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Zack Souza named CWDS Service Desk Manager on CWS-CARES Project

On January 2, 2018, Zack Souza joined OSI/CWDS as the Service Desk Manager on the CWS-CARES Project. As the Service Desk Manager, Zack leads a team of 24/7 service desk specialists providing top tier support to CWS-CARES users.

Previously, Zack worked for California Department of Public Health (CDPH) as an Application Support Manager supporting a nationwide application for health care evaluator nurse/surveyors. He has worked for State of California since 2012 and in the information technology field for 18 years.

Zack earned his Bachelor of Government from Sacramento State, and a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix. He is also a graduate of the Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA 22) class of 2014-15, and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

When not at work, Zack serves as the District Director of Toastmasters District 39. District 39 is a 501C3 non-profit, spans northern California & northern Nevada, and serves 3,000 members. A Toastmaster since 2004, Zack has attained the Distinguished Toastmaster designation—the highest level of educational achievement in the organization. Please join us in welcoming Zack to the team.

CWDS Seeks Senior Content Strategist

Become CWDS’ Senior Content Strategist and help determine the voice and tone of the one of the largest child welfare case management systems in the country. In this role you will be working directly with digital service creators and end-users throughout the entire design and development process. You will be responsible for researching and creating CWDS content strategy style guides, user experience writing for content requirements and creating content strategy deliverables across various digital service teams. Your research deliverables will further inform information architecture and data organizational strategy. Learn more by reading the full job description and bulletin online.

CWDS is designing, developing and implementing a new and innovative system, called CWS-CARES, that replaces a 20 year-old legacy system used by child welfare case workers across the state’s 58 counties. Our project uses free and open source software, Agile methodologies and user-centered design principles and is seeking talented professionals who can develop and manage content in this environment.

We are seeking high-level thinkers who are also standout idea generators and problem solvers with excellent communication and organizational skills. This position requires strong analytical abilities necessary to gather key business and user insights, who can apply their strategic planning skills to create a long-term vision for the content generation.

You will join a team of 12 researchers and designers and work closely with product owners, stakeholders, policy, and data scientists to create, curate and manage content. This position is located in beautiful Sacramento, California, in our modern, open-plan, collaborative workspaces. To learn more about the team’s approach, see the Design Team Wiki. Sign up for the CWDS newsletter to get future project updates.

Monthly Report: CWDS Update - November 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.

Click here to read the November 2017 report online. 

CWDS Welcomes New Product Management Advisors

CWDS today announced the addition of James Weaver and Kaitlin Devine to the project. Both are scheduled to start within the next week and will serve as product management advisors. Their focus will be on process implementation, agile project management, and software delivery.

Mr. Weaver has 20 years of leadership experience specializing in software development and strategy, business intelligence, project management, operational streamlining, business development, and implementation. His IT work specializes in product strategy, agile software development, DevOps, and information architecture. Mr. Weaver’s most recent assignment was with one of the healthcare industry's first SaaS providers, revamping software development processes and building out its DevOps organization. Prior to that, he oversaw development of multiple reporting and analytics solutions with onshore and offshore teams, for a software company specializing in healthcare safety and operational efficiency. During his tenure with this company, Mr. Weaver led its first agile teams during a companywide adoption of the methodology.

Ms. Devine also brings years of IT leadership experience to the team. Currently, she works for the General Services Administration’s digital consultancy, 18F, where she served as a Python engineer and expert on contracting data until she became the first 18F Director of Engineering. Serving on 18F’s senior management team, Ms. Devine created infrastructure for all the major functions of the software engineering team, including recruitment and hiring, code standards and best practices, intra-team mentoring and education, and team management, including a new team structure and peer review process. After spearheading the 18F engineering team, she went on detail to Treasury as a product owner for the implementation of the first federal open data law, the DATA act. As product owner of two major software products (an internal agency reporting website and the external, public-facing website and API), Ms. Devine directed the software product and technical strategy end-to-end.

Register for the CWDS Newsletter to receive future project updates and follow our progress. 

HHS Technology Group Awarded Contract with CWDS Project

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) has selected HHS Technology Group from the state’s Agile Development Pre-Qualified (ADPQ) vendor pool to work on the Case Management digital service. Case Management is the largest of eight services under development to create the system that will replace the existing Child Welfare Services / Case Management System (CWS/CMS) used by county case workers across California.

The Case Management digital service will provide county child welfare agencies a comprehensive, automated case management system that fully supports effective child welfare practices, and incorporates the functional requirements mandated by federal regulations. It will provide state and county caseworkers, supervisors, staff and managers with a simple and efficient tool for maintaining a case record in a variety of situations, including: family needs assessments, court supervised or voluntary in-home services, foster care placement, family reunification services, and permanency planning services.

The project is pioneering the development and operation of cloud-based software in the public sector, utilizing Agile software development processes rather than a traditional design, development and implementation (DDI) / maintenance and operations (M&O) model. The project is taking an innovative new approach for California state government, using DevOps tools and processes, free/open source software (FOSS) and user-centered design.

The project’s first code release, in March 2017, came six months before the selection and award of a system integrator, and two to three years before any working software would have occurred under the previous monolithic “waterfall” approach.

Visit the CWDS Vendor Page for contract updates, and register for the CWDS Newsletter to follow our progress. 

Video: CWDS Solution Demo - Dec. 4

CWDS held a Solution Demonstration on Dec. 4 to provide stakeholders with an overview of the Snapshot tool, scheduled to roll out early next year. For more information about Snapshot and the CWDS Roadmap, visit our project dashboard.

CWDS Names New System ‘CWS-CARES’, Prepares for First Statewide Product Release

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) today announced the name, CWS-CARES, for the new system under development to replace the legacy Child Welfare System (CWS/CMS). The team also unveiled a Project Roadmap of upcoming features, including its first statewide release of a search tool called Snapshot.


Working in partnership with the California Welfare Directors Association (CWDA), the project formerly referred to as New System is now called Child Welfare Services - California Automated Response and Engagement System (CWS-CARES). The process to name the new system included a collaborative effort with child welfare directors and staff. Project stakeholders are confident that the new name captures what the new system will deliver to users across the state.


In addition, the project revealed a Project Roadmap that details digital service functionality roll out dates for Intake, CALS (Licensing) and Case Management. The Roadmap covers a 15-month window of project releases, starting in July 2017 through September 2018 and provides a logical model illustrating general timeframes, which may shift due to agile development priorities. Snapshot is the first digital service tool to be rolled out as a part of the Project Roadmap.


Scheduled to go live early next year, Snapshot allows staff to search for one or more persons and view the history of their involvement with child welfare, including referrals and cases, in a fraction of the time that it currently takes to do the same work in CWS/CMS. Specifically, Snapshot gives staff the ability to search for people across CWS/CMS from a single field, see each person’s current contact information and demographics, and view an at-a-glance summary of their CWS history. The tool also includes a way to easily copy and paste key information which will greatly enhance workflow for staff. The CWS-CARES Implementation Team is scheduled to provide a number of services for counties to prepare for Snapshot.


A demonstration of the new tool will be given this Monday, December 4, from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM. Please join us via WebEx by following this meeting link. The event will also be livestreamed at:

Case Management Sprint Review 05.1

Case Management held a sprint review on Nov. 29 to discuss their progress on the project. Click here to view the presentation slides.

CALS Sprint Review 05.1

A CALS sprint review was held on Nov. 29 to discuss their progress on the project. Review the presentation slides and webinar online.

Northern Regional User Group Presentation - Update

Child Welfare Digital Services delivered a project update to the Northern Regional User Group on Nov. 28. Review the CWS-CARES and CWS/CMS presentation slides online.