WBIR has this report from the Tennessean regarding problems with the DCS computer system. The state is spending nearly $4 million to fix hundreds of problems in a system built in 2007 at a cost of $27 million. According to the article, the system can't even produce caseload reports. That seems pretty basic. More troubling is the fact that caseworker searches fail to turn up past history of family abuse.
My first thought was that $27 million sounds like an awful lot for what should be a pretty straightforward system. But looking further, the requirements can be fairly complex when you consider all the functionality such as intake, case management, foster home placement and payments, court records and reports, federal compliance, etc. etc., and that all of it needs to be linked together by family and household for caseworkers and administrators to have a complete picture.
In fact, California is looking to spend up to $1 billion to replace a system built in the 90's on a mainframe CICS/DB2/COBOL architecture that was obsolete when the project started.
One of Tennessee's problems may have been selecting a defense contractor to build the system. According to a company fact sheet, they appear to be phasing out their state and local government support business to concentrate on their core defense and homeland security business. State and local government support is no longer mentioned on their website (which, ironically, was down earlier this morning) as an industry they serve.
You wonder if any of the people who worked on TFACTS are still there, or were even qualified when they were. The company's financials don't look very good either, so the state probably shouldn't expect much in the way of financial recovery.
You also have to wonder why Bredesen signed off on this, given that he made his fortune in the software business and presumably knows something about it. Further, the system requirements would seem fairly consistent from state to state, particularly with regard to federal compliance, so it's a little puzzling why there isn't a standard off-the-shelf solution that can be tailored for unique state requirements instead of states spending hundreds of millions on custom solutions.
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