18 September 2013

Article: "Time well spent: The duration of foster care and early adult labor market, educational, and health outcomes"

Article by Peter Fallesen, PhD Fellow at the Department of Sociology and Researcher at the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit, in Journal of Adolescence, Vol. 36, Issue 6, 2013.

Foster care and later life outcomes
Individuals who spent time in foster care as children fare on average worse than non-placed peers in early adult life.

Recent research on the effect of foster care placement on early adult life outcomes provides mixed evidence. Some studies suggest negative effects of foster care placement on early adult outcomes, others find no effects.

This study shows that differences in the average duration of foster care stays explain parts of these discordant findings. The author then tests how foster care duration shapes later life outcomes using administrative data on 7220 children.

Positive effects of increased duration
The children experienced different average durations of foster care because of differences in exposure to a reform. Later born children spent on average 3 months longer in foster care than earlier born children.

Isolating externally caused changes in duration of foster care, the study finds positive effects of increased duration of foster care on income and labor market participation.