This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Influence of Government Policy on the Foster Care Placement Gap




Hoelscher, Abigail

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


In this paper, I examine the influence of child welfare licensing regulations on the foster care placement gap. The foster care placement gap measures the rate black children enter foster care compared to the rate at which white children enter foster care. I analyze the impacts foster care licensing laws have on the foster care placement gap using data from Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), the Census Bureau, the Current Population Survey (CPS), and Grandfamilies Search Laws Database. The Search Laws Database was used to create a comprehensive dataset of the varying foster care licensing laws in the United States. I use linear regression to look at the relationship between the placement gap and policy and non-policy variables. There is little relationship between the placement gap and the licensing laws in the child welfare system. Unemployment and poverty are related with a smaller placement gap.