Improving Human-AI Partnerships in Child Welfare: Understanding Worker Practices, Challenges, and Desires for Algorithmic Decision Support

Picture of Anna Kawakami
Anna Kawakami
Picture of Hao-Fei Cheng
Hao-Fei Cheng
Picture of Logan Stapleton
Logan Stapleton
Picture of Yanghuidi Cheng
Yanghuidi Cheng
Picture of Diana Qing
Diana Qing
Picture of Zhiwei Steven Wu
Zhiwei Steven Wu
Picture of Haiyi Zhu
Haiyi Zhu
Published at CHI | New Orleans, LA 2022
  • Best Paper Honorable Mention
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AI-based decision support tools (ADS) are increasingly used to augment human decision-making in high-stakes, social contexts. As public sector agencies begin to adopt ADS, it is critical that we understand workers' experiences with these systems in practice. In this paper, we present findings from a series of interviews and contextual inquiries at a child welfare agency, to understand how they currently make AI-assisted child maltreatment screening decisions. Overall, we observe how workers' reliance upon the ADS is guided by (1) their knowledge of rich, contextual information beyond what the AI model captures, (2) their beliefs about the ADS's capabilities and limitations relative to their own, (3) organizational pressures and incentives around the use of the ADS, and (4) awareness of misalignments between algorithmic predictions and their own decision-making objectives. Drawing upon these findings, we discuss design implications towards supporting more effective human-AI decision-making.