State to pay $3.96M for DCS computer problems - WKRN News 2

State to pay $3.96M for DCS computer problems


Tennessee state officials are spending just under $4 million in computer system repairs for the Department of Children's Services.

The computer system, called the Tennessee Family and Child Tracking System, was installed two years ago. It is used to keep track of children in the agency's care.

According to The Tennessean, the system designed initially cost $27 million.  Repairs to fix the glitches will cost $3.96 million.

The system was recently blamed for a variety of problems including skipped payments to foster parents and the inability to find a particular child's history when a brand-new report of abuse or neglect is received.

The Tennessean reported over 1,700 defects were identified in the system, many of which placed the state in a path that violates a 12-year-old federal court order called "Brian A."

The case was put in place to monitor DCS after problems came to light in the state's foster care system.

Agency commissioner Kate O'Day said her agency is making significant progress in addressing the glitches in TFACTS, and she pointed out that problems arose several months before she took over the agency in 2010.

One department reported the recent number of glitches is down to just fewer than 500.

A previous report stated that DCS staff "disregarded obvious and known problems with the system" but decided to launch it anyway.  There were also reports that the state comptroller's office found missteps in the months after it was put into place.

The TFACTS system, created by a Massachusetts-based contractor called Dynamics Research, was implemented to hold official case records for each child and family in the DCS system.

They were hoping to move to a "family-centric" model for filing, rather than having a separate file for each child.

The glitches in the system have made it difficult to enter the information about children and it has provided contradictory information about children put in temporary or emergency placements for over 30 days.

According to The Tennessean, the agency isn't able to accurately report the number of cases each staff member is handling and a report points out the backlog of overdue investigations.

Children's Rights of New York, who originally filed the "Brian A" suit, says the state has fallen short of meeting requirements of the court case.

The state attorney general's office plans to determine whether Dynamics Research Corporation will be held liable for some of the costs to fix the glitches.

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