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Out-of-Home Placement of Children and Economic Factors: An Empirical Analysis


  • Lawrence Berger


  • Jane Waldfogel


In this paper, we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to estimate the effects of income, maternal employment, family structure, and public policies on several measures of children’s living arrangements. We use both linear probability models and discrete-time event history models to explore the effects of these factors on: (1) the probability that a child is living out-of-home in a given year; (2) the probability that a child is removed from home in a given year, conditional on the child living at home in the previous year; (3) the probability that a child is removed from home for the first time; (4) the probability that a child is reunified with his/her biological parent(s) given that the child was living out-of-home in the previous year. We also analyze whether these estimates differ by types of out-of-home placements. Our results suggest that children from lower-income, single-mother, and mother–partner families are considerably more likely both to be living out-of-home and to be removed from home. A change in family structure also tends to place a child at higher risk of an out-of-home living arrangement, unless this transition functions to bring a child’s father back into the household. Maternal work appears to increase the probability that a child lives at home. Additionally, once a removal has taken place, we do not find a relationship between income and the probability of a family reunification, but we do find that single-mother and mother–partner families are less likely to reunify. Finally, our analyses provide some evidence that welfare benefit levels are negatively related to out-of-home placements. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence Berger & Jane Waldfogel, 2004. "Out-of-Home Placement of Children and Economic Factors: An Empirical Analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 387-411, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:2:y:2004:i:4:p:387-411
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-004-5654-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2002. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Living Arrangements," NBER Working Papers 8784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andersen, Signe Hald & Fallesen, Peter, 2010. "A question of class: On the heterogeneous relationship between background characteristics and a child's placement risk," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 783-789, June.
    2. Esposito, Tonino & Chabot, Martin & Rothwell, David W. & Trocmé, Nico & Delaye, Ashleigh, 2017. "Out-of-home placement and regional variations in poverty and health and social services spending: A multilevel analysis," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 34-43.
    3. Fast, Elizabeth & Trocmé, Nico & Fallon, Barbara & Ma, Jennifer, 2014. "A troubled group? Adolescents in a Canadian child welfare sample," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 47-54.
    4. Raquel Bernal & Adriana Camacho & Carmen Elisa Flórez & Alejandro Gaviria, 2009. "Desarrollo económico: retos y políticas públicas," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 005269, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    5. Esposito, Tonino & Trocmé, Nico & Chabot, Martin & Shlonsky, Aron & Collin-Vézina, Delphine & Sinha, Vandna, 2013. "Placement of children in out-of-home care in Québec, Canada: When and for whom initial out-of-home placement is most likely to occur," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2031-2039.
    6. Fallesen, Peter, 2016. "Downward spiral: The impact of out-of-home placement on paternal welfare dependency," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 45-55.


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