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Budget Trailer Bill Details Human Services Projects

It isn’t a precise accounting of exactly when and where the state’s monies will be spent, but the new bill is one of several that document how and where California’s human services spend may connect to technology and innovation during this fiscal year.

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State lawmakers passed several vital bills recently as they approved the new state budget, and these offer valuable perspective on the state’s tech and innovation spend in the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year.

These so-called “budget trailer bills” don’t activate the complete FY 2022-2023 budget but rather focus on particular areas of potential or likely spend. The current budget year began July 1; you can find examples of Industry Insider — California’s previous such coverage here, here and here. (In a recent Virtual Briefing on the New State Budget, Industry Insider — California broke down key elements of the approved budget. The briefing can be seen here and the slides are here.) One such piece of legislation, state Senate Bill 187 from state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, details several initiatives of potential value to IT vendors. Among the takeaways:

  • The bill establishes, starting July 1, the Office of Response and Resilience in the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) to “provide policy, fiscal and operational organization, coordination and management” when departments in CHHS are preparing for, mitigating or helping locals respond to an emergency. The legislation requires the new office to “maintain and update an All Hazards Dashboard to identify the impacts of emergency and hazardous events and provide key data necessary to support agency response operation.” SB 178 authorizes the office to “enter into contracts for the purposes of implementing these provisions”; and by June 30, 2024, exempts those contracts from “certain laws relating to public contracts and from the review or approval of the Department of General Services.”
  • The bill requires the California Department of Social Services (DSS), by Jan. 1, to “publish certain data specific to students’ receipt of CalFresh benefits on the department’s existing CalFresh Data Dashboard.” The goal here is to help monitor information about the access to CalFresh that college students have. The bill would require DSS to “update the dashboard over time as additional data become available about this population.”
  • The bill authorizes DSS to “contract with a third-party vendor for the purpose of developing a benefits counseling tool or informational materials for use by grantees to assist in meeting” requirements around the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program.
  • The bill amends portions of state Welfare and Institutions Code, some of which pertain to the Child Welfare Services Case Management System (CWS/CMS), and the intention of its development and implementation to minimize barriers to effective service provision “by applying current technology to the systems that support the provision and management of child welfare services.” It specifies the Legislature’s intent is that the system provide child welfare services workers with “immediate access to child- and family-specific information”; provide child welfare services agencies with “a common database and definition of information from which to evaluate the child welfare services programs”; consolidate the collection and reporting of information for programs around child welfare services; and use the child welfare services functionality “defined in current and planned automated systems as the foundation for the development of the technical requirements for the Child Welfare Services Case Management System.”
  • The bill indicates the Legislature’s intent is that the CWS/CMS should “provide the required comprehensive and detailed individual county data needed by the department to implement and monitor the performance standards system”; and that counties should fully use its functionality.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.