Not magic Opaque AI tool may flag parents with disabilities

News Summary

  • A recent analysis by ACLU researchers found that when Allegheny’s algorithm flagged people who accessed county services for mental health and other behavioral health programs, that could add up to three points to a child’s risk score, a significant increase on a scale of 20.
  • “And then from that moment on, at the time, they completely stonewalled us.”The couple was stunned when child welfare officials showed up, told them they were negligent and took away their daughter.“They had custody papers and they took her right there and then,” Lauren Hackney recalled.
  • The agency is investigating the county’s child welfare system to determine whether its use of the influential algorithm discriminates against people with disabilities or other protected groups, The Associated Press has learned.
  • Even as they fight to regain custody of their daughter, they can’t question the “risk score” Allegheny County’s tool may have assigned to her case because officials won’t disclose it to them.
  • The baby didn’t seem to like it.Her pediatrician first reassured them that babies can be fickle with feeding and offered ideas to help her get back her appetite, they said.When she grew lethargic days later, they said, the same doctor told them to take her to the emergency room.
  • And neither the county nor the people who built the tool have explained which variables may have been used to measure the Hackneys’ abilities as parents.“It’s like you have an issue with someone who has a disability,” Andrew Hackney said.
By SALLY HO and GARANCE BURKE Associated PressPITTSBURGH (AP) For the two weeks that the Hackneys baby girl lay in a Pittsburgh hospital bed weak from dehydration, her parents rarely left her sid [+7603 chars]