MITRE is using connected data to defend the defenseless.

Papers and Perspectives

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MITRE is using connected data to defend the defenseless.

Papers and Perspectives

We bring together the foremost experts to solve the most difficult health challenges of our lifetime. Sign up to receive access to our latest thinking.

The number of child fatalities is increasing, while funding for child welfare is decreasing.

Drug use by parents is increasingly taxing the child welfare system.

Nearly 1/3 of children entering foster care do so in part because of parental drug abuse, a 10% increase from 2005-2015. (Source: Childtrends)

Federal funding for child welfare programs is declining.

Change in child welfare spending between 2004 – 2014. (Source: Childtrends)

As more children enter, and funding decreases, caseworkers are becoming overloaded.

Massachusetts child welfare caseloads increased 400% in one year.  (Source: CWLA)

The current opioid epidemic threatens to put an already overloaded child welfare system past the breaking point. See how MITRE is Combating the Opioid Epidemic.

is using predictive analytics to try to reduce child abuse, neglect and fatalities.

MITRE’s data scientists recently applied our approach to aviation safety to create predictive models that identified risk factors which would help child welfare professionals with their daily decisions. MITRE created a database through a self-funded R&D program, the MITRE Innovation Program.
De-identified data sets—information that does not identify the individual—were placed in a dedicated, secure data analytics environment. Combining child welfare, pediatrics, and data science expertise, MITRE researchers created several models that identified risk factors which could help caseworkers with their daily decisions. The models consistently identified contributing characteristics, such as allegations of severe neglect or physical abuse, and children in foster care assistance.
As with aviation safety data, the number of fatalities is small. Given enough data to populate it, a predictive analytics model can be a valuable tool to help social service agencies and caseworkers more easily identify children at risk so that they can take preventive action.

To improve predictions, the project must be expanded to counties nationwide, so a nationwide database—one that is secure, private, and with de-identified data—must be developed.

State and local agencies as well as several other non-profits have proposed a central data repository and analytic environment where child welfare agencies across the country could upload data to a secure central data repository and analytic environment hosted a non-governmental trusted third party.

Cracking the Code to End Child Fatalities from Abuse and Neglect: A Call for Connected data, Collaboration, and Innovation

What does sharing aviation safety data have to do with creating a safer world for kids in the child welfare system? MITRE’s Executive Director, Population Health and Well-being, Dr. Mark Thomas and MITRE’s Department Chief Engineer and Lead Data Scientist Chris Teixeira saw a common data problem and made the connection. Watch their call to action.

Featuring Dr. George Halvorson, children’s advocate and former Kaiser Permanente CEO, Dr. Mark Thomas, executive director, and Katharyn White, senior vice president of MITRE Public Sector.

Do you have expertise and want to help?

By working through these challenges together across government, public and private entities, and academia, we can solve problems for a safer world.

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