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Millions in Newsom’s Budget for Social Services IT

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed $291.5 billion state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year brings a small cut to the California Department of Social Services but would also fund several technology projects in various stages.

The state department charged with serving California’s most vulnerable residents would receive a slight cut from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2024-2025 fiscal year budget but would get funding for key technology projects.

Newsom’s $291.5 billion budget, which was released this month, would hand the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) a cut of a little more than half a percent, reducing it from $48.9 billion to $48.6 billion. (All numbers in this article are rounded.) Simultaneously, however, CDSS would be approved for 6,046 positions, an increase of 65 from 5,981 in FY 2023-24. The slight drop in proposed funding, of $278,177,000 in earnest money, would nevertheless come with millions of dollars for IT initiatives via budget change proposals (BCPs). (Industry Insider — California has also examined budgets for the California Department of Technology and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.) CDSS has submitted 11 BCPs for FY 2024-25, down from 25 in FY 2023-24, and funding that it would receive from Newsom’s budget includes:

  • $173.4 million for the Child Welfare Services — California Automated Response and Engagement System (CWS-CARES) project. That’s $88.1 million from the General Fund and $85.3 million from other funds. In a BCP, the CDSS and the California Health and Human Services Agency’s Office of Technology and Solutions Integration sought the funding for the continued design, development and implementation of CWS-CARES and CARES-Live. CARES-Live comprises several feature sets created in 2019 via custom development, including the Child Welfare History Snapshot, Facility Search, and Child and Adolescence Needs and Strengths Assessment. Goals for CWS-CARES include delivering a compliant child welfare information system that meets local needs and state and federal regulation and policy requirements, and extends functionalities.
  • $2 million from the General Fund for a security architecture compliance assessment. CDSS sought $2 million in a BCP to comply with new IT security zero-trust architecture and multifactor authentication standards in the Statewide Administrative Manual/Statewide Information Management Manual 5360, and from the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency. CDSS intends to use professional services to assess its current technology environment and workforce, with outcomes enabling it to understand the effort level needed for ultimate compliance. The funding, it said in the BCP, will begin compliance work and define the resources, technology and time needed to meet the emerging requirements.
  • $369,000 from other funds for Adult Protective Services Program planning and development of a data warehouse. In a BCP, CDSS sought limited-term federal fund authority of $369,000 in FY 2024-25 and $357,000 in FY 2025-26, including limited-term resources equivalent to two positions, to start planning and development for a data warehouse for the Adult Protective Services Program. Such a warehouse would enable compliance with state welfare and institutions code, as well as National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System data and reporting requirements — and consistent local reporting. Currently, counties report data monthly to CDSS, which lacks staffing resources, resulting in inconsistent and incomplete data submitted.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.