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User Research Drives Good Design

At CWDS, one of the ways we develop good design is through good user research. The User Research and Design team has been working hard over the past year to ensure that the working needs of our state and county users are met with new product design.

The team has interviewed over 100 state and county workers to discover first hand design opportunities to address our users’ long-standing and emerging needs, pain points, and strengths. The team has also conducted over 75 usability tests to learn how well users respond to new designs. From this user research, and discussions with CWDS service managers, the team drafted the Design Experience Values— a user experience promise of what the New System aims to deliver.

The team focuses their research and design on the needs of each digital services team to ensure a reliable, responsive, and intuitive user experience, while considering cross-team and holistic needs. They also collaborate with core county stakeholders during design development, where they respond to feedback and periodically share progress through solution demonstrations.

To learn more about the team's approach, see the Design Team Wiki and sign up for the CWDS newsletter to get future project updates.

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Training and Implementation Update

On October 10, the Training and Implementation teams presented an overview of the CWS-NS approach to training, and showcased a demonstration of their web-based training tool at our Quarterly Stakeholder forum. The team is currently busy developing training materials for Intake, CALS, and Case Management digital services. Future training development will occur for the Resource Management, Court Processing, Eligibility, and Financial Management and Administration digital services.

Counties and tribes are responsible to deliver training to their staff, therefore the project will deliver Train the Trainer sessions. Each county or tribe will be able to determine which training method fits their organization’s learning-style and preference. The goal is to provide a variety of training materials that meet a variety of training needs. Materials can also be customized to meet an organization’s specific business processes. The county will receive the entire set of training tools during the Train the Trainer sessions, including:

  • Traditional instructor-led training (ILT) with instructor and user guides along with a robust online training environment where users can practice real-life scenarios.

  • Web based training (WBT) that includes New System orientations with professional voice over narration and closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

  • E-learning courses that are SCORM compliant to allow counties with Learning Management Systems (LMS) to upload and track training statistics.

  • Job aids, user guides, and desk aids with step-action tables, new concepts and printable PDFs.

  • Demonstration videos comprised of brief 2-3 minute demos on specific functions that provide users step-by-step guided instruction.

The goal of the Implementation team is to get these digital services out to the counties in the most efficient way possible while meeting the unique needs of each county. One of the ways they plan to do this is by offering a single point-of-contact between each county and CWS-NS throughout the life of the project.

The team will continue to solicit and receive feedback from the core counties on training products in an effort to build training tools that allow the user to navigate the features of the New System with confidence. Please sign-up for the CWDS Newsletter to receive future updates.

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CWDS Hires Steve Trimble as Chief of Development

Child Welfare Digital Services has hired Steve Trimble as the project's Chief of Development.  After an extensive national search Steve is joining OSI a senior member of the project team and will directly oversee state and contractor staff who are working in a variety of technical environments, web-based applications, technology platforms, data architecture and associated cloud infrastructure.

Steve is an accomplished, outcome-driven senior technology leader with over 27 years of development and leadership experience including 15 years as a Senior Development Manager for AT&T. In addition, Steve is nationally recognized leader in Agile/Scrum/Kanban development environments and has extensive experience implementing Agile in large scale operations. Steve is also a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO).


Case Management Project Update

The Case Management Digital Services (CMDS) team recently facilitated a 2-day research and design workshop that included knowledge sharing and brainstorming exercises with the core counties.

During the workshop the CM team presented and validated their initial research on the business flows of emergency placement and family finding efforts.With the design teams, the counties brainstormed and sketched out activities for potential New System design, and captured items requiring further investigation – an example of how users are driving the development of the New System. Please click here to view the design concept video the CM team created based on county input.

Next steps for CMDS include continued development of the conceptual design, documenting the data fields in legacy for placements, and building reusable common components based on DesignOps guidelines. As Case Management design and development efforts continue, core county feedback will be solicited and used to help improve conceptual designs as they evolve

Intake Digital Service Update

The Digital Services Intake team held a two-day county workshop with Los Angeles, Ventura, Butte, Fresno and Yolo counties here in Sacramento. One of the primary goals of the workshop was to develop and mock up the investigations conclusion page and the investigations dashboard for CWS-NS.

The team spent the morning story boarding and working out potential page views for the investigations conclusion page. Then the team broke into two groups with one developing page prototypes and the other writing real world scenarios to test against the prototypes. The two groups later reconvened and walked through the scenario using mocked up screens. This lead to some very valuable discussion between the teams and the ability to modify and improve the proposed pages on the spot. This design-build process allows counties and the project team to work collaboratively on real world scenarios that meet the needs of social workers and supervisors based on how they work today. This process also lets us identify where there are duplications of effort and reduce redundancies whenever possible. Please click here to view the team's presentation materials. 

Design Ops Sprint Review #1

The first Design Ops Sprint Review took place on Sept. 27 where the team delivered a preview of the visual direction the application will be taking. This included a preliminary mockup of the landing page header and dashboard. The Design Ops team is applying universal design elements for building the component library and style guide that will be shared across all the digital services teams. This component library provides a holistic design approach yet allows each digital services team the flexibility to build, implement and test new functionality, iteratively.

The goals of this first Sprint included conducting visual design studies to identify and adopt a consistent look and feel and an inventory of core components for what still needs to be completed. Based on the feedback we received, it was agreed to adopt the ‘professional’ template as the primary look and feel while also including elements that were both ‘warm’ and ‘confident’. Based on preliminary digital design study and a mockup of an intake screen role and were able to achieve consensus on a single design direction going forward. The ultimate goal being a look and feel that is completely accessible yet professional.

Watch a webinar of the first sprint review below:

Intake Snapshot Demo

Intake conducted a solution demonstration for the Snapshot feature on Oct. 10. Click here to view the webinar. 

CWDS to Hold Quarterly Stakeholder Forum on Tuesday, October 10th at 10:00 AM


Child Welfare Digital Services will host a Quarterly Stakeholder Forum on Tuesday, October 10, 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 presentations by CWDS digital service teams.

The event will be live webcast via the CWDS website at

Alternatively, follow the event via WebEx (audio webinar) by registering here.

Event = 662 291 080   Password = Fall17

Please send any questions to:

See the agenda below:


Monthly Report: CWDS Update - September 2017

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

Read the September 2017 report online: CWDS Update September 2017

Updated: CWDS Job Opportunities

There are many exciting career opportunities available at Child Welfare Digital Services. With the support of skilled, dedicated employees and the goal to improve the lives of children at risk of abuse and neglect, CWDS employees are committed to working in an agile environment to make this happen. If you are looking for new challenges and a rewarding profession, then we encourage you to consider a career with us.

Current CWDS Job Vacancies:

Stay updated on the latest opportunities by checking our career page here.