AI Enabled Digital Chaperone: The Key To Preventing Abuse In Daycare And Other Vulnerable Settings

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

ABC News reported on June 5 th that a daycare worker, Katherine Weitz, was discovered abusing

children under her care. The office manager “suspected” the children were being mistreated,

prompting the review of surveillance footage, upon which they discovered Weitz hitting,

shaking, and kicking children in a bout of frustration. Weitz later admitted that she was

“frustrated and tired that day and should never have gone into work.” Incidents like this are

unfortunate and not uncommon in environments where vulnerable infants, children, elderly,

and disabled persons are unable to articulate the abuse they are enduring. Caregivers can take

advantage of defenseless individuals subjecting them to physical abuse as well as verbal and

emotional abuse – and too often these criminal behaviors prevail unchecked due to the nature

of the private settings in which they occur. Weitz and many other caretakers pass criminal

background checks, only to later be exposed as violent predators. Improved security measures

are a must to effectively monitor and protect our most vulnerable citizens in situations like


With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), comes Digital Chaperones that use real-time

technology to detect abuse before it escalates helping to protect both patient/client and the

provider/caretaker and business. An example of a Digital Chaperone is MARIA (MAssage Room

Intelligence Agent) created by MARIA is a digital chaperone that can

help prevent physical abuse in sensitive environments by detecting inappropriate physical

interactions between caretakers and their clients. MARIA is especially useful in settings where

having a custodian in the room is impractical or not cost effective. The sensors in a good digital

chaperone such as MARIA, identify inappropriate and violent physical exchanges in situations

where video surveillance would be inconvenient, illegal or impractical, and supports businesses

that maintain a considerable amount of risk or liability from fluctuating environments. In

childcare and adult daycare facilities, nursing homes, spas, public restrooms, and medical

offices, etc., having a 24-hour chaperone that can identify misconduct and act in real time is a

powerful deterrent for predators, especially those in whom the certainty of punishment rather

than the severity of punishment would deter criminal acts.

MARIA offers employers who are exposed to potential risk with an alternative to what’s missed

by camera surveillance, mainly the delay in alerting violations and augmenting the threat of


Key benefits of MARIA:

1. The ability to interpret the environment.

2. Compliance with state privacy restraints as MARIA’s technology does not conduct video

surveillance and does not transmit data externally.

3. Reviews the sensor data in real time with no need to store information (with the

exception of training data if needed).

4. Alerts management immediately when inappropriate interactions occur enabling

immediate intervention.

5. Deters employee misconduct via the threat of assured penalization.

6. Improves company reputation, lifting brand recognition as a MARIA proprietor.

About Shepherd AI: Shepherd AI was founded in 2017 to be the first in Human Behavior Risk

analytics agency that develops and uses technology to eliminate risky human behaviors such as

sexual misconduct and assault in intimate professional environments. The Puerto-Rican based

company specializes in enabling an environment of trust and safety where team members act

with the utmost integrity and stewardship of business. Visit the website for more information

at .

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