A Human-Centered Review of Algorithms used within the U.S. Child Welfare System
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
CHI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
The U.S. Child Welfare System (CWS) is charged with improving outcomes for foster youth; yet, they are overburdened and underfunded. To overcome this limitation, several states have turned towards algorithmic decision-making systems to reduce costs and determine better processes for improving CWS outcomes. Using a human-centered algorithmic design approach, we synthesize 50 peer-reviewed publications on computational systems used in CWS to assess how they were being developed, common characteristics of predictors used, as well as the target outcomes. We found that most of the literature has focused on risk assessment models but does not consider theoretical approaches (e.g., child-foster parent matching) nor the perspectives of caseworkers (e.g., case notes). Therefore, future algorithms should strive to be context-aware and theoretically robust by incorporating salient factors identified by past research. We provide the HCI community with research avenues for developing human-centered algorithms that redirect attention towards more equitable outcomes for CWS.
Saxena, Devansh; Badillo-Urquiola, Karla A.; Wisniewski, Pamela J.; and Guha, Shion, "A Human-Centered Review of Algorithms used within the U.S. Child Welfare System" (2020). Computer Science Faculty Research and Publications. 65.