TEXPROTECTS, ALLIANCE DATA, EPSILON, AND UT DALLAS COLLABORATE
Child advocates and policy-makers in Texas have a new tool called ZipRisk to help them fight child abuse in the state.
The new tool was unveiled this week in partnership between TexProtects, the Texas Association for the Protection of Children, Plano-based Alliance Data Systems Corp. (NYSE: ADS), it Epsilon business, and the University of Texas at Dallas School of Engineering and Computer Sciences UT Design program.
ZipRisk is an interactive data tool that will help identify the highest-risk areas in the state, helping authorities in their fight to prevent, or even end, child abuse.
“Every day in our state, an average of 183 children are substantiated for child maltreatment,” said TexProtects founding CEO Madeline McClure. “We must do more to protect Texas children from abuse and severe neglect and the best way is to invest in effective prevention programs.”
“Every day in our state, an average of 183 children are substantiated for child maltreatment.” – Madeline McClure
She said the ZipRisk map “will guide Texas leaders and private funders to target resources to the highest-need areas of the state with the fewest resources to save children from tragic consequences.”
McClure said the project ensures that funds will be directed “more precisely to match need versus a scatter-shot approach.”
According to TexProtects, more than three children die from abuse or neglect on average every week in Texas, and that more than seven children are maltreated each hour.
ZIPRISK DATA COMES FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES
The data for ZipRisk is ZIP Code level information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Texas Department of Health Services. It provides a comprehensive child neglect and abuse assessment.
It ranks all ZIP Codes in Texas through the use of “substantiated child maltreatment, child abuse and neglect-related fatalities, teen birth, substance abuse, and child poverty rates,” according to TexProtects.
On its website, TexProtects said the map is intended as a resource for decision makers, community providers, advocates and the general public.
Students from UT Dallas worked with data technology specialists at Epsilon to develop the data model that would show a detailed geographic model, TexProtects said in a release.
The group said that information only existed at the county level before the ZipRisk project was completed.
COLLABORATION CAN HELP SOLVE STATE’S CHALLENGES
State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said that ZipRisk is an example of how collaboration can help improve the state.
“Texas benefits when academic institutions, corporations and nonprofits team up to find solutions to our state’s challenges,” Nelson said.
For Alliance Data, it was an opportunity to do good through data.
“Alliance Data’s commitment to social responsibility includes a focus on collecting, analyzing, and using date to drive decision-making that helps nonprofits create a positive impact in the community,” said Dana Beckman, corporate affairs director with Alliance Data.
Working with students on the project enhanced its value to the company.
“Collaborating with UT Dallas student presented an ideal opportunity to develop technology that leverages data for good, and demonstrates how evidence-based programs can support bearable outcomes for those in need.”
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