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Parental Substance Abuse and Foster Care: Evidence from Two Methamphetamine Supply Shocks

Author

Listed:
  • Scott Cunningham

    ()

  • Keith Finlay

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

Abstract

Foster care caseloads have almost doubled over the last two decades, but the cause of the growth is poorly understood. We study the role of parental methamphetamine (meth) use, which social workers have linked to recent growth in foster care admissions. To mitigate the impact of omitted variable bias, we take advantage of two significant, exogenous supply-side interventions in meth markets in 1995 and 1997, and find robust evidence that meth use has caused growth in foster care caseloads. Further, we identify the mechanisms by which increased meth use caused an increase in foster care caseloads. First, we find that treatment for meth abuse caused foster caseloads to fall in situations where a child was removed because of parental incarceration, suggesting that substance abuse treatment is a substitute for foster care services and more generally an effective demand-side intervention. Secondly, we find that parental meth use causes an increase in both child abuse and child neglect foster care cases. These results suggest that child welfare policies should be designed specifically for the children of meth-using parents.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Cunningham & Keith Finlay, 2010. "Parental Substance Abuse and Foster Care: Evidence from Two Methamphetamine Supply Shocks," Working Papers 1003, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1003
    as

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    File URL: http://repec.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Jody L. Sindelar, 2002. "Drug Treatment as a Crime Fighting Tool," NBER Working Papers 9038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jeremy Arkes & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Susan M. Paddock & Jonathan P. Caulkins & Peter Reuter, 2008. "Why the DEA STRIDE Data are Still Useful for Understanding Drug Markets," NBER Working Papers 14224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Carlos Dobkin & Nancy Nicosia, 2009. "The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health, and Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 324-349, March.
    4. Christopher Swann & Michelle Sylvester, 2006. "The foster care crisis: What caused caseloads to grow," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(2), pages 309-335, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jhecon:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:253-268 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jason M. Lindo & María Padilla-Romo, 2015. "Kingpin Approaches to Fighting Crime and Community Violence: Evidence from Mexico's Drug War," NBER Working Papers 21171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Scott Cunningham & Keith Finlay, 2016. "Identifying Demand Responses to Illegal Drug Supply Interdictions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(10), pages 1268-1290, October.
    4. repec:eee:juecon:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:124-133 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Dobkin, Carlos & Nicosia, Nancy & Weinberg, Matthew, 2014. "Are supply-side drug control efforts effective? Evaluating OTC regulations targeting methamphetamine precursors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 48-61.
    6. Li, Zhengyu, 2016. "Essays on knowledge sourcing and technological capability : A knowledge structure perspective," Other publications TiSEM b8ff31fc-c57b-4bc3-b5a4-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    7. Deza, Monica, 2015. "Is there a stepping stone effect in drug use? Separating state dependence from unobserved heterogeneity within and between illicit drugs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 184(1), pages 193-207.
    8. Stephens, Tricia & Aparicio, Elizabeth M., 2017. "“It's just broken branches”: Child welfare-affected mothers' dual experiences of insecurity and striving for resilience in the aftermath of complex trauma and familial substance abuse," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 248-256.
    9. D. Mark Anderson & Benjamin Hansen & Daniel I. Rees, 2015. "Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 495-528.
    10. repec:eee:juecon:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:161-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Samuel Bondurant & jason lindo & Isaac Swensen, 2016. "Substance Abuse Treatment Centers and Local Crime," Working Papers id:11302, eSocialSciences.
    12. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Arenas-Arroyo, Esther, 2017. "Immigration Enforcement and Foster Care Placements," IZA Discussion Papers 10850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Gihleb, Rania & Giuntella, Osea & Zhang, Ning, 2018. "The Effects of Mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs on Foster Care Admissions," IZA Discussion Papers 11470, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    child welfare; illegal drugs; crime;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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