STATE OF WISCONSIN
Greetings and Happy New Year. As you may know, what was once a county initiative with four (4) counties taking the lead for Wisconsin is now a full state/county partnership with nine (9) pilot counties. Our work together on SACWIS will bring the benefits of Information Technology to the practice of Child Welfare in Wisconsin. Developments and challenges have occurred. We wanted to send you this memo to update you on our case management automation project for Child Welfare. Dennis Kirchoff, SACWIS Project Director, in his swing through the state last summer and fall, demonstrated a system we had hoped to transfer to Wisconsin from another state. His purpose was to demonstrate the usefulness of automation and to give as many of you as possible a chance to experience the benefits of such a system. With pilot county input, we selected the vendor who developed the prototype system Dennis was demonstrating to do similar work in Wisconsin.
Prior to Christmas, we decided that it was in the best interest of both parties and mutually convenient to terminate the contract with that vendor. It became clear to us that continuation with that vendor would not get us the quality results we must have in a reasonable period. As you may know, the development of automated systems or applications rarely occurs on schedule due to a number of factors, some technical, some programmatic. Please know that the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) continues its strong commitment to deliver a quality automated information system to Wisconsin's child welfare workers and managers.
Our status to date is that we have a nearly complete design that was developed with input from our pilot county partners. We will now take the work we have to date and, with the assistance of the pilot counties, either adapt another state system and modify it to meet our needs or continue development with state and contracted staff.
In an effort to move forward with prudent speed, we intend to review and analyze several deployed SACWIS complaint systems against explicit criteria at both the program and technical level. DHFS recently identified that West Virginia (WV) has a system deployed that supports practice standards similar to Wisconsin. We will work closely with the Administration of Children and Families of the federal government, and pilot counties, as we evaluate the WV system and other potential transfer systems. Statewide rollout issues will be considered in this context. We need to remind ourselves that automated systems application development is not an exact science and timetables need to be flexible.
Irrespective of current barriers, Wisconsin and its county partners, intend to implement a statewide system to support the important work of adoption, foster care, permanency for children and the general practice of child protection.
We will continue to update you during this deliberate and responsible process. A three page summary detailing the functions the systems will perform, the general timeline for rollout, and recommended compatible software and hardware, is attached for your convenience.