Can we use big data to fight child abuse? The answer is complicated

Predictive analytics may help prevent violence against kids, but it comes with risks. The mother’s age. The parents’ history with drug or alcohol abuse. The young person’s experiences with child protective services.

These are among the hundreds of factors that could be digitally analyzed to predict whether a child is at risk of being abused or neglected — and child welfare agencies in places like Pennsylvania, Florida and California have been exploring whether this “big data” can be harnessed to protect the most vulnerable kids.

Author: Ellen Lee


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