2021 Conference Presentations


2021 CWDA Hybrid Conference

This year, CWDA welcomed over 1,400 attendees to our first ever hybrid conference in October. We had phenomenal keynote speakers who are noted below and a wide-array of fantastic breakout sessions.

Below are PDF versions of breakout presentations from those presenters who shared visual presentations with CWDA. 

Keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Manuel Pastor – USC Equity Research Institute Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity

  •  George Takei – Key Speakers Actor, Social Justice Activist, Social Media Mega-Power
  • Dr. Terri Givens – Professor of Political Science and the Founder of Brighter Higher Education

  • Kate Washington – Author of Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America

Below are the breakout session presentations:


CalAIM – Innovation in Medi-Cal

Beginning on January 1, 2022, the Department of Health Care Services will begin implementing the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal CalAIM initiative to better coordinate between and integrate the Medi-Cal delivery, program, and payment systems to improve beneficiary health outcomes for all Californians. Join this panel of nationally recognized experts as they provide an overview of the CalAIM initiative, discuss in greater detail specific CalAIM proposals that will impact counties, and what counties can do to prepare for the implementation of the CalAIM proposals.


Examining and Enhancing Services for Expectant and Parenting Foster Youth

  • Anna Johnson – John Burton Advocates for Youth Senior Project Manager, Housing & Health


Supporting Families Experiencing Homelessness Across County Programs and Agencies

Aligning housing assistance and services with county programs has become a game-changer for responding to the array of needs impacting families experiencing homelessness. Expansions in federal and state support for both housing and services offer opportunities to drive positive changes in counties, and the lives of children and families. Creating a more streamlined, equitable, and accessible county human services array is more critical than ever to strengthen families’ well-being.


The CA Master Plan for Aging: What it Means for Your Community

Panelists will provide an introduction to California’s Master Plan for Aging. Audience members will learn why the governor called for the creation of such a plan; how aging is changing the state, and thus should be considered when making policy, program, and service delivery decisions; and how the MPA can be a model for local planning to ensure that every community is a community for people of all ages. Presenters will focus on housing and its intersection with health; ensuring equity in aging; and affording aging, including preventing older adult homelessness.


The Thin Side of the Coin: Finding Common Ground Between Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Methodology & Data and Agency Culture

In such a vast, diverse, and populous state as California, it can only be expected that counties vary in their efforts to create and sustain CQI systems. Counties both large and small have differences in CQI methods, oftentimes struggling to effectively integrate qualitative and quantitative data points to inform and drive sustainable change. By relying too heavily on quantitative measures, counties may run the risk of creating a compliance-driven culture.


Answering the Call: Providing Exemplary Customer Service to IHSS Customers Remotely

rced to change their business model of in-person interactions in the space of a week given the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation will focus on the call center, online, telework, and technological innovations Riverside County Adult Services Division deployed since March of 2020 to maintain its goal of exemplary customer service.


CalWORKs: Building Equity, Supporting Families & Focusing on Continuous Quality Improvement

  • Kristina Meza – California Department of Social Services Chief, CalWORKs and Family Resilience Branch

  • Cathy Senderling-McDonald – County Welfare Directors Association of California Executive Director


Health Care Changes in California Moving Forward

Interested in learning more about the new policy changes to Medi-Cal, and what it will mean for you and your county? This session offers the opportunity to learn about the policy changes from the state, county, and advocate perspectives, including what counties can do to prepare and the resources available to support your county for implementation of the policy changes.

  • Sandie Williams – California Department of Health Care Services Medi-Cal Eligibility Division Chief


Home Sharing Programs During The Pandemic

Affordable housing solutions that are both responsive and innovative for our aging population are more important than ever. In this session, three Northern California Home Share programs discuss key ways in which the home-sharing model promotes equitable communities in challenging housing markets and times of widespread change and natural disasters.

  • Amy Appleton – SHARE Sonoma County Founder and Executive Director

  • Laura Fanucchi – San Mateo HIP Housing Director of Programs


Improving Systems-Response to Commercial Sexual Exploitation among Children/Youth: An Examination of Identification Strategies and County Service Provision

California and Federal policy require child welfare agencies to identify youth who are at-risk of or experiencing commercial sexual exploitation. Since 2014, California has funded counties that opt into the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, CSEC Program in Child Welfare, and the Department of Social Services provides guidance on effective services. This panel will summarize national recommendations and evidence-informed identification, prevention, and intervention strategies, followed by a summary of the SB 855 evaluation plan and preliminary findings.


