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How much would the NAS poverty reduction packages reduce referrals to CPS and foster care placements? Would they reduce racial disproportionality in child welfare? (


Because of a collaboration with Columbia University and UW-Madison, we have answers to these questions.

By Peter Peter Pecora, Casey Family Programs, March 17, 2023 -


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently released a “roadmap” to reduce child poverty by as much as half through the implementation of a series of social policy packages. The aim of this study was to simulate the reductions in Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement and foster care placements that are likely to result from implementation of three of the NAS policy packages. In addition to the introduction of a child allowance, the proposed policy packages include reforms to the EITC, SNAP, and the federal minimum wage, among others. (The NAS poverty reduction packages are summarized on page 2 of the study abstract document, and pp. 79-80 in the article.)

Reduction in CPS Investigations

Depending on the policy package and simulation specifications modeled, we find that the child poverty reductions expected under the NAS recommendations have the potential to reduce CPS investigations by 11.3% (Package 2, low threshold) to 36.4% (Package 4, high threshold) -- constituting approximately 386,000 to 1.2 million fewer CPS investigations per year.

Moreover, we find particularly large reductions in CPS involvement that would reduce racial disproportionality substantially.  We estimate an 18.7 to 42.8 percent reduction in investigations for Black children, and 13.3 to 47.6 percent for Hispanic children, compared to 6.7 to 27.9 percent for white children.

Reduction in Out-Of-Home Care Placements

Our simulated effects on CPS involvement imply that 16,000 to 23,000 fewer children would be removed from their home and placed in out-of-home care each year.

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Pac, J., Collyer, S., Berger, L.M., O’Brien, K., Parker, E., Pecora, P.J., Rostad, W., Waldfogel, J. & Wimer, C. (2023). The effects of child poverty reductions on child protective services involvement and placement into out-of-home care. Social Services Review,97(1), 43-91.


Pac et al_ 2023 Effects of NAS Poverty Reduction Packages on CPS referrals and Foster Care Placements_Soc Serv Review.pdf

Columbia_UW-Madison_Casey Family Programs Poverty Reduction Study Abstract_3-16-23.pdf

For more information, contact:

Peter J. Pecora

Managing Director of Research Services

Pronouns: He/His

P 206.270.4936

casey family programs |


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This is major. A good demonstration that national policies of economic and concrete support for families can go a long way to relieving family poverty and stress while mitigating the risk of child abuse and neglect. I cannot believe Congress, focusing on libertarian freedoms and curtailing government capability, is not paying attention to this opportunity.

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