November 27, 2023

The 2024 Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize has been awarded to UW School of Social Work professor Peter Pecora and his co-authors for their article The Effects of Child Poverty Reduction on Child Protective Services Involvement

The article appeared in the March 2023 issue of the Social Service Review, a University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice publication. Pecora holds a joint appointment as a UW professor and the managing director of research services for Casey Family Programs.

“The Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize is a prestigious honor that recognizes the top paper published in the Social Service Review, one of the most valued and impactful journals in social work, social sciences and social policy,” says David Takeuchi, School of Social Work associate dean for faculty excellence.

Pecora and colleagues’ research demonstrates that the implementation of certain child-poverty reduction policies cited in a National Academy of Sciences report could also help reduce child-protective services (CPS) investigations by 11.3 % to 36.4%—or about 386,000 to 1.2 million fewer CPS investigations and from 16,000 to 23,000 fewer out-of-home care placements annually.

The research findings also showed that these policies could substantially improve the lives of Black and Hispanic children by lowering the entrenched racial disparities that plague CPS systems. The researchers estimated an 18.7% to 42.8% reduction in investigations for Black children and 13.3% to 47.6% for Hispanic children, as compared to 6.7% to 27.9% percent for white children.

Says Pecora, “It was an honor to learn from and collaborate with some of the top poverty scholars in the country. We were able to uncover the positive impacts of three poverty reduction strategies on child protective services referrals and foster care placements—and how these strategies can reduce racial disproportionality in child welfare.” 

For more information, contact Pecora at