Illinois child welfare to end use of predictive program

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will no longer use a $366,000 program that identifies children at risk for serious injury or death by using computer data mining after the agency’s director called the technology unreliable.

DCFS Director Beverly Walker tells the Chicago Tribune that the agency is suspending use of the Rapid Safety Feedback program because it “didn’t seem to be predicting much.” The department is now seeking to change the way it indexes and links investigations.

The nonprofit Eckerd Connects created the analytics program. The nonprofit says it regrets using language that suggested the company could predict the probability of child harm. It says its scoring system is merely meant to represent how closely a child matches historical data on fatality and harm cases.