CalFresh Learning Collaborative for Customer Service

Project Overview

In partnership with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), the County Welfare Directors Association of California, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Insight brought together California county agencies to form a Learning Collaborative to improve CalFresh administration and customer service. CalFresh (known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, nationally) is administered jointly by the State of California and its county agency partners. As a result, the business processes, online applications, and data systems that deliver CalFresh to customers may vary from one county to the next. With support from FNS and state food security partners, CDSS wanted to bring counties together on a shared vision for customer service and disseminate and accelerate the adoption of leading practices.

Insight designed a learning collaborative for CalFresh and provided facilitation, training, and technical assistance over the course of several months. Insight drew from proven improvement methods including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series Collaborative, the Model for Improvement, Plan-Do-Study-Act rapid cycle testing, and Lean Six Sigma. Nineteen counties managing the largest caseloads attended a 2-day in-person learning session supported by ongoing virtual facilitation and technical assistance.

Working with CDSS and FNS, counties engaged in peer-to-peer collaboration to increase their understanding and shared vision for CalFresh operations, exchange practical tools for implementing changes to their business processes, and develop scalable plans for improvement. Insight trained teams on data-driven process improvement methods and helped each county develop a “roadmap” to improvement. Counties accelerated their improvement by learning from one another’s experiences.

Specifically, Insight—

  • Designed a 19-county learning collaborative to develop and share improvements to SNAP business process and customer service
  • Provided direct technical assistance to help counties develop roadmaps to improve customer service and performance measures
  • Provided training in process improvement techniques (e.g., Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles)
  • Facilitated a 2-day in-person learning session and provided follow-on support via webinar and virtual meetings


Presentations, training agendas, in-person event, webinars, polls