Human services officials: Statewide computer system putting kids at risk

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DENVER — Human services employees across Colorado have sounded the alarm on what they call flawed technology that’s putting vulnerable children at risk.

The concerns are with a system the State of Colorado uses to keep track of children who have been neglected or abused. The Governor’s Office of Information Technology manages the system. Officials at the agency said they are working to overhaul the essential system for child welfare workers.

“It’s certainly critical to make sure that case workers have the tools that they need,” said Julie Krow, El Paso County’s director of human services.

The issues, noticed early in the summer, center on what’s called “Colorado Trails.” Krow says the information system manages caseworker referrals for children and families in need of help. The system also records assessments and allows counties to share information statewide as needed.

But the program has been crashing, critics complain. There have been difficulties entering data and closing assessments— making life challenging for caseworkers in the field.

“We partner with [county caseworkers] to understand what their concerns are and prioritize their concerns,” said Herb Wilson with Governor’s Office of Information Technology.

Wilson says his team has been working to fix the glitches. Meanwhile, county directors of human services agencies have sent the state a letter demanding the problems be resolved.

“Caseworkers are doing their best and they are working to keep children safe despite the challenges with the system,” Krow explained.

So far, there’s been no report of a child being harmed because of the technical issues.

Officials say case workers are having to spend about hour longer on each case because of the glitches.

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