Want real-time updates from CWDS? Follow us!

Now more than ever, CWDS is focusing on our social media channels for sharing information in real-time with our stakeholders and the general public. In the spirit of Agile methodology and project transparency, we are using social media as way to reach more people, more quickly, every day.

Whether you work on the project, or serve on the front line protecting children in one of California’s 58 counties, you can keep up our efforts to replace the CWS / CMS system by following us on Twitter @ca_cwds, Facebook www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCWDS and LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/child-welfare-digital-services.

Moreover, vendors looking for information on current solicitations, state employees looking for promotional opportunities, other stakeholders interested in our latest project reports or social workers wanting to see our most recent CWDS developments can find this information by following us on our social media channels.

We also produce and host a variety of project-related videos on our CWDS YouTube channel. If you’re looking for more in-depth project content including system demonstrations and stakeholder meetings, please subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdoOvrtXKH1NacC4T85sADQ/videos

 

CWDS Seeks Project Director

With the recent internal promotion of its project director, Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) is recruiting to fill the key position that runs day-to-day operations overseeing the administrative and customer support functions of the project to replace California’s legacy child welfare system for county social workers.

“We are looking for a talented leader to join California’s largest and most innovative project, the focus of national attention as government seeks to fundamentally change the way we do business,” said Office of Systems Integration (OSI) Director John Boule. “This is an exciting opportunity to serve the public, to give back while being part of this monumental initiative.”

With a staff of  more than 70, which includes the Project Management Office (PMO), the project director is responsible for overseeing contract management, budgeting, human resources, customer relations, state and federal reporting and the project’s overall implementation.

The project director, officially classified as a Data Processing Manager IV, will work alongside the product director, both reporting to recently promoted Office of Systems Integration Deputy Director Tony Fortenberry. CWDS is preparing for a national recruitment effort to fill the product director position.

“We are looking for a candidate who thrives on collaboration and can build strong relationships with the user community and county stakeholders,” said OSI Chief Deputy Director Peter Kelly. “This individual must be a champion of best practices, an effective planner and decision maker, and be a strong advocate for using technology to support the mission of social workers to protect California’s children.”

As a part of the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) within OSI, CWDS is developing a modern platform and infrastructure to replace the 20-year-old legacy child welfare management system used by county case workers. The project consists of eight digital services to replace the Child Welfare System/ Case Management System (CWS/CMS) that manages work for county child protective services programs, foster home approvals and licensing, and other critical functions that allow case workers to protect children.

CWDS is pioneering the development and operation of cloud-based software in the public sector, following a DevOps project lifecycle 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 agile methodologies, free/open source software (FOSS) and user-centered design.

In November of 2015, after a decade of planning, the project changed its development strategy from the traditional “waterfall” approach to using agile methodologies which focus on iterative development cycles and a rapid feedback loop with end-users. Agile teams work in two-week sprints with daily status meetings to measure progress. With the project’s first code release in March, teams of state staff and contractors, including designers, developers and project managers, have been working toward full velocity under the new approach. Momentum is building as more developer teams are joining the effort each month.

[For additional information, see the job flyer here.  The state job announcement is here. ]

News Clips – Government Technology: Agile Acquisitions: Rethinking Public-Sector Purchasing

Cover Story: California was featured in the September issue of Government Technology:

For years the state of California has been doing multi-year, multimillion-dollar software projects, only to find that many of them don’t produce the results the state had hoped for. They take too long to plan and execute, and cost more than expected. “Customers have one consistent thing they tell us: You gave me what I asked for, but it is not really what I wanted,” said Peter Kelly, chief deputy director for the California Health and Human Services Agency’s Office of Systems Integration (OSI).   Read the entire story published by Government Technology.

 

California Health and Human Services Agency Announces Appointments

The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) today announced two key appointments at the Office of Systems Integration (OSI), Adam Dondro as agency information officer (AIO) and Tony Fortenberry as deputy director for the Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) project.

Agency Information Officer Adam Dondro

Dondro will oversee the technology and governance functions within the agency.  As AIO, he will provide oversight and coordination for the strategy and activities of information technology (IT) offices throughout the agency, its constituent departments, and electronic interface partners.  He will also lead the agency’s governance structure to plan enterprise direction, coordinate the handling of critical IT policy issues, and lead the development of IT business and tactical plans.

