In an age of austerity, and a climate of fear about child abuse, perhaps it is unsurprising that social workers have turned to new technology for help.
Local authorities – which face spiralling demand and an £800m funding shortfall – are beginning to ask whether big data could help to identify vulnerable children.
Could a computer program flag a problem family, identify a potential victim and prevent another Baby P or Victoria Climbié?
Years ago, such questions would have been the stuff of science fiction; now they are the stuff of science fact.
Bristol is one place experimenting with these new capabilities, and grappling with the moral and ethical questions that come with them.
Gary Davies, who oversees the council's predictive system, can see the advantages.
He argues that it does not mean taking humans out of the decision-making process; rather it means using data to stop humans making mistakes.