The federal government has frozen payments to Texas’ problem-plagued bid to upgrade its child-support data system, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office disclosed Friday.The cost is many millions of dollars:
In a letter to Legislative Budget Board director Ursula Parks, a top Paxton aide said the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement has halted payments for tech giant Accenture’s part of the data project, known as “T2.”
Federal officials want more information about a proposed new work schedule and a “corrective action plan” that would explain “the root causes of delays on this program and how they will be addressed moving forward,” said Mara F. Friesen, Texas’ deputy attorney general for child support. ...
The federal government pays two-thirds of the costs of the upgrade,
By 2012, agency officials realized that the project's costs were far higher than expected, and concerns were growing about Accenture's handling of its share of the work. By this summer, the project's price tag had grown by more than $70 million. The current estimate for the project is $310 million, more than $100 million above the initial $202 million budget, according to the attorney general's office. ...Wow, I had no idea this was such a big operation. Texas has criminals, illegal aliens, drug dealers, and all sorts of problems for prosecutors, and they are spending most of their money on child support enforcement?!
More than half of the attorney general’s budget goes to child support enforcement. For years, the agency has prided itself on being the national leader in child support collections.
Millions of parents and thousands of state employees rely on the office’s computer system to handle the complicated and often delicate aspects of managing child support cases, including locating parents, collecting payments and distributing funds to custodial parents. But the technology rests on a rickety, 20-year-old framework that becomes more unwieldy with every passing year. Agency officials say the system is slow, convoluted and difficult when it comes to training new employees.
The legal evils of child support are detailed in Real World Divorce, a draft book that is freely online.