Oracle Plays the Child Welfare Market

Oracle Corp., with recent contract awards in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia, now holds a commanding lead in the market for Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) projects, which incorporate data warehousing, financial software and World Wide Web-enabled client/server applications.The SACWIS market has been an active one for Oracle. "Oracle has captured child welfare contracts in 21 states, so we are really beginning to dominate that market," said Connie Brines, senior manager of the company's social services market group.

The source of some of the data elements contained in SACWIS systems is heart-wrenching. For example, some systems now include digital cameras to document cuts, bruises or burns on young children. State case workers not only must document abuse but make quick decisions about placing children in foster care settings or suspending parents' state benefits.

SACWIS systems also must feed information to federal reporting programs such as the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. Additionally, some SACWIS systems now interface with other human services automation efforts in areas such as welfare benefits processing, job training or child care.

State SACWIS solutions vary throughout the nation and among Oracle's three new clients. For example, Michigan is rehosting a legacy child welfare system using the Oracle8 database server, Oracle Parallel Server and Oracle Transparent Gateway to build a new system-the Services Worker Support System. SWSS will enable statewide tracking for foster care, adoption and delinquency programs as well as county-by-county comparisons.

Ohio also is using Oracle database server products to modify capabilities in an existing system used for data entry and collection information. But because Ohio's legacy system is neither SACWIS- nor Year 2000-compliant, the state will soon go out for bid on a new solution.

Virginia, however, will use Oracle products to tailor a solution originally designed by Oklahoma. "Oklahoma is a system that relies heavily on Oracle products," Brines said. "It was one of the earliest systems out there, and a number of states have chosen to use the Oklahoma model." Specifically, Virginia will use Oracle server products along with the company's Public Sector Financials and Workflow applications to build its SACWIS solution, which focuses on payment tracking.

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