Wednesday, September 10, 2008

foster care and adult crime

Joseph Doyle (MIT) studies the impact of foster care on child outcomes -- namely whether they commit crimes as adults. To do so, Doyle first shows that whether a child ends up in foster care often depends on the identity of his or her case worker. Some case workers are more likely than others to place children in foster care. Because case workers are randomly assigned to cases, whether a child ends up in foster care (for marginal cases) is random. This randomness can be used to measure the effects of foster care. Do children assigned to a foster-care prone case worker tend to have different outcomes than children assigned to a case worker that is less likely to place them in foster care?

From the abstract:
Children on the margin of placement are found to be two to three times more likely to enter the criminal justice system as adults if they were placed in foster care. One innovation describes the types of children on the margin of placement, a group that is more likely to include African Americans, girls, and young adolescents.

Read the paper

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