How can big data help improve child maltreatment response and prevention?

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Miranda Sheffield and her daughter

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By Daniel Heimpel

At 18, Miranda Sheffield got the shock of her life when a pregnancy test came up positive.

Sheffield’s first reaction was “devastation, disappointment, depression, tragedy: any- and everything that could be negative.”

She was a track star and a senior at Pomona High School, set in the vast urban tracts surrounding Los Angeles. Unlike anyone else in her family, Sheffield was on her way to college.

Even if she didn’t fully realize it as a pregnant teen in 2004, the prospects for her baby girl were less than optimal. She was single, on public health insurance and had been in foster care for almost half of her quickly fading childhood.

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