Welcome to Project Blair - a techy view
Children's Minister Hilary Armstrong was due today to outline what could become one of Project Blair's most ambitious, misguided and hubristic projects yet. The Government will attempt to identify children at risk of failure, violent behaviour or criminality at birth, and take the necessary corrective actions to steer them onto a law-abiding and successful path.
Ironically, Armstrong is floating these proposals just as this same predictive approach to future behaviour patterns is becoming discredited. ...
Unfortunately for the Government (or more accurately, for the future generations now being herded into the labs), the output of the assessment tools is starting to look like voodoo, and in real life, when non-factual data (i.e., value judgments) is poured into data sharing systems, it breeds imaginative and semi-fictional narratives, and in the case of social work, invents whole cases.
The problem with prediction is that although it is possible to identify 'tell-tale' signs in actual offenders, the presence of these does not necessarily identify future offenders. Start with the real villains and work backwards, and the signs were all obviously there, but studies that start with the signs and work forwards don't end up separating the serial criminals from the law abiding. So yes, it may still seem 'obvious' that you can figure out what made people bad and go back to childhood and fix it, but right now you haven't been able to prove it. So stop experimenting on whole generations until you have proved it, OK?
...Some of the women midwives are dealing with have noticed that their histories can be taken down and used against them, and that it does not matter whether or not they have successfully coped, or are successfully coping with whatever the problem might have been. If you tell someone, it will be flagged as a 'concern' and will breed more concerns, and turn you into a 'case'. So they're starting to withhold information, and as midwives, and other professionals continue to ask "a few more" questions, people on the receiving end of the data kleptocracy will start to go underground.
Leaving systems built on junk science sharing junk data in pursuit of imaginary concerns and a pre-defined criminal underclass, while the rest of us hide. Welcome to virtual reality social work, welcome to Project Blair. ®