lllinois ends 'unreliable' child abuse predictive system

Occurred: December 2017

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A system used to identify children at risk from serious injury or death was dumped by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after the agency’s director called the technology 'unreliable'.

The DCFS said it was suspending use of the Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback (ERSF) programme as it 'didn’t seem to be predicting much.' According to the Chicago Tribune, the automated system was 'riddled' with data entry errors.

Eckerd Connects, the developer of the system, mined electronic DCFS files and assigned a score of 1 to 100 to children who were the subject of an abuse allegation. The algorithms rated the children’s risk of being killed or severely injured. 

Eckerd Connects acknowledged that it had over-claimed the system's capabilities. 


Operator: Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)  
Developer: Eckerd Connects; Mindshare Technology
Country: USA
Sector: Govt - welfare
Purpose: Prediction algorithm
Technology: Predict child abuse
Issue: Accuracy/reliability
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: February 2024