CWDS Bulletins

CWDS to Hold Quarterly Stakeholder Forum on April 11th

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) will be hosting a Quarterly Stakeholder Forum on April 11, 2017 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

This all-day event will be held onsite at the CWDS campus at 2870 Gateway Oaks Drive in Sacramento as well as via video conference. The agenda will include a general session with a project update and multiple breakout sessions focusing on Technology, Intake and Certification, Approval & Licensing Services (CALS), and other project related information.


10:00 am – 12:00 pm General Session & Monthly Solution Demo: April 2017
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Breakout Sessions:


  • Technology
  • Intake
  • Certification, Approval, & Licensing Services (CALS)

To register, please complete the survey (linked here) to indicate whether you will be able to join us in person, via webinar.

Materials from Previous Forums

CWDS Quarterly Stakeholder Forum Session Recordings & Materials – 1/10/2017
CWDS Quarterly Stakeholder Forum Agenda – 1/10/2017

CWDS eNewsletter

CWDS sends weekly project updates to stakeholders who subscribe to our newsletter. Click here to view this week's eNewsletter, or sign-up for future updates.

CWDS Quarterly Legislature Update FY2016/17 Q3

Child Welfare Digital Services produces a quarterly report for the Legislature and stakeholders to follow as the project works to replace the CWS/CMS legacy system. Click here to read the FY2016/17 Q3 report online.

CWDS Quarterly Legislative Briefing: FY2016/17 Q3

Each quarter, CWDS provides a project update to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.   Included in the most recent presentation, the slide below gives an overview of the project schedule since it switched to using agile methodology 15 months ago.  With the first release of software on March 16, the project is ahead of schedule which, under the traditional waterfall approach, would have released a Request for Proposal for a systems integration contractor in July. View the entire March 29, 2017 presentation below (PDF)


CALS Sprint Review

Certification, Approval, and Licensing Service (CALS) held a sprint review on March 21 to discuss their progress on the project. Click here to view the webinar.

CWDS Reaches Milestone of First Software Release

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) has reached a major milestone, delivering the project’s first software release for testing and technical feasibility to a small subset of county users. The Intake Digital Service team has developed the ability for end users to securely log on to the CWS-New System, as well as the ability to search for people. The new search functionality is far more powerful than the legacy system, and with user testing and feedback, it will enhance case workers’ ability to more quickly locate individuals in the child welfare system.

“We have reached a significant technical milestone, building the foundation to deliver state-of-the-art digital services and connecting the legacy database to our new platform that will provide modern tools for case workers to help protect children,” said Project Director Tony Fortenberry.

For this software release, the Intake Core County team members include Butte, Yolo, Santa Cruz, Fresno, Ventura, and Los Angeles. This small sample of end users will provide feedback and validate that the functionality is working properly, with the next step to include users in additional counties.

While seemingly limited in scope, these basic features require a complex technical foundation to allow the digital service to interact with the legacy CWS/CMS database in a production environment. This first release demonstrates that the underpinnings of the development strategy are sound, and will allow the project to ramp up additional functionality much more rapidly. In November of 2015, the project changed its development strategy from the traditional “waterfall” approach to using agile methodology, the first such major project in California state government to do so.

“We are actively delivering software much faster than we would have if we had stayed the course with the monolithic procurement and waterfall development model,” said Peter Kelly, OSI Chief Deputy Director. “By leveraging agile development methods, we are nimble and better able to meet the ever-changing needs of our end users."

The effort to replace the legacy CWS/CMS system began in 2002 with the CWS/CMS Strategic Plan to modernize the system, leading to the CWS Web project, approved in 2004. The California Legislature cancelled the project in 2011, due to budget constraints, and required a study of CWS/CMS to answer specific question related to the existing system and approaches to address missing functionality. The Child Welfare Services – New System (CWS-NS) project received budget approval to move forward in 2013. Late in 2015, the state chose to take the project in a different direction by cancelling its planned procurement of a single implementation vendor, which would not have delivered working software for end users until 2019, in favor of modular procurement and Agile software development that emphasizes user research, user experience (UX) design, and puts working software in the hands of users much sooner.

CWDS eNewsletter

CWDS sends weekly project updates to stakeholders who subscribe to our newsletter. Click here to view this week's eNewsletter, or sign-up for future updates.

Video: CWDS Digital Services Director Kevin Gaines Discusses Project’s Progress

We sat down with Digital Services Director Kevin Gaines to understand his perspective on the the progress that is being made in the development of digital services.

Child Welfare Digital Services Legislative Update

Child Welfare Digital Services produces a monthly report for the Legislature and stakeholders to follow as the project works to replace the CWS/CMS legacy system.

Click here to read the March 2017 report online.

Bill Maile Joins CWDS as Communications Director

Bill Maile will lead communications across the project, working closely with CWDS teams and project stakeholders. Bill has more than 15 years of experience working for the State of California. For the past five years, he was editor of TechWire, a technology trade publication he founded in 2011. Prior to 2011, he served as director of communications at the California Technology Agency, among other assignments in the executive and legislative branches of state government. Throughout his career, Bill has been a strong advocate for increasing government transparency and leveraging technology and innovation to maximize efficiency in government programs. CWDS is excited to have him on board.