The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 1, 2013
California IT snapshot: Child welfare computer system makeover

Charged with safeguarding the well-being of children and adults, the California Department of Social Services uses its current case management system to track a plethora of data, from information used to make case-by-case child welfare decisions to collecting statistics for federal reports.

The current system, according to the department's website, is "comprised of more than 19,000 workstations, 2,000 laptops, 395 servers, 2,900 printers and other hardware." More than 19,000 state and county workers use the system at the department and at more than 429 sites around California.

But it's 16 years old and needs updating, officials say. Here is an overview of the proposed new system, which has an estimated price tag that ranks 7th on the state's list of IT projects:

Name: CWS New System
Agency: Health and Human Services Agency (Department of Social Services)
Estimated total Cost: $393 million
Estimated time frame: 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 (4.3 years)

What is it? A new data management system that will allow multiple agencies to submit information on child welfare case. It will also support mobile computing.

The official line:"The CDSS proposes to implement a fully automated and integrated web-based solution to replace CWS/CMS. The proposed CWS-NS solution provides an enterprise computing infrastructure using service oriented architecture and will optimize deployment of the counties' current and emerging business needs and will facilitate effective delivery of CWS services."

Report Status: No report cards available yet, since the project just started.

This is the fourth in a series of daily blog posts looking at California's 10 most-expensive state computer projects as ranked by the of Department of Technology.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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