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Protecting Children: 1 Step Forward
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Prevention in the earliest stages
  • 7/12/2014 2:02:09 AM
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James I agree that this is the most noble of arguments for predictive analytics, saving our most vulnerable memebers of society from abuse and death with improved analytics capabilities is the kind of work that would be very impactful. It would be interesting to see if analytics could ever predict at birth which children are most likely to become victims of abuse and intervene before the cycle starts.

Re: Children at risk
  • 7/11/2014 1:21:12 PM
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@Phoenix, I do hope there is some gratification but overall it does take a toll on a person, especially when working in big cities like Chicago or Boston where child neglect and abuse are so rampant. Your question on implementation is interesting -- in my sister's case, at least, she works for a firm that DCFS has partnered with for this work. So is DCFS or the contractor better positioned to use analytics? Who owns the data is the first question to ask, I suppose.

Re: Children at risk
  • 7/11/2014 11:08:05 AM
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I have a friend who is a lawyer specializing in child protection (being the advocate for the child). I can't imagine doing that job for as many years as she has, based on some of the cases that she has handled. Picture children raised in dog cages. I was exposed to a lot of bad things when I was a daily newspaper reporter, but I think handling just one of her cases would be enough to make me quit. We have to keep things in perspective and place the welfare of these kids ahead of everything. 

Re: Children at risk
  • 7/11/2014 2:16:37 AM
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@Beth It must be really gratifying for your sister to work for such a worthy cause. I'm sure there must be many cases with very positive outcomes. This looks like a very good area for analytics to work with. I wonder how or who will take responsibility for the actual implementation.

Children at risk
  • 7/10/2014 4:31:22 PM
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I have a sister who spends her days evaluating at-risk children and their family members under the auspices of the DCFS here in Chicago (and previously did similar work in Boston). She doesn't like to talk much about her work, as you might imagine -- but the few stories she's shared over the years could make you cry over the conditions in which so many of today's children grow up. It must be kind of a gruesome challenge to determine which set of factors puts these kids at risk of death more than the others -- there is just so much awfulness in their lives. It's hard not to applaud any move that aims to help stem the tide here, but I, like you, recognize that this is but one small step. The last thing DCFS social workers need is for efforts like this to result in just more CYA paperwork -- because there's more than enough of that to contend with already.

 

protecting children
  • 7/10/2014 4:25:58 PM
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@James that's a most worthwhile cause for predictive analytics!



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