Demography

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 309–335

The foster care crisis: What caused caseloads to grow

  • Christopher A. Swann
  • Michelle Sheran Sylvester
Article

Abstract

Foster care caseloads more than doubled from 1985 to 2000. This article provides the first comprehensive study of this growth by relating state-level foster care caseloads to state-specific characteristics and policies. We present evidence that increases in female incarcerations and reductions in cash welfare benefits played dominant roles in explaining the growth in foster care caseloads over this period. Our results highlight the need for child welfare policies designed specifically for the children of incarcerated parents and parents who are facing less generous welfare programs.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher A. Swann
    • 1
  • Michelle Sheran Sylvester
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboro
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroUSA

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