Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Colorado daycare website was offline for months

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The Associated Press Updated: February 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm

DENVER — Colorado technology officials say they have fixed problems that kept a state daycare inspection website offline for months and sent error messages to about 15,000 people who tried to access information.

The officials said a state-contracted computer programming company tried unsuccessfully to fix the problem for four months, KUSA-TV reported Friday.

The company, Colorado Interactive, has a contract worth $2.5 million a year to design and maintain www.Colorado.gov, the statewide government Internet portal. The Child Care Facility Search is one of 400 applications maintained by the company.

"Recoding and rewriting the application is something that just takes time," said John Conley, executive director of the State Internet Portal Authority.

The Child Care Facility Search is used to locate child care providers with links to their state inspection history, allowing people to assess the safety of daycare centers.

The website went down in September and was restored Jan. 14.

Programmers found the webpage was using an antiquated version of the Google Maps application, even though Google had provided months of warning that the old version would stop functioning last September.

A Colorado Interactive manager acknowledged his staff should have seen the crash coming, the station reported.

"That was a hole in our process and that process has been fixed," said Fred Sargeson.

Programmers were able to put the Child Care Facility Search back online in October, but then it failed again and remained offline until Jan. 14.

Sargeson blamed complications in linking the new version of Google Maps with the state's existing child care facility database.

"We just worked on it as quickly as we could to get the service up and running as fast as possible," he said.

Erin Solis said she checked the website every day for more than a week when she was trying to find a safe, new daycare facility for her son.

"The first time I went on it, it just said the website was down," said Solis. "So I went to another page which brought me back to the same original page that said it was under construction. It's frustrating."

Solis called the Department of Human Services, which licenses and inspects child care facilities. She said it took four days to receive a licensing report.

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