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In New South Wales, the child protection tool “structured decision making” (SDM) has come under scrutiny for its disproportionate impact on Aboriginal children. Researchers and advocates have highlighted concerns about racial bias within the tool, leading to higher risk classifications for Indigenous children. This bias has contributed to the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the child protection system.

Despite recommendations for a risk validation study to ensure the tool’s fairness, one has not been conducted since 2013. This lack of updated data raises questions about the accuracy of risk assessments and the potential for biases to persist in decision-making processes.

Efforts are now underway to conduct a full risk validation study in 2021 to address these concerns and ensure that the SDM tool accurately assesses child protection needs without racial biases. Advocates and organizations, such as AbSec NSW, are calling for a review of the tool and its potential abandonment to prevent further harm to Aboriginal children and families.

The ongoing discussion surrounding the SDM tool in New South Wales underscores the importance of addressing racial bias in child protection systems to provide equitable and fair support to all children, regardless of their background.


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Article Title: NSW to review child protection screening algorithm over concerns about racial bias
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