Computer Glitch Risk’s Children’s Safety

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The head of a union which represents caseworkers at Franklin County Children’s Services says a new computer system designed to help protect children has too many glitches. The Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System…or SACWIS…was first used in Franklin County in July. Its designed to provide a statewide data base to help protect abused and neglected children. But,executive director of the Professionals Guild of Ohio Chauncy Mason said in some cases electronic information is lost. In Henry County, Mason says caseworkers were unable to access the SACWIS system for nine days. In Franklin County, Children’s Services Director Eric Fenner says the SACWIS system is working better now. But, between September 24 and October 12th the new computer system was down 46 percent of the time. So, pencils and pads were used to keep track of thousands of cases. Fenner says while the state has brought in the vendor and some systems experts to troubleshoot the problem, he has received no explanation as to what caused the computer trouble. All 88 counties are scheduled to be converted to the new SACWIS system by the end of January 2009.

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