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Dr. Frank Edwards

Associate Professor


Ph.D. (2017) Sociology, University of Washington; M.A. (2012) Sociology, DePaul University; B.A. (2005) Sociology and History, University of Texas at Austin

Office Location

CLJ 579B

Office Hours

Thursdays 2:00-3:00 PM

Areas of Specialization

Children and families
Sociology of punishment
Welfare state


Frank Edwards received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington in 2017 and joined the Rutgers-Newark School of Criminal Justice in 2018.

Dr. Edwards is a sociologist broadly interested in social control, the welfare state, race, and applied statistics. His work explores the causes and consequences of the social distribution of state violence through two projects.

The first draws attention to child protection systems as key sites of family disruption. This work shows that American child protection systems are tightly intertwined with carceral and welfare policy systems, and that race and colonization play a central role in explaining the spatial and social distribution of family separation.

The second provides detailed analyses of the prevalence of police-involved killings in the US. This project uses novel data and Bayesian methods to provide estimates of mortality risk by race, sex, and place. It also evaluates how institutions and politics affect the prevalence of police violence.

His research has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Public Health, and other outlets. His research has been covered in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The PBS News Hour, and other outlets.

Recent & Key Publications

Edwards, Frank R., Sarah Roberts, Mical Raz, Kathleen Kenny, Matty Lichtenstein, and Mishka Terplan. 2023. “Medical professional reports and child welfare system infant investigations: an analysis of National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) data”. Health Equity.

Edwards, Frank R., Kelley Fong, Victoria Copeland, Mical Raz, and Alan Dettlaff. 2023. “Administrative Burdens in Child Welfare”. The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of The Social Sciences.

Horowitz, Veronia, Kimberly Spencer-Suarez, Ryan Larson, Robert Stewart, Frank R. Edwards, Emmi Obara, and Christopher Uggen. 2022. “Dual Debtors: Child Support and Criminal Legal Financial Obligations”. Social Service Review.

Edwards, Frank R., Theresa Rocha Beardall, and Hannah Curtis. 2023. “American Indian and Alaska Native overexposure to foster care and family surveillance in the US: a quantitative overview of contemporary system contact”. Children and Youth Services Review

Rocha Beardall, Theresa and Frank R. Edwards. 2021. “Abolition, Elimination, and Indian Child Welfare.” Columbia Journal of Race and Law. 11(3)

Edwards, F.R., Wakefield, S., Healy, K. and Wildman, C. (2021). “Child Protective Services Contact in the 20 Most Populous Counties in the US”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences https://www.pnas.org/content/118/30/e2106272118

Raz, M., Dettlaff, A. and Edwards, F.R. (2021). “The Perils of Child ‘Protection’ for Children of Color: Lessons from History”. Pediatrics.

Yi, Y., Edwards, F.R., & Wildeman, C. (2020).  Cumulative prevalence of confirmed maltreatment and foster care placement for US children by race/ethnicity, 2011 – 2016.  American Journal of Public Health, 110, 704-709.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32191517/

Wildeman, C., Edwards F.R., & Wakefield, S. (2020).  The Cumulative prevalence of termination of parental rights for U.S. children, 2000-2016.  Child Maltreatment, 25, 32-42.

Edwards, F.R., Lee, H., & Esposito, M. (2019).  Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, 16793-16798.

Fernandes, A, Edwards, F.R., Cadigan, M., & Harris, A. (2019).  Monetary sanctions: A Review of revenue generation, legal challenges, and reform.  Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 15, 397-413.

Edwards, F.R. (2019).  Family surveillance: Police and the reporting of child abuse and neglect.  The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of The Social Sciences, 5, 50-70.

Edwards, F.R., Esposito, M., & Lee, H.  (2018). Risk of police-involved death by race/ethnicity and place, United States, 2012-2018. The American Journal of Public Health, 108, 1241-1248.

Edwards, F.R., & Wildeman, C. (2018).  Characteristics of the frontline child welfare workforce.  Children and Youth Services Review, 89, 13-26. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740918300823

Martin, K., Shannon, S., Sykes, B., Edwards, F.R., & Harris, A. (2018).  Monetary sanctions in criminal justice.  Annual Review of Criminology, 1, 471-495.

Harris, A., & Edwards, F.R. (2017).  Fines and monetary sanctions.  Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Edwards, F.R. (2016).  Saving children, controlling families:  Punishment, redistribution and child protection.  American Sociological Review, 81, 575-595.