A 21st Century Child Protection System
- Create a national database of substantiated child abuse reports with uniform definitions for child maltreatment.
- Provide a smart-phone based fatality assessment tool to assist social workers who make decisions regarding leaving the child in the home.
- Better connect professionals: social workers, attorneys, law enforcement, doctors, forensic interviewers who work on child abuse cases.
Child Abuse Database
A nationwide database of substantiated child abuse allegations has the ability to stop abusers from moving across county lines to evade detection. Furthermore, implementing uniform definitions for acts of maltreatment across state lines will allow the U.S. to keep accurate statistics for policy making. Currently, only estimates exist.
Predictive Analytics: Fatality Assessment
A predictive analytics: fatality assessment uses evidence-based factors linked to higher rates of child fatalities to estimate likelihood of death for the child if left in a home. Predictive analytics has the ability to flag the children in most imminent danger, and increase the possibility of intervention before a child dies. Counties which have implemented this approach have significantly lowered the number of children who have died while under the protective watch of child protective services.
A Smart Phone Application Based Approach
A smart phone fatality assessment tool for social workers can both create a national database, and provide all jurisdictions with the best fatality assessment software. A simple “app” for front-line social workers to input data, and receive an instant fatality assessment could implement the best predictive analytics algorithm across the country with limited funding. And importantly, a national database of child abuse reports would automatically be created, so abusers cannot move across county lines to evade detection and arrest. The computer analysis could be available via the cloud to print and input into case files to bolster the social worker’s case for keeping the family intact or removing the child from the home thus connecting all systems without billions of infrastructure improvements.
In 1987 the National Highway Safety Act created a database to prevent road fatalities. In 2017, this nation has the ability to create a 21st century child protection system to prevent child fatalities.
The database could provide (1) uniform definitions for child abuse, (2) bring evidenced based lethality risk assessments “predictive analytics” to frontline social workers to help determine whether leaving a child in the home will lead to death, and (3) creating a national database of child abuse reports.