HubCare, provider of a holistic service system for sharing information across Social Service ecosystems, has launched a one of its kind program in which children’s records are used to prepare a “heat map” for potential at-risk children by analysing casual observations about the condition of a child, such as their mood or any physical changes, reports the Sydney Morning Herald

Through its online portal, HubCare has access to daily attendance updates from childcare centres throughout Australia from which it tracks trends that could indicate children are at risk of abuse. The portal is currently used by 1,500 childcare centres across Australia.

HubCare’s co-founder Ruby O’Rourke believes that the system could prevent child abuse and found motivation for the program through her own experience with abuse. In conversation with the Sydney Morning Herald, O’Rourke compared HubCare to “an online Neighbourhood Watch, allowing observations to be weighted from light to strong to “tell a story” and pinpoint at-risk individuals.”

After processing and analysing 4,415 observations and 1,965 comments on children’s records, HubCare was able to identify 20 individuals which it considered to be at major risk of harm. The individuals remained anonymous within the system; arrangements with government agencies about what access they have to this data once children have been flagged remains un-formalised.

HubCare worked with Australia’s peak IT research body NICTA and the CSIRO’s digital productivity and services flagship to bring this program into shape. Although still very much a work in progress, O’Rourke and fellow founder David Salajan hope that their system will enable better data sharing between institutions and states, and estimate Hubcare could cut government spending on children protection research by half.

Read more here.

(Image credit: Alex Proimos)

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