Follow Our Progress

Video: CWDS Senate Budget Subcommittee Hearing on April 20

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) executives provided an update on the project on April 20 in the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee #3 on Health and Human Services.  Watch the video below, see the hearing agenda here.


New Vendors Selected for Agile Development Pre-Qualified Vendor Pool

The California Department of Technology has announced the selection of 13 vendors who are now part of the State’s expanded Agile Development Pre-Qualified (ADPQ) vendor pool. Along with 11 companies that were previously selected in 2016 when the vendor pool was initially created, there are now 24 vendors eligible to bid on opportunities for agile and user-centered design services. Read more about the establishment of the ADPQ vendor pool on our website: While CWDS has been the first state organization to use the vendor pool for the development of the Child Welfare Services – New System (CWS-NS) project, CDT expanded the pool to increase competition and allow all state agencies and departments to use it. Read the Notification of Selection here.

CWDS to Issue RFOs for Implementation Services

As part of an overall strategy to help counties prepare to transition from the legacy Child Welfare Services/Case Management System, Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) will be releasing four solicitations for implementation services, including organizational change management, training development, training delivery and implementation services.

Since January 2017, OnCore Consulting has been the implementation contractor for Intake Services, one of the five digital services within CWDS.

Rather than procuring services of another single vendor to cover implementation in its entirety for the remaining digital services, CWDS will release four separate RFOs for the following disciplines of work:

  • Implementation Services: Plans, manages, and oversees all implementation through coordination, communication, and readiness activities. Provides schedule management for implementation-specific activities at project, state, county, and tribal levels and includes Organizational Change Management (OCM), Training Development and Training Delivery Contractors.
  • OCM: Develops, delivers and maintains OCM materials, reviews and updates existing OCM templates and OCM processes.
  • Training Development: Analyzes, designs, develops, maintains, and updates a complete system training program suitable for a physical and virtual training environment.
  • Training Delivery: Plans, prepares, evaluates, schedules, and delivers Train-the-Trainer training to approximately 250 state, county, and Regional Training Academy staff at least once a quarter or for a major release based on the materials provided by the Training Development Contractor.

Splitting traditional implementation services over four contracts allows vendors to provide services in their areas of expertise. If a vendor submits an offer for one solicitation, the offer does not preclude that vendor from submitting on the other solicitations.  The successful vendor(s) will assist with the implementation of Digital Services such as CALS and Case Management, of which the user community consists of over 25,000 county and state staff.

Counties will continue to have one point of contact within CWDS for all implementation activities and services.

Visit the CWDS vendor page for more information on procurement:

Quarterly Stakeholder Forum (4/11/17) Materials Posted

CWDS Digital Services Director Kevin Gaines and Project Director Tony Fortenberry shared our vision and our progress at the Quarterly Stakeholder Forum, held at the CWDS campus and via WebEx web conference on Tuesday, April 11. Intake Digital Service Manager, Wendy Christian, and Intake Product Owner, Jeff Dent followed with a demonstration of the “sandbox” that is being made available to core county users.

Three separate breakout sessions in the afternoon allowed participants to attend the area that interested them most for a more in-depth look at our progress. Participants chose from these:

  • Intake
  • Certifications, Approval, & Licensing Services (CALS)
  • Technology Platform

The slide decks from each of these sessions are available:

Main Session
Intake Solutions Demo
Intake Breakout Session
CALS Breakout
Tech Breakout

Recordings of the sessions are available on the CWDS YouTube channel:

Please contact with any questions or comments.

Intake Solution Demo: Sandbox

At today’s Quarterly Stakeholder Forum, Intake Digital Service Manager Wendy Christian and Intake Product Owner Jeff Dent gave a demonstration of the newly created “sandbox” that will help voluntary county users better understand new functionality of the intake module, as developers and designers continue to iterate on versions of the new system.  The standalone sandbox uses test data to give users a sense of workflow and usability, without any security risks.

The Intake Module covers the spectrum of Emergency Response – from the time a report of child abuse comes into the hotline through the work done by a CPS social worker to investigate these allegations of child abuse and neglect.

Key slides from the presentation are below, stay tuned for more details.  The video archive of today’s session will be posted soon.

