Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Children not lab rats"

The following report intrigues me.

 MSD Minister, Anne Tolley is outraged by a study proposal which she describes treating children as "lab rats".

A plan to treat vulnerable newborns as "lab rats" by sitting back for two years to see if they were abused has been blocked by the Government.
The Ministry of Social Development proposed to include 60,000 children born this year in an "observational study" to test the accuracy of its new predictive risk modelling tool.

It has been described as a study that does not intervene.

There isn't enough information provided from the official papers to confirm that.

Many 'vulnerable' children - if not a majority -  suffer adverse outcomes despite intervention. CYF can be going about its usual business alongside a study that seeks to discover whether a pre-identified group meet predictions.

But if it is correct, that MSD sought a period of no intervention for all children born in 2015... well that's ridiculous. So ridiculous I suspect it was put up to thwart the progress of the predictive modelling regime.

The reporting is rather sensational. "She has called a halt to the study."

But there was no study. It hadn't even been to the ethics committee for approval.

Tolley also appeared to signal a major backdown on a proposed population-wide application of the model, saying it was "unlikely" to be used on children that had not already been notified to Child Youth and Family (CYF).
That's in line with what MSD is saying,
Predictive Modelling will be carefully tested to assess whether it can enhance decision-making at intake for children who are reported to Child Youth and Family because of concerns about abuse or neglect.  The aim is to support, not replace, professional judgement

Ironically this involves waiting for something bad to happen. Or non-intervention despite predictive flags. Which isn't far removed from what has wound the Minister up in the first place.

This whole business is very curious. Very.

(On a third reading I am beginning to think the reporter is talking about two different studies.)

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