“Adam’s enterprise view of data, architecture and planning will serve us well as OSI supports the critical systems on which so many Californians depend,” said OSI Director John Boule.  “His emphasis on efficiency, innovation and customer service will benefit the departments we serve.”

Since 2013, Dondro served as the assistant director for horizontal integration at California Department of Social Services.  From 2010 to 2013, he served as the assistant secretary for external affairs at the California Technology Agency.  His experience also includes five years in the Legislature in both policy and budget roles.

Based at OSI headquarters, Dondro leads a team of 15 staff who work directly with department chief information officers, chief technology officers and enterprise architects throughout CHHS.

Recently appointed as OSI deputy director, Fortenberry has served as project director for CWDS for the past year.  He is a veteran technology executive with more than 25 years of experience working in the industry, including ten years of experience with California state government working in roles in IT procurement, contract management, vendor performance evaluation, and Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V).

“I am pleased to have Tony join OSI as a deputy director to lead this innovative project,” said OSI Director John Boule.   “Tony’s vast experience in product design, organizational strategy, agile methodologies and open source software is a tremendous resource for our agency.”

OSI Deputy Director Tony Fortenberry

Fortenberry has worked extensively as a management consultant, technology advisor, and procurement specialist for California government agencies, healthcare services providers, and nonprofit organizations.  Prior to serving as project director for CWDS, he worked on various projects at CalPERS, CalHEERS, the California Horse Racing Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Public Utilities Commission and California Department of Technology, among others.   Career highlights include serving as chief technology officer for Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), based in Austin, Texas, and as chief information officer for the City of Northglenn, Colorado.

“Tony provided steady leadership and tremendous insight as we launched California’s first major project using agile methodologies,” said OSI Chief Deputy Director Peter Kelly.   “His unwavering commitment to the project and staff will serve us well.”

As a part of CHHS within the Office of Systems Integration, Child Welfare Digital Services is developing a modern platform and infrastructure to replace a 20-year-old legacy child welfare management system used by county case workers.   The project consists of eight digital services to replace the Child Welfare System/ Case Management System (CWS/CMS) that manages work for county child protective services programs, foster home approvals and licensing, and other critical functions that allow case workers to protect children.

In November of 2015, after a decade of planning, the project changed its development strategy from the traditional “waterfall” approach to using agile methodologies which focus on iterative development cycles and a rapid feedback loop with end-users.  Agile teams work in two-week sprints with daily status meetings to measure progress.  With the project’s first code release in March, teams of state staff and contractors, including designers, developers and project managers, have been working toward full velocity under the new approach.  Momentum is building as more developer teams are joining the effort each month.

Fortenberry joins Department of Social Services Deputy Director Kevin Gaines and County Welfare Directors Association Executive Liaison Penni Clarke as members of the project’s Executive Leadership Team.

CWDS Awards Contracts for Case Management Digital Service

Cambria Solutions and Accenture Start July 2017

Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) has selected Cambria Solutions and Accenture 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, following a DevOps project lifecycle 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 agile methodologies, 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.

CWDS Awards Consulting Contract to CivicActions

Berkeley-based CivicActions has been selected to provide technical consulting services for Child Welfare Digital Service (CWDS), the project announced on June 30.

CivicActions will provide six full-time staff to the project’s infrastructure team, helping provide a continuum of services and capabilities including integration, deployment, and automation. The new team members triple the project’s infrastructure engineer count from two to six, with the introduction of four new engineers, a performance analyst, and an experienced release manager who will also be the team’s Scrum Master.

CWDS is pioneering the development and operation of cloud-based software following a DevOps project lifecycle 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 Agile methodologies, free/open source software (FOSS) and user-centered design.

The project consists of eight digital services to replace the legacy system that manages casework for county child protective services programs, foster home approvals and licensing, and other critical functions that allow case workers to protect children.

With the project’s first code release in March, teams of state staff and contractors, including designers, developers and project managers, have been working to get started under the new approach.  Momentum is building as more developer teams will be hired in the coming months.

Louis Cretaro Selected to Head Court Processing Digital Service

County Consultant Louis Cretaro has been selected to serve as Service Manager for the Court Processing Digital Service, CWDS announced on June 28th.

Cretaro, who currently serves on the CWDS project as a consultant for the California Welfare Directors Association, previously served as a Health and Human Service applications team supervisor in Placer County for 15 years.  He will also continue to serve as a subject matter expert on the project’s interfaces team.

