Developing Predictive Risk Models to Support Child Maltreatment Hotline Screening Decisions

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In August 2016, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) implemented the Allegheny Family Screening Tool (AFST), a predictive risk model designed to improve call screening decision-making in the county’s child welfare system.  The AFST is the result of a two-year process of exploration, research, ethical analysis and training.  

The AFST calculates a score by integrating and analyzing hundreds of data elements; the score predicts the long-term likelihood of re-referral, if the referral is screened out without an investigation, or home removal, if the referral is screened in for investigation. The Family Screening Score provides additional information – in conjunction with clinical judgement – to assist child welfare workers make a call screening decision.  

This publication consists of three documents: 1) Developing Predictive Risk Models to Support Child Maltreatment Hotline Screening Decisions: Allegheny County Methodology and Implementation; 2) Ethical Analysis: Predictive Risk Models at Call Screening for Allegheny County; and 3) DHS’s response to the Ethical Analysis.  Together, they provide a look at the development and implementation of the AFST.  

Click here to read the full report.

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