“Follow-The-Process” Thanos Vanquished in First CA DCSS Hackathon

By: Danielle Cenedella, CA DCSS

The California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS) held a demonstration day for its first ever “Hackathon” on Friday, November 9th to highlight all of the successes delivered during the two-week event. The teams, led by a fearless group of Executive Ambassadors based on Marvel characters, were charged with completing 13 challenges in an effort to defeat the villain “Follow-the-Process” Thanos, played by CA DCSS Director David Kilgore.

In just two short workweeks (10 days!) the teams, which consisted of CA DCSS and local child support agency (LCSA) employees who volunteered for these challenges, worked together to fulfill a range of Requests for Change (RFCs) and other initiatives in the CA DCSS project portfolio covering everything from a new look and feel to the CSE home page with personalized notifications and automatic updates, to a new arrears payoff calculator in both English and Spanish that will be available on both the public website and the child support mobile app.

All of the volunteers had signed up to complete 13 challenges overall, but two teams captured their designated “infinity stone” early and took on additional challenges. By the end of the Hackathon, the teams had successfully completed 15 challenges, with some completed challenges expected to save the Child Support Program more than $1 million dollars.

At Hackathon Demo Day, all the teams presented their completed solutions, demonstrating the improvements made to enhance California’s Child Support Program and the systems we support, such as the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) case management system, and how they will impact business at the day-to-day level.

New formsets and automatic functions were created for worker’s compensations collections which will now take hours instead of days to complete for the LCSAs. Five new e-Communications will be made available to participants through Customer Connect and the mobile app, which could deliver a potential cost savings of over $1 million for the department. There will also be a new streamlined process for adding large banks to the FAST Levy program which will also garner significant reductions in costs and processing time.

Other successfully completed challenges made improvements to a variety of current processes that affect how data is received and processed such as participant vehicle information, electronic payment card data, expired driver’s licenses, and financial institution information. One change allows CSE users to more easily assign tasks to the correct caseworkers and another greatly improves the way personal information in CSE is blocked from employees with a conflict of interest. Some of these RFCs had been on the books for years, at least one was from 2011!

These new, exciting changes and improvements will go out in the December 2018 IT release.

All of the Executive Ambassadors extend a “Marvel”-ous thank you to everyone who dedicated their expertise, their creativity, and two weeks of their time to solving these backlogged challenges. The results have been nothing less than spectacular.

“I’ve never enjoyed being defeated so many times,” said “Follow-the-Process” Thanos (aka, CA DCSS Director David Kilgore).

Stay tuned for Hackathon II…