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County Innovates Technology Solution to Benefit Clients of Safety-Net Programs

Two County departments collaborated to create a process for obtaining county-specific data from a new statewide computer system that supports case management for safety-net programs such as Medi-Cal

SANTA CLARA COUNTY – Last year, the state of California established a new case-management system for county-administered welfare programs. 

The California Statewide Automated Welfare System, or CalSAWS, moved all 58 counties onto a statewide computer system that supports eligibility and benefits determination for programs such as Medi-Cal, CalWORKS, CalFresh, General Assistance, Foster Care, and Refugee Cash Assistance.   

But the transition presented a problem: CalSAWS did not have the capability of its predecessor, known as CalWIN, to allow counties to rapidly access county-specific data. The County of Santa Clara Social Services Agency (SSA) relies on this curated data to efficiently deliver safety-net programs and services to nearly half a million residents.

So, the agency collaborated with the County Technology Services and Solutions Department and CalSAWS to develop scripts that allow SSA to pull county-specific data quickly from the massive CalSAWS database. (The process takes between 45 minutes and four hours, depending on the type of update the County is performing.)

The County then uploads this information to its own database, which is used to create reports for County-administered safety-net programs as well as “ancillary applications” such as employment services that rely on CalSAWS data.

The new scripts enable SSA to continue producing the same quality and quantity of reports that it did before the implementation of CalSAWS. These reports allow the agency to analyze relevant data and ensure that it’s effectively delivering vital programs and services. 

Angela Shing, director of the County Department of Employment & Benefit Services, said she is grateful for and proud of the cross-departmental team that created the scripts, a method that has since been adopted by other counties. 

“The County of Santa Clara is always so innovative in figuring out how to reach goals,” said Shing, “even when there is no clear path forward.” 

For more information about the SSA, visit the agency’s website. To learn more about CalSAWS, go to