The Garden State's network of coordinated social, health and employment services, or One EASE E-Link, was named by Civic.com as one of the top 50 state and local IT projects for 2000. OEL won the 2001 Accenture and MIT Digital Government Award for State Government; that same year it was mentioned by the Harvard Policy Group of the John F. Kennedy School of Government as one of the best practices for implementing IT Initiatives.
Thirteen years from its pilot program and only six years from its aforementioned achievements, OEL no longer exists in the state of New Jersey.
What went wrong? New Jersey's abandonment of the program forces the question, "Why is true integration of social services using IT-based interoperability so elusive?" We cannot dismiss the importance of the technology issues; however, the problems that will "stop the show" will invariably be those that …