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CalSAWS & the Advocates Group

What was the SAWS Migration?

SAWS stands for the Statewide Automated Welfare System. For many decades, California counties have used one of three different technology software systems for eligibility determination and benefits calculation, CalWIN, C-IV, and LRS. The new SAWS systems include a number of ancillary services, such as document imaging, online public portals, and contact center software that connect with each county’s SAWS system. Find out more at the CalSAWS Project website.

California counties worked in partnership with State Health and Human Services departments and the federal government to consolidate the existing three consortia systems and functionality into one single system: California Statewide Automated Welfare System (CalSAWS). This consolidation heavily leveraged existing investments in technology rather than building a new system. (Per the SAWS Stakeholder Engagement landing page.) As of October 31, 2023, all 58 counties are using CalSAWS and the public-facing BenefitsCal website.

More information is available in this blog post from our partner, Western Center on Law and Poverty.

Our Priorities

The Advocates group established our initial priorities in 2018, focusing on consumer needs and the role of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) as benefits assisters in the social services ecosystem. 

Over time, our priorities have remained focused on the needs of consumers and CBO assisters. One of the main focus areas has been the development and ongoing implementation of the public-facing website, BenefitsCal, which serves as the primary portal for consumer and CBO engagement. Priorities in this area have centered around equity for historically marginalized groups in the development of technology, reducing the burden for clients to submit information.

About Us:

Mission Statement: We are advocates and entities who envision a CalSAWS development and implementation that (1) maximizes ease of use for program applicants and beneficiaries, community-based organizations, and eligibility workers, (2) protects consumer rights; and (3) promotes continuous program improvement.

The California Association of Food Banks co-leads the CalSAWS Advocates Group, which meets regularly to develop recommendations and strategies for the various forums that support advocate engagement in SAWS implementation, including:

Learn More:

Every County in California has migrated to BenefitsCal

Learn more here.

*Looking Ahead

Resources for Advocates

Check out these resources below for more information on BenefitsCal and CalSAWS

Get Involved in CalSAWS Advocacy

Find out how you can help advocate.

Request to be added to the Advocates Group, User-Centered Design Sessions, and to be added to the CalSAWS Stakeholder Group (hosted quarterly by CDSS).

Are you interested in joining the speaker’s bureau to provide public comment on your experience as a CBO using BenefitsCal at a CalSAWS meeting? Email  Jennifer@JennTracy.com for more information.

Subscribe to CalSAWS project updates, including updates about BenefitsCal. 

Advocacy Accomplishments

Our advocacy efforts have led to improvements for CBOs and clients alike.






Advocate and Community-Based Participating Organizations organizations

Thank you to all organizations who participate!

Alameda County Community Food Bank


All Home

AltaMed Health Services

Arroyo Vista Family Health Center

Asian Pacific Healthcare Venture

Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement

Bartz Altadonna Community Health Center

Bay Area Legal Aid

California Association of Food Banks

California Budget and Policy Center

Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno

Catholic Charities of California

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton

Catholic Charities Orange County

Catholic Charities Yolo Solano

Catholic Charities, Dioces of San Diego

Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organization

Center for Healthy Communities

Center for Human Services

Central California Food Bank

Centro La Familia


Chinatown Service Center

Children’s Clinic Family Health

Clarity Solutions Group

Code for America

CommonSpirit Health

Communities Actively Living Independent and Free

Community Bridges

Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC)

Community Health Alliance of Pasadena

Community Health Councils, Inc

Community Services Unlimited

Community Resources for Independent Living

CSU Chico Center for Healthy Communities

Disability Rights California

East Valley Community Health Center

East Bay Agency for Children

Emanate Health

Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles

Feeding San Diego

Food Literacy Center

Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

GRACE/End Child Poverty

Health Law

Help Me Help You

Hunger Action Los Angeles

Imperial Valley Food Bank

Independent Living Center of Southern California

JWCH (John Wesley Community Health) Institute

Justice in Aging

Kheir Clinic

Los Angeles LGBT Center

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Los Angeles Unified School District

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Legal Services of Northern California

Maternal and Child Health Access

Mexican American Opportunity Foundation

National Health Foundation (NHF)

Northeast Valley Health Corporation

Nourish California

Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles

Placer Food Bank

Providence little company of Mary

Queenscare Health Centers

Redwood Coast Medical Services Healthcare

Redwood Empire Food Bank

River City Food bank

Rolling Start INC

Sacramento Covered

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

San Diego Food Bank

San Diego Hunger Coalition

211 San Diego

San Francisco Marin Food Bank

Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center

St. John’s Community Health

Saban Community Clinic Los Angeles

UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center

UC Irvine Basic Needs Center

Venice Family Clinic

Watts Healthcare Corporation

Western Center on Law and Poverty

Worksite Wellness LA

Yolo County Children’s Alliance

Contact gabriela.davidson@cafoodbanks.org  if you have any questions.

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