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Champion Award

AWARDS & RECOGNITION   |   2011 NASCIO State Technology Innovator Award

Previous Award Recipients

NASCIO created the State Technology Innovator Award to honor outstanding individuals who have made contributions to advance the state's technology policy agenda through the promotion of best practices, adoption of new technologies and advancements in service delivery. Through this award, NASCIO strives to acknowledge state leaders, managers and employees who promote innovation, excellence and good government. Nominees must be an employee, elected official, appointed official or other appointee representing state government.

2011 NASCIO State Technology Innovator Award Recipient:

Ruth Johnson
Department of Children and Family Services,
State of Louisiana

NASCIO is proud to recognize Ruth Johnson as the 2011 recipient of the State Technology Innovator Award.

Johnson was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal as secretary for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in June 2010. In this role, Johnson has led DCFS’ reorganization and modernization efforts, designed to streamline the agency, decrease DCFS’ overall footprint, and implement new technology and systems to provide DCFS clients with more efficient and effective services.

Johnson has overseen the decrease in DCFS’ overall footprint from 157 offices around the state to a projected 80 offices by the end of 2011. This has been accomplished by consolidating offices, modernizing services, and creating a community partner network, which has increased access to services for clients.

Under Johnson’s leadership, DCFS developed an electronic time and attendance process in 2010 called Tracking of Times Services, or TOTS, to manage the state’s child care assistance program. TOTS utilizes a finger imaging device, making Louisiana the first state in the nation to use a biometric finger scan, which measures physical characteristics of the parent’s finger and converts them into an identifying numeric code, to check the child into and out of care. With this new program, DCFS not only improved the safety of the children in the program and provided staff with more accurate, realtime data concerning a child’s attendance, but also resulted in a $1.5 million dollar per month savings, partly because of the reduction of fraud and more efficient and accurate payments to child care facilities.

Johnson also led several more innovative programs. In July 2011, DCFS launched a centralized intake system manned 24 hours per day by child welfare specialists to ensure more consistent screening and decision-making of child abuse and neglect reports statewide. That same month, DCFS launched a customer service center that eliminates the need for most clients to visit an office. Instead, they call a toll-free number and receive automatic information about benefits, or can speak to a customer service representative.

In December 2011, DCFS will pilot a fully integrated, common-access front end, known as CAFÉ, designed to integrate business case management functionality across DCFS programs. CAFÉ will roll out statewide in early 2012. CAFÉ will provide web-based access for DCFS staff, customers, service providers and stakeholders via web portals and bring DCFS’ disparate legacy systems under one umbrella.


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