Building a Child Welfare Services System That Works for Children and Youth in Foster Care


Yesterday, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) reported out to stakeholders and the legislature about the progress made on the State’s new child welfare case management system (the “new system”) project. What is notable, from our children’s advocate perspective, is the State’s effort to design this new system in a manner that uses technology to transform care coordination for children and youth in foster care. To make the most of this moment, The Children’s Partnership wants to hear from you.

This major child welfare tech upgrade offers a tremendous opportunity to improve cross-sector communication and team planning to support children and youth in foster care. Unlike the current child welfare IT system, which is available only to child welfare staff, the new system will connect with and across members of the broader care team, like health providers, education rights holders, and foster youth themselves. If done right, the end product will be a system that directly supports those who have the most at stake—children and youth in foster care. To do this, the State has opened a call for stakeholders to submit “user stories” that lay out the data elements the improved system should capture, how it should handle such data, and explanations of why these changes are necessary. These stories will assist the people developing the data system to better meet the needs of the users.

The Children’s Partnership has been working with a broad set of stakeholders to develop extensive recommendations as to how this “connected” system can make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth in foster care. In response to the new opportunity to provide input through user stories, we will be working with stakeholders to translate these recommendations into user stories that can support the State in its design process and ensure it best responds to the needs of children and youth in foster care and their families.

To help craft a user story for submission to CDSS, contact Beth Morrow, Director of Health IT Initiatives.

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