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Case Studies

Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF)

Can analytics help prevent child abuse and fatalities? Cary, North Carolina (Jul 10, 2014)

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 1,640 children died from abuse and neglect in 2012 in the US. At today's event in Tampa, FL, experts from child welfare, law enforcement, public health and technology will present strategies to combat this horrible problem. One such strategy is the use of predictive analytics, a cornerstone of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) child welfare improvement efforts.

"I am eager to present to the Commission on our success in using data to inform the practice of child welfare and protect Florida's most vulnerable," Interim DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said. "This recent study has helped us determine which children are at a greater risk and offers an additional tool for DCF and partners to better assess and provide for the safety of children."

DCF teamed up with analytics software company SAS to analyze nearly six years of data on children that had some contact with DCF. The SAS analysis considered factors such as prior removals due to sexual abuse, prior removal due to drug abuse, and physical or mental disabilities. The resulting five-year Child Fatality Trend Analysis is helping investigators better predict the needs of families in crisis. Some of the key findings include:

  • Overall, child deaths within the agency are trending downward.

  • Children who received prior service from the agency saw their odds of dying reduced by 90 percent.

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