Child Fostering in Senegal
This paper is about child fostering in Senegal, a practice widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa whereby children are temporarily sent to live with a host family. Using a rich household survey conducted in Senegal in 2006-7, the paper aims at describing the selection into fostering of both households and children and at examining the impact of fostering on the well-being of children (host, foster- and siblings left behind) measured through their school enrollment, labour and domestic work. Results suggest a wide heterogeneity among foster children, inducing differences in their well-being. The main sources of such heterogeneity come from the child’s gender and his duration of stay in the host household. Whether the fostering has been formally arranged between parents also seems to matter. Results are reassuring regarding the well-being of fostered children relative to their host siblings, even if they might not fare as well as children not involved in fostering. On average, education and labour outcomes of foster children are not different from those of their host siblings. In particular, results do not support the idea that fostered girls might be overloaded with domestic tasks: they do not seem to spend more time at it than their host sisters.
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