Allegheny Family Screening Tool

Researchers led by Rhema Vaithianathan modelled, designed and supported implementation of this world-first child welfare predictive analytics tool.  The Allegheny Family Screening Tool (AFST) uses rich administrative data to generate a screening score for incoming calls alleging child maltreatment and neglect. The score is an additional piece of information that helps call screeners as they decide whether to open an investigation.  Allegheny County introduced this decision support tool with the aim of improving accuracy and consistency of call screening decisions. An independent impact evaluation of the tool was completed by researchers at Stanford University in March 2019.  The evaluators’ findings included that use of the tool improved the accurate identification of children in need of services and was associated with a modest reduction in racial disparities in case openings.


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Quick facts

Location: Allegheny County – PA, United States

Partner/s: Children’s Data Network (University of Southern California), Carnegie Mellon University, Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Timeframe: 2014-ongoing