The Impact of Income on Reunification Among Families with Children in Out-of-Home Care.
Lee, JoAnn S. Romich, Jennifer L. Kang, Ji Young. Hook, Jennifer L. Marcenko, Maureen O.
Published: January 2017
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 72 , p. 91-99
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Income appears to be associated with faster time to family reunification. The observed connection between income and reunification, however, may be causal in nature or the relationship may be an issue of selection, in that other underlying factors explain both income and family safety and stability. We examine the causal role that the source of income plays in reunification. We use administrative data on primary caregivers of children placed in out-of-home care in Washington State from 2000 through 2007 (N = 15,159) matched with public economic support and employment data linked by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Integrated Client Database (ICDB). Using instrumental variable analysis, we estimated the effect of the amount of earnings and the amount of cash benefits on reunification. We used county unemployment rates and county food stamp participation rates as instruments. We find modest and inconsistent results that suggest higher earnings are associated with lower likelihood of reunification. We find no consistent evidence linking cash assistance to reunification. (Author abstract)
out of home care; family income; family reunification; financial assistance; risk factors; foster children