The Department of Children Services reports that 80 to 90% of system defects within its Tennessee Family and Child Tracking System have been resolved and the rest should be fixed by June 2013.
That is nearly three years after TFACTS was first implemented as DCS' main source for data and payments to foster families. The system is also supposed to manage payments to other contractors working with DCS.
The $27 million computer system has had several problems with tracking child information and issuing payments to families since its launch.
It is expected to cost around $4 million to get TFACTS operating at the level it was meant to when implemented.
That includes $600,000 to extend the contract of Compuware an outside computer contractor company making repairs to TFACTS.
Compuware also made repairs to a similar system in Ohio that TFACTS was based on for Tennessee.
The Fiscal Review Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly approved the contract extension through June 2013 on Monday.
"This system is not the same system with all the issues we had when we went live," Lee Gregory, Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Information Technology said.
He continue, "We have had 27 months now of releases and functionality with the system and they have come along really well."
Gregory was hired to lead the efforts to fix TFACTS. He said by the end of December all of the problems an audit by the Comptroller of the Treasury found will be resolved.
The Department is also addressing issues found by a separate internal audit of TFACTS. Those issues are also likely to be resolved by the end of the year.
The final fixes to the fiscal components should be complete by June 2013 then the department will focus on maintenance and enhancements to TFACTS.
"This is a very complex system," Gregory said. "We took 12 stand alone systems and combined them into one system."
Some enhancements will include improved search functions, allowing data from one screen to populate other screens to save time and eventually a mobile app that could allow caseworkers to enter information into TFACTS from the field on mobile devices like an iPad.
The ongoing issues with TFACTS have caused some to call for replacing the system and even DCS Commissioner Kate O'Day.
O'Day was not commissioner of DCS when TFACTS was implemented. She inherited the system and its problems when she took office.
But, Gregory said the money spent to fix TFACTS will be well worth it when the system is running the way it was meant to when the state purchased the system.