Ed Lake, Director
Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS)
One of the fundamental tasks of child welfare is to respond to reports of child abuse and neglect and assess the safety of children. Workers are required to make sometimes life-and-death decisions within tight time frames and account for a great mass of detailed information. Oklahoma Department of Human Services has a track record of adopting innovations in data and technology to solve problems in child welfare and other human services.
For this particular challenge, Oklahoma DHS formed a partnership with Mindshare Technology and Eckerd Family Services to implement Rapid Safety Feedback, a state-of-the-art predictive analytics program, to draw attention to high-risk cases. Data developers identified 15 data points correlated with increased risks to children. These data points produced a report of children known to child welfare living with a heightened risk of serious injury. This report alerts Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) staff members who then work with supervisors and child protective workers to identify immediate actions to assure safety of those children.
Using predictive analytics for high-risk cases improves and supports safety decisions made by workers. Rather than learning from past tragedies, a rapid safety report can alert workers to the potential for tragedy before it happens. This data, along with coaching, adds an extra layer of protection for the children served and provides support for the child welfare workforce.