisory Board that includes representatives of Community Action Agencies and funders from all three states. The NIQCA enables local CAAs to assess current management practices against “best practice” standards through a 12-step process of self-assessment and peer review.
Why was the NIQCA created?
The NIQCA was founded on the assumption that strong, effective service programs are the products of strong, well-managed agencies. Creating an independent resource to help CAAs institutionalize a practical, sustainable, and cost-effective program of continuous quality improvement represents an important investment in preventing crisis and promoting CAA management excellence.
What support does the NIQCA provide local Community Action Agencies?
The NIQCA has developed “best practice” management standards for local CAAs and tools to conduct a comprehensive, 12-step self-assessment and improvement planning process. The NIQCA offers CAAs conducting a self-assessment a team of Peer Reviewers who will visit the agency and independently review policies and rate organizational strengths and weaknesses. A NIQCA “Bank of Experts” is available for CAAs to use for technical assistance in preparing or implementing action plans for improvement. The NIQCA will sponsor regional trainings on topics of interest to CAAs and develop and maintain regional “Benchmarking Performance” standards for use by agency staff and boards.
How is the NIQCA currently funded?
The NIQCA is currently funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, the Connecticut Department of Social Services, and CAA fees.
What are the NIQCA fees and how are they determined?
The NIQCA charges fees to CAAs who schedule Peer Review Site evaluations. Fees are based on the size of the CAA’s current operating budget and range from $1,000 (under $10 million budget), $1,500 ($10 million - $25 million budget), to $2,000 (over $25 million).
Who are the Peer Reviewers who might visit my agency?
Peer Reviewers assigned to visit your agency will be experienced, senior staff on loan to the NIQCA from a CAA located in another state. Peer Reviewers are screened and must complete NIQCA certification training. Depending on the size of your agency, the number of Peer Reviewers would range from 3 to 4 members. Each assigned Peer Reviewer has signed both a NIQCA Code of Conduct and a Confidentiality Agreement.
How long does the NIQCA Quality Community Action System (QCAS) Assessment take?
The process is continuous. The initial QCAS assessment should be completed in 3 to 6 months depending on the size and complexity of the agency. Improvement plans should be monitored regularly and evaluated annually. The entire QCAS process should be undertaken every 2 to 3 years.
What about confidentiality?
The NIQCA will respect the privacy and confidentiality rights of the participating CAA and of its clients, staff, board members, and others participating in the QCAS assessment process. The NIQCA will not, without the consent of an authorized agency official, except where required by court order, law, regulation, or condition of a grant award, disclose or distribute any written, verbal, electronic, or other forms of information released to NIQCA staff or Peer Reviewers during the course of a QCAS assessment. Benchmarking standards developed by the NIQCA will not identify individual agencies. All Peer Reviewers sign a Confidentiality Agreement drafted to acknowledge and respect CAA privacy and confidentiality rights.
What is “Benchmarking”?
The NIQCA will provide local CAA senior staff, and others upon request, a summary of the aggregate CAA QCAS standard rating scores for all agencies conducting assessments. This data will help local CAA managers compare the rating scores for their individual agency against the scores for all CAAs conducting assessments. The data will also help identify system-wide needs that could more cost effectively be addressed on a regional basis.
Who should I contact if I have questions about the NIQCA?
Please contact Bill Hunter, NIQCA Executive Director, at 508-380-1398 or by e-mail to WHunter.niqca@gmail.com. The NIQCA office is located at 14 Bradley Pace, Sudbury, MA. 01776. See also the Contact Us page of this Web site.

Back to Top