California Pulls Plug on Project to Link Welfare Networks

California recently terminated its Statewide Automated Welfare System-Technical Architecture (SAWS-TA) project after funds for the project ran out, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The system would have allowed welfare offices in different counties within the state to communicate with one another. Now California must begin to put together a new network to deal with the demands of its sizable welfare system.

Funds for the project ran out in December 1998, and former Gov. Pete Wilson refused to commit any more money to it, leading Gov. Gray Davis to terminate the $18 million project earlier this year, according to the Times.

A spokesman for the California Department of Information Technology (DOIT) last week said all new IT projects, including the SAWS-TA project, have been suspended by Davis pending completion of the state's Year 2000 efforts.

"The Gray Davis administration inherited some programs that were, quite frankly, not where we wanted them to be," said Oscar Gonzales, California DOIT spokesman. The department will "revisit the situation" regarding the welfare network system after Year 2000 issues are resolved, and "inventory is still being taken" with respect to the terminated project, Gonzales said.

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