'Has to be done by real people': AI adoption tool underperforms

(NewsNation) — An AI tool marketed as a miracle tech solution to streamline the adoption process, Family-Match, has produced limited results, with experts saying the technology does not help children get matched with the right families for them.

“This tool gave us a lot of hope but gave us false hope. A lot of the families thought if they registered, they’d be matched,” adoption advocate Connie Going said. “It takes a team to do an adoption. And it’s not the answer to a system that is very fractured right now.”

Going, founder of the Adoption Advocacy Center, joined “NewsNation Now” to discuss the technology’s shortcomings, saying the AI doesn’t know the families registering.

“It’s flashy, it sounds good. But the thing is, it doesn’t really know the families, and the caseworkers are struggling to know the children. And you can’t put those two things together at this point,” Going said.

An Associated Press investigation found the AI tool — among the few adoption algorithms on the market — has produced limited results in the states where it has been used, according to Family-Match’s self-reported data that AP obtained through public records requests from state and local agencies.

“I think it has to be done by real people. If there’s a tool that AI can bring to the table to be part of that team that is effective, I would say yes,” Going said.

Several states tried to implement the technology but abandoned it after it proved unsuccessful. Virginia and Georgia dropped the algorithm after trial runs, noting its inability to produce adoptions.

Tennessee scrapped the program before rolling it out, saying it didn’t work with its internal system even after state officials spent more than two years trying to set it up, and social workers reported mixed experiences with Family-Match in Florida, where its use has been expanding.

“These are things that take deep skills, and if the caseworkers are putting the children in, and they’re looking out for the children and these families, it’s a home study, it’s a piece of paper that the social worker comes out and assesses. But the families are taking a checklist about the things they like. It really is deeper than that,” Going told NewsNation.


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