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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | Countywide

D.A. Unit to Switch Computer Systems

April 08, 1998|MIGUEL BUSTILLO

Ventura County's child support enforcement division will soon abandon an error-prone state computer system in favor of a more efficient alternative developed by Kern County.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan by the district attorney's office to spend some excess money to get the computer system known as KIDZ under way in Ventura County.

The KIDZ system is expected to cost about $2 million to implement in the county, with most of the money coming from state and federal funds and $480,000 in excess cash sitting in a county child-support fund. Only $16,707 would come from the county's general fund if the state and federal funding is approved.

State officials pulled the plug in November on the Statewide Automated Child Support System developed and implemented by Lockheed. Initially projected to cost $99 million, it wound up costing three times that amount, and was found to have more than 2,000 glitches.

Even before the state's action, Bradbury had announced his child support division would abandon the faulty system despite a federal law requiring all counties to tie in with an integrated computer system. Employees were frustrated over missing records, and child support recipients were angry over computer errors that resulted in wrong payments.

The county must have a computer tracking system in place by October to meet federal welfare-reform requirements, so it must get the new system up and running quickly.

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