Bill description: Department of Health and Welfare, family and community services, Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation
There are two key concerns with this budget that are very problematic. The governor recommended $10.7 million for the final phase of the child welfare IT system project, half from the general fund and the other half from federal funds.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee adopted a motion to transfer half that amount, just over $5 million, from the general fund to the Technology Infrastructure Stabilization Fund. This is a budget gimmick that allows JFAC to claim a smaller general fund increase then is shown in the governor’s recommendation. The implication is that the JFAC increase is less than the governor’s general fund increase. However, the overall increase is the same.
The other overarching issue is the return on investment for the $30 million IT project, which certainly is not clear from the following description on page 2-18 of the FY21 LBB: “Child Welfare requests $10,696,000 in one-time operating expenditures for continued contract work to refine business processes for social workers and to transition from the current internally managed case management system (iCare) to a new software as a service based-system, Microsoft Dynamics. For FY 2021, the third and final year of the $30,000,000 project, the program plans to have the remaining three phases completed with the integrator (Deloitte) and the system at full functionality. The requested funds will be paid out to various contractors as follows: $7,698,000 for Deloitte, technical integrator; $2,589,300 for contracted staff; $197,100 for Change in Innovation Agency (C!A), business designer; and $211,600 for other services such as training and ancillary needs for the system and staff.”
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.