Policy and Practice Recommendations for Ensuring that Foster Care Serves Children’s Best Interests




Font, Sarah A.
Gershoff, Elizabeth T.

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University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center



Foster care is a poorly regarded intervention to protect children exposed to abuse or neglect even though the totality of research evidence suggests no differences in child wellbeing between children receiving foster care versus similar children who do not, or slightly positive effects for select subgroups or for select outcomes. In this brief, PRC associate director Elizabeth T. Gershoff and co-author Sarah A. Font highlight what it would take to make meaningful improvements in children’s experiences and outcomes in the foster care system. These include: subjecting foster care interventions to rigorous impact evaluation; measuring the quality of the children’s experiences in foster care; and making strategic investments in data integration across multiple systems to produce high-quality impact and process evaluations.


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