CalSAWS Update

This session will provide details and a retrospective on the 39 County Go Live to CalSAWS and a look forward to the activities planned for the CalWIN Counties.

  • June Hutchison – San Bernardino County CalSAWS CalSAWS Customer Engagement Director
  • Mary Sabillo – CalSAWS Consortium CalSAWS CalWIN Training, Change Management and Implementation Support Manager

  • Cindy Uetz – Kern County Department of Human Services Chief Deputy Director


Fiscal Essentials 101

Fiscal Essentials 101 is back and will allow you to learn the essentials of human services financing. Fiscal Essentials 101 will provide a high-level overview on 1991 and 2011 realignments, as well as some insights to budgeting and funding implications for human services programs.

  • Monica Bentley – Riverside County -Department of Social Services Assistant Director of Finance

  • Roberto Manchia – San Mateo County – Human Services Agency Chief Financial Officer


Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness

Homelessness among older adults is expected to continue to grow sharply in California and the nation over the coming years. How should localities respond? This workshop will provide an overview of the research on older adults experiencing homelessness. Emerging lessons from the Adult Protective Services Pilot, Home Safe, designed to prevent homelessness among vulnerable adults, will be shared. Programmatic adaptations and service connections to support older adults in homeless programs, including emergency shelters, Project Room Key, and Project Homekey, will also be examined.


Racism in Public Benefits Programs

This presentation elevates the history of racism in cash assistance, explains how that racism is embedded in TANF and other programs and outlines ways to move programs in an antiracist direction.

  • Aditi Shrivastava – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Senior Policy Analyst, Family Income Support

  • Parker Gilkesson – Center on Law and Social Policy Policy Analyst, Income and Work Supports


Systems of Care: Connecting Child Welfare Services and Schools

Children and youth involved with the child welfare system are also served by their local school districts. The intersection of these two systems is a critical space in determining successful outcomes for the children and youth that both systems serve. However, services and programs available to serve these children and youth vary significantly from county to county and the Local Educational Agency. Join policy experts for a discussion on the successes and challenges of where these systems meet, and how these systems can work together to serve children and youth.


An Agency Roadmap for Integration

By reviewing the project drivers, organizational assessment process, learning, and changes made to HSS structure, culture, and work practices, we will share the progress made towards integrated service delivery by Solano County Health and Social Services.

  • Gerald Huber – Solano County Health and Social Services Director

  • Marla Stuart – Solano County Health & Social Services Deputy Director Employment & Eligibility


Attaining New Heights in Disaster Response and Service Delivery – Ventura County Human Services Agency / American Red Cross

  • Jeffrey Garcia – Ventura County Human Services Agency Disaster Response & Recovery Manager

  • Scott O’Connell – American Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer

  • Michele Guzman – Ventura County Human Services Agency Government Relations Manager

  • Steven Karnazes – Ventura County Human Services Agency Disaster Response & Recovery Officer


Fiscal Essentials 102

Fiscal Essentials 102 will provide you with a high-level understanding of how costs are charged to Social Services programs in the state claiming process, how time studies drive the allocation of costs, and why it is critical to have a global view of resources and funding. In addition, some discussion on the role of a program manager in fiscal issues and how to plan for your programs.

  • Monica Bentley – Riverside County -Department of Social Services Assistant Director of Finance


Healing and Housing Through the San Joaquin County WORKs Programs

To provide strategies on how to utilize multiple funding streams in order to offer wraparound services to CalWORKs families. This presentation will provide insight on how San Joaquin County provides a variety of services to families utilizing the CalWORKs Home Visiting Program, the CalWORKs Housing Support Program, Family Stabilization, and CalWORKs Mental Health and Substance Abuse funding in order to remove barriers that prevent families from achieving self-sufficiency.


How Do We Get to Yes? A Story of Partnership, Creativity, and Hope

The hope is that our story of a “complex care” youth can be used as a concrete example of how partnership, urgency, flexibility, and creativity came together to make the seemingly impossible, possible. This presentation uses a case study as the center of the discussion and supports the need for continued expedited transition services for our hard-to-place youth, as the case study youth was not an out-of-state youth at the time the case was referred to Seneca for additional supports and services.