The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 7, 2013
California IT snapshot: Los Angeles County's welfare project

For years, California has determined who qualifies for public assistance via three separate computer systems that each cover about one-third of the state's population base. State officials plan within the next four years to upgrade the one that handles Los Angeles County cases.

Another 39 mostly rural counties that provide benefits via the C4Yourself system will eventually migrate to the new Los Angeles Eligibility, Automated Determination, Evaluation and Reporting System, leaving the state with just two programs for managing government aid eligibility. (The other system, CalWIN, services 18 counties, most of them along populous coastal regions as well as Fresno, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties.)

Government officials have said that the old Los Angeles system is inadequate. A 2011 letter from federal welfare authorities said it "runs on unsupported hardware and is expensive to maintain." Changes in federal health care law add another layer of complexity.

A look at the new system in the works:

Name: Los Angeles Eligibility, Automated Determination, Evaluation and Reporting Replacement System
Department: Health and Human Services Agency
Estimated total cost: $476 million
Amount spent to date: $14 million
Percent of project complete: 8 percent
Time frame: July 2005 - July 2017 (11.3 years)

What is it? An updated IT system for Los Angeles County to manage public assistance services, including CalWORKs, the CalFresh food program and others.

The official line: "The CDSS proposes to replace the existing Los Angeles Eligibility, Automated Determination, Evaluation and Reporting automated welfare system with newer technology. The new system will determine eligibility and benefits for a variety of public assistance programs for Los Angeles County."

Current red flags reported: None.

This is the eighth in a series of daily posts highlighting California's 10 most-expensive state computer projects as listed on the Department of Technology's website.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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