Shared information is imperative to any successful organization, especially one charged with making decisions based on data related to at-risk children and families.

Florida recently built upon this adage by launching its Children and Youth Cabinet Information Sharing System (CYCISS) -- an initiative involving eight state agencies that will bridge communication gaps and decrease time delays in delivering social services to some of the state's most vulnerable residents.

"In government, we do so many great things, but to some extent we do them in our own silos and in a reactive way -- so what if we could get ahead of it?" said Florida Department of Children and Families CIO Ramin Kouzehkanani. "To share intelligence and data is a cultural change for the state -- it's a new way of thinking -- and the technology will be the enabler to that new way of thinking."

Florida Judicial Inquiry System Used as Model

Piggybacking on the success of Florida's Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA), Judicial Inquiry System (JIS) -- another multiagency data sharing system that's been operating the past seven years through a partnership with Metatomix, a provider of enterprise resource solutions -- the CYCISS is modeled after the same technology platform that shares information between involved agencies, Kouzehkanani said.

Using a browser-based system written in Java, connections to agencies' data sources will be nonintrusive, said Florida Supreme Court Information Systems Services Manager Christina Blakeslee. Connections will be made via Web service, XML schema or JBX Connector, depending on the agency's requested mode.

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Karen Wilkinson  | 

Karen is a former staff writer for Government Technology magazine.