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Family first or the kindness of strangers? Foster care placements and adult outcomes

Nicholas Lovett and Yuhan Xue

Labour Economics, 2020, vol. 65, issue C

Abstract: We evaluate the long-run effects of placing foster children with extended family, rather than unrelated caregivers. An instrumental variable identification strategy is used to estimate the effects of kinship care relative to traditional foster care. We find former foster youth placed with kin benefit across a host of important adult outcomes, including increases in employment and education, and reductions in public assistance, homelessness, and incarceration. Estimated effects are statistically significant, and robust to multiple specifications. Findings suggest kinship care has the potential to improve important adult outcomes for a large, at-risk population and create large social cost savings.

Keywords: Foster care; Adult outcomes; Family ties; Instrumental variable (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I38 J13 H75 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2020.101840

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