Follow Our Progress

CWDS Update: March 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 March 2017 report below:

CWDS Update March 2017 (pdf)    


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)


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.

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.

CWDS Presents Quarterly Update to Legislature

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) Executives are at the State Capitol today to brief the Joint Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee on the overall status of the CWDS Child Welfare Services – New System project. Scheduled for 3:00 on the subcommittee’s agenda, CWDS Executives will discuss the project vision and strategy, progress to date, where we are headed, and lessons learned on shifting to an agile development framework. A copy of the presentation can be found here. The briefing is open to the public. CWDS will be following up today’s briefing by hosting a quarterly stakeholder forum on January 10 to cover this information and more details with our stakeholders at our Sacramento campus or via webinar. See the news item from December 15, 2016, (below) for more information and how to register by Friday, December 23.

CWDS to Hold Quarterly Stakeholder Forum

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) will be hosting a Quarterly Stakeholder Forum on 1/10/17 from approximately 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

This all-day event will be held onsite at the CWDS campus 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 Intake, Licensing, Program Policy, Tools, Testing, Implementation, and other project related information.

We will send a detailed agenda once it is final. To register, please complete the following survey by Friday, December 23 to indicate whether you will be able to join us in person, via webinar, or if you will not be attending, but would like to be included on our mailing list: Register for Stakeholder Forum.