One of eight digital services within the CWDS project, the Court Processing Digital Service will provide state and county staff with software that allows a child welfare professional to generate, complete, submit, and record submission of proper legal notice, court reports and court results.

Working closely with county representatives and the CWS/CMS user community across the state, CWDS Service Managers lead product design and development teams to create software for the project to replace the legacy system used by case workers to help protect children in California.

 

 

 

California Conducting National Search for Agile Development Chief

California is recruiting for a chief to lead development on one of its highest profile systems, the Child Welfare Digital Services project to replace a 20 year-old legacy system used by case workers across the state’s 58 counties.  Using open source software, agile methodologies and user-centered design, the project is embarking on an innovative new approach for California state government.

“All eyes are on this demonstration project, California’s first major effort using agile methodologies which represents a fundamental shift in the way state government approaches technology,” said Office of Systems Integration Director John Boule.  “A year and a half ago we abandoned the decade-old monolithic approach on this project, in favor of a modern, innovative strategy modeled after examples in the private sector and more recent success stories in the federal government.

“Case workers need modern, effective tools that allow them to spend more time in the field protecting children and less time in an office, in front of a computer,” Boule continued.  “A talented development chief will appreciate our clients’ needs and drive our team to produce the highest quality replacement system.”

In November of 2015, the project changed its development strategy from the traditional “waterfall” approach to using agile methodologies which focus on iterative development cycles and a rapid feedback loop with end-users.  Agile teams work in two-week sprints with daily status meetings to measure progress.  The new approach includes DevOps teams, placing a strong emphasis on collaboration between network engineers, developers, business program managers and state and county subject matter experts.

“Other states are watching as we use open source code as a public good that can be freely copied by government agencies and the public at large,” said Peter Kelly, Chief Deputy Director for the Office of Systems Integration, the agency overseeing the project.   “We are looking for an accomplished technology professional who can get the job done in California, and who understands the greater potential and impact of this project.”

Child Welfare Digital Services is reaching beyond California to find candidates to fill this role, classified as an official state position to oversee all application development activities on the project.  More details on the Development Chief position can be found here.

The project consists of eight digital services to replace the legacy system that manages casework for county child protective services programs, foster home approvals and licensing, and other critical functions that allow case workers to protect children.   With the project’s first code release in March, teams of state staff and contractors, including designers, developers and project managers, have been working to get started under the new approach.  Momentum is building as more developer teams will be hired in the coming months.

The effort to replace the legacy CWS/CMS system began in 2004 with the Go Forward Plan to modernize the system, leading to the CWS Web project, approved in 2006. The California Legislature suspended 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 July 2012.

 

 

 

Implementation Update

The CWDS Implementation Team recently invited over 300 CWDS stakeholders to attend one of seven “CWDS Implementation Overview” meet-and-greet sessions. Those notified included Child Welfare Services and Probation Single Points of Contact (SPOCs), Technical Contacts, and Training Contacts from all 58 California counties, Kurok and Yurok Tribe contacts, CWS/CMS Regional User Group Chairs, and 6 CWS/CMS training academies.

The CWDS Implementation Team conducted the seven sessions during the week of May 29. The purpose was to share high-level information about the implementation approach, identify some of the activities involved during implementation readiness, and provide a way for the participants to contact us and access project materials. The agenda specifically covered the following topics:

  1. What is Implementation?
  2. Why is Implementation Important?
  3. How do we Communicate?
  4. How can you Prepare for Implementation?
  5. What’s Next?
  6. How to Contact Us
  7. Q&A

In all, we had over 75 participants who officially RSVP’d and many more who called in at their convenience. Thirty-seven counties were represented along with three RTAs. During the sessions, the CWDS Implementation Team received questions; most of which fall into the categories below:

  1. System training/Training-the-Trainer (TTT)/Staff or End-User Training.
  2. More information about the Contractor Implementation Lead (IL) who will support each “Org” (which is the general name for the entities receiving implementation services).
  3. Implementation dates and timeframes.
  4. Access to the PPT used during the sessions and the recordings of each of the 7 sessions.

Coming Soon:  The CWDS Implementation Team will post the presentation, all 7 of the recorded sessions, and the full Q&A list to the Implementation Portal in the next couple of weeks. Remember that a CWS/CMS User Login is needed to access the Implementation Portal.