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Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care


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  • Joseph J. Doyle Jr.
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    Little is known about the effects of placing children who are abused or neglected into foster care. This paper uses the placement tendency of child protection investigators as an instrumental variable to identify causal effects of foster care on long-term outcomes—including juvenile delinquency, teen motherhood, and employment— among children in Illinois where a rotational assignment process effectively randomizes families to investigators. Large marginal treatment effect estimates suggest caution in the interpretation, but the results suggest that children on the margin of placement tend to have better outcomes when they remain at home, especially older children. (JEL H75, I38, J13)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 5 (December)
    Pages: 1583-1610

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:5:p:1583-1610

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.5.1583
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    Cited by:
    1. Font, Sarah & Maguire-Jack, Kathryn, 2013. "Academic engagement and performance: Estimating the impact of out-of-home care for maltreated children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 856-864.
    2. King, Bryn & Putnam-Hornstein, Emily & Cederbaum, Julie A. & Needell, Barbara, 2014. "A cross-sectional examination of birth rates among adolescent girls in foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 179-186.
    3. Morten Henningsen & Tom Kornstad, 2012. "Variation in the quality of regional child welfare services," Discussion Papers 681, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
    4. Bessell, Sharon, 2011. "Participation in decision-making in out-of-home care in Australia: What do young people say?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 496-501, April.
    5. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Santavirta, Torsten, 2013. "Does Placing Children in Foster Care Increase Their Adult Criminality?," Working Paper Series 3/2013, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    6. Inoue, Atsushi & Rossi, Barbara, 2011. "Testing for weak identification in possibly nonlinear models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 246-261, April.
    7. Mersky, Joshua P. & Janczewski, Colleen, 2013. "Adult well-being of foster care alumni: Comparisons to other child welfare recipients and a non-child welfare sample in a high-risk, urban setting," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 367-376.
    8. Mersky, Joshua P. & Topitzes, James, 2010. "Comparing early adult outcomes of maltreated and non-maltreated children: A prospective longitudinal investigation," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1086-1096, August.
    9. Lloyd, E. Christopher & Barth, Richard P., 2011. "Developmental outcomes after five years for foster children returned home, remaining in care, or adopted," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1383-1391, August.
    10. Havlicek, Judy, 2011. "Lives in motion: A review of former foster youth in the context of their experiences in the child welfare system," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1090-1100, July.
    11. Joseph J. Doyle, Jr., 2007. "Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care," NBER Working Papers 13291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bavier, Richard, 2011. "Children residing with no parent present," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1891-1901, October.
    13. Vinnerljung, Bo & Hjern, Anders, 2011. "Cognitive, educational and self-support outcomes of long-term foster care versus adoption. A Swedish national cohort study," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1902-1910, October.
    14. Gelber, Alexander & Isen, Adam, 2013. "Children's schooling and parents' behavior: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 25-38.
    15. Doyle, Joseph J., 2013. "Causal effects of foster care: An instrumental-variables approach," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1143-1151.


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