Oklahoma City--The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, in partnership with Tom Ward, and White Fields Inc., a home for boys, is taking an innovative technological approach to improving child protection.  DHS is piloting a predictive analytics tool from Eckerd Kids, called Eckerd Rapid Safety FeedbackTM.  The software works with the child welfare data system and flags open cases that have high risk factors that have been associated with child tragedies.

“Eckerd’s ERSF tool has shown some promising results in Florida preventing tragedies in open child welfare cases as well as improving the quality of casework,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “Because we have added so many new positions in child welfare thanks to additional funding, the majority of our front-line workers have an average of less than 2 years of experience on the job.  While the results from the tool are neither foolproof nor take the place of considered judgments of front-line DHS staff and other professionals, we believe this software will add an extra layer of protection for the children we serve by helping our workers focus special attention on those families with high risk factors.”

DHS is currently piloting the software in Oklahoma County but hopes to expand its use statewide.  The software was provided at no cost to DHS thanks to private funding from Ward in partnership with Eckerd Kids.  

“This tool proves to be an innovative method of learning from the past to find ways to make better present and future child protective decisions,” said David Dennis, Eckerd Kids President and CEO, and native Oklahoman.

“Safety for our state’s most vulnerable children is a collective responsibility. We are pleased to partner with Eckerd to bring this necessary and effective tool to Oklahoma with the intent that it may save lives,” said Tom L. Ward, Co-founder of White Fields.

About Eckerd Rapid Safety FeedbackTM:

Eckerd Kids has taken a technology approach to learning from fact patterns that exist within child welfare data. Since 2010, Eckerd has been working with software and data analytics company, Mindshare Technology, to develop this predictive analytics tool that identifies child welfare cases with characteristics associated with a high probability of serious injury or death to a child.  Once cases are flagged, child welfare quality assurance staff then works with the front line to develop a safety plan to lessen risks and prioritize tasks related to the case. 

ERSF was launched in January 2013 in Hillsborough County Florida and has been expanded to the other two counties in Florida, Pinellas and Pasco, where Eckerd serves as the community-based care lead agency.  Eckerd serves more than 6,000 children in all three counties and has reported no child deaths in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties since RSF has been implemented. There has been one child death in an open case in Pasco.  Their system has also seen a 23 percent improvement in the quality of home visits, supervisory reviews, quality and follow-up on cases and communication with stakeholders.

Besides Oklahoma, Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback TM is being deployed in Maine, Connecticut, Alaska and Illinois. 

The Chronicle of Social Change, an online publication, has featured several articles on predictive analytics tools and how states are using them in the work of child protection.  This publication wrote in 2014 about the potential of Eckerd Rapid Safety FeedbackTM and called it “a huge deal for the business of child welfare”.  The Potential of Rapid Safety Feedback - The Chronicle of Social Change