Social Services Workers 'Fed Up' With N.Y. Network

The steady stream of stories about computer projects gone bad continues.

The latest story of a computer system not meeting expectations comes from New York. Social service case workers there are "fed up" with a state network that was supposed to make filing regular case-work reports easier and give case workers more time to spend in the field, according to an article in the Times Herald-Record, a newspaper covering the Orange County New York area north of New York City.

The system, launched in 1996 under then-Gov. George Pataki by the state's Office of Children and Family Services, is still being worked on and case workers' complain that the amount of time they spend at their desks filing reports has more than tripled compared with the "pen-and-paper days," according to the newspaper. An excerpt from the article:

The pent-up frustration is almost palpable as a group of case workers and supervisors at the Orange County Department of Social Services let loose on the computer network that has confounded them for so long. They say it's slow, confusing, difficult to learn, difficult to edit and unable to perform functions most computer users take for granted, like copying and pasting blocks of text.

The cost of the system has increased from $113.6 million to $389.3 million -- with more work scheduled to be completed by next year, the paper reports.