The ethics of predictive risk modelling in the Aotearoa/New Zealand child welfare context: Child abuse prevention or neo-liberal tool?
The White Paper on Vulnerable Children before the Aotearoa/New Zealand parliament proposes changes that will significantly reconstruct the child welfare systems in this country, including the use of a predictive risk model (PRM). This article explores the ethics of this strategy in a child welfare context. Tensions exist, including significant ethical problems such as use of information without consent, breaches of privacy and stigmatisation, without clear evidence of the benefits outweighing these costs. Broader implicit assumptions about the causes of child abuse and risk and their intersections with wider discursive, political and systems design contexts are discussed. Drawing on Houston et al. (2010) this paper highlights the potential for a PRM to contribute to a neo-liberal agenda that individualises social problems, reifies risk and abuse, and narrowly prescribes service provision. However, with reference to child welfare and child protection orientations, the paper suggests more ethical ways of using the model.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Rights Statement: Copyright © 2015, © SAGE Publications
Keywords: Big data; predictive analytics; privacy; rights; neo-liberalism; child protection; early intervention; ethics; New Zealand; orientations
Research Type: Journal Article
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