Live Webcast: Quarterly Stakeholder Forum 4/11/17 @ 10 am

Video: CWDS Intake Service Manager Wendy Christian on New System

As a 20-year veteran working in the child welfare system in Sacramento County, Wendy Christian is leading the Intake Module solution to create a system that will streamline the Child Protective Services hotline and investigations processes.  The Intake Module covers the spectrum of Emergency Response – from the time a report of child abuse comes into the hotline through the work done by a CPS social worker to investigate these allegations of child abuse and neglect.

At CWDS as Intake Service Manager, Wendy and her team are working with county users across the state to create the most effective interface to streamline workflow.  To date, project staff have conducted more than 300 interviews with county workers to help iterate and refine versions.  In the video below, she describes her work on the new system.

CWDS Recruiting for CALS Product Owner

Child Welfare Digital Services is currently recruiting to fill the position of Product Owner, a key role on the Certification, Approval, and Licensing Services (CALS) team that will help manage the design and development team to create the new module to support the regulation of foster care homes in California.

As a Product Owner working on California’s first major technology project using Agile methodology, you will work in an innovative, high-energy environment, collaborating with designers, developers, and other team members across the project to replace the legacy child welfare system.

Led by user-centered design principles, the Product Owner works directly with the Digital Service Manager to set the vision and priority for software development for CALS.

The Child Welfare Digital Services program, as part of the Office of Systems Integration offers free parking, in close proximity to downtown Sacramento (in the South Natomas area), an Agile working environment, a newly refurbished and innovative office space and working environment and a challenging opportunity to be part of an exciting program and team. Click here to apply!

Status Update on Intake Digital Service

This week, CWDS executives are briefing county stakeholders on the project’s Intake Digital Service, one (out of five) service that is currently the most advanced in development.  Intake is the beginning of the process where a case worker would decide how to respond to information provided through a hotline caller, such as an allegation of child abuse.  In designing the new system, product owners and developers are working with county users to create the most effective interface to streamline workflow. To date, project staff have conducted more than 300 interviews with county users to help iterate and refine versions. The graphic below gives an update on the development of the new Intake Digital Service.

Image: Slide 19 from the CWDS Legislative Quarterly Report. Click above to open the March 29, 2017 PPT presentation.


Design Thinking Applied to Meetings


As CWDS User Research & Design Director, I often say “everything is experience design,” not just the digital services we are building, but also way we work together to deliver those services. Recently I shared at a recent All Staff Meeting to explain how our team has been able to leverage User Experience (UX) Design principles and techniques to improve the experience and   usefulness of the organizations All-Staff Meeting.

This announcement was the first of a newly revamped All Staff Meeting designed to make better use of staff time and connect us all to our product vision. CWDS Executives asked me to form an ad hoc team to redesign the meeting, which had over 100 attendees and had grown stale as our team had grown in size and mission. The ad hoc meeting redesign team included representatives from the Project Management Office (PMO), Communications Team, and the User Research and Design Team. Our first step was to identify the problem space: morale and attendance concerns, meeting format effectiveness, effort to produce the meeting vs benefits of holding it, and understanding who champions the meeting design.

The next step was identifying research goals: understanding attendees’ experience of what’s working and what isn’t, solicit improvement ideas, and relating the All-Staff to overall organizational communication. Research methods consisted of a “flash survey to get a quick pulse and set a quantitative baseline, and one-on-one user interviews with a dozen people representing different attendee groups from across the organization. The team then synthesized the research to surface pain points and insights.

Based on the research results and brainstorming ways to address the pain points and needs of attendees the Communications Team, is now empowered to  own the meeting, to creatively structure it  to address  themes in a now one-hour meeting to be held no more than once a month. The themes are:

  • Vision and Mission
  • Product Progress
  • Celebrate Our Team
  • Living Our Values/Culture
  • General Announcements

CWDS is excited to apply experience design principles to all areas of our operations, not just how we design and develop software for our users. It makes for a more engaged work environment where people are collaborative, accountable, and empowered.

About the Author:  

Jesse Taggert is the Director of User Research & Design at Child Welfare Digital Services.  She has more than 25 years of experience as a design leader, user researcher, ux designer, visual designer, and communications strategist.  Recently, she completed a two-year engagement serving the federal government as an Innovation Specialist/Strategist at 18F where she led the consulting group’s design and product strategy.