Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NY Times Article re. Using Algorithms and Data Analysis Programs to Make Referral Decisions

Many of you may have already seen this article making the rounds on various parents' attorneys listservs. But if you haven't, it's a fascinating read. Allegheny County (which contains the city of Pittsburgh) experienced a rash of child abuse related deaths a couple of years ago. The reaction to those experiences was to implement the use of a data analytics tools to essentially double-check all referral decisions. While removal decisions are not being made by these tools (yet), it does represent what might be an unavoidable national trend, with both good and bad implications. Similar tools are already being considered in Utah, with the possibility of algorithm-based decision making models to be used in initial detention decisions in criminal cases in the next year (though as demonstrated here, approval of these tools hasn't been universal, and the Utah Legislature has some concerns).

THis is definitely a topic that parental defenders should keep their eyes on as it develops.

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