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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2009): Child welfare - overseas

Benefits and costs of intensive foster care services: Casey Family Programs compared to state services

R.O. Zerbe and others

Contemporary Economic Policy, vol. 27, 2009, p. 308-320

In this study, the adult outcomes of young people who received enhanced (and more expensive) family foster care services from a longstanding voluntary agency were compared to outcomes of young people who received typical services from large US state agencies. The analysis compared the differences in costs between enhanced and standard services to the differences in benefits. For the outcomes for which financial data could be found, the estimated present value of enhanced foster care services exceeded their extra costs. Generalising to the roughly 100,000 young people aged 12-17 entering foster care in the US every year, if all of them were to receive enhanced services, the savings for a single cohort of these children could be about $6.3bn.

Care matters special issue: improving outcomes for children and young people in care

H. Ward and others (editors)

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, vol. 4, 2009, p. 101-184

This special issue draws together a number of papers that focus on effective policies and programmes to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, with a particular emphasis on those in the care of the state. The evidence from research undertaken in Europe, North America and Australia demonstrates how the outcomes of care are often disappointing, both because services fail to compensate for the consequences of disadvantage and abuse, and because weaknesses in specific care systems can exacerbate rather than alleviate existing problems. The papers cover identification of children's needs, addressing education issues, improving placement stability, relationships with birth families, and transitions to adulthood from